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Review: Tron Legacy 3D

I have been waiting for a sequel to the 1982 sci-fi extraordinaire film TRON since the first moment I clamped eyes on it’s illuminated outline when I was a child and last Thursday my wish came true.

Now to say that TRON: LEGACY had a lot to live up to is an understatement, not because of the quality of the original but because of it’s lasting memory in most twenty-thirty year olds minds.  With the releases of the various trailers, the news Jeff Bridges would make a return, the inventive viral marketing and choice of musicians in Daft Punk to helm the score helped to amp up the anticipation.  But I felt, myself included, we were all heading for a fall as we entered the Empire in Leicester Sq, with previous childhood loves crash and burning, cinematically recently (A-TEAM, TRANSFORMERS 2 etc), we were dubious to say the least.

However I have to say even with the cynicism that has bloomed with age and feed by Hollywood I was more than happy with the outcome of Joseph Kosinski’s TRON: LEGACY.  Not blown over but happy.

The story begins years after Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) have toppled the Master Command Program in the grid.  Flynn, now the head of Encom and a single parent, disappears leaving behind his son.  Fast forward 20 years and Sam (Garrett Hedlund) lives his life by playing tricks on Encom, thwarting their various money grabbing launches while still being the majority shareholder.  Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) Fylnn’s old friend who still works at Encom, tries to convince Sam to take some responisblity with his life and direction with his Father’s company, but it falls on deaf ears.  He does, however, tell Sam that he recieved a beeper message from Flynn’s old arcade.

Curious, Sam turns up at the arcade and finds a hidden laboratory and is accidentally digitised into the grid.  This is when the 3D kicks in.  Sam finds himself running around a luminescent city filled with luminescent people and is quickly arrested for being a ‘program’ without a data disc.  From this he is quickly thrown into the games and meets his ‘Dad’.

Now I’m going to stop it there as it becomes pretty spoiler heavy and I think you should see the film instead.  I do have a number of things to say about the film though and they do contain spoilers, but nothing that you shouldn’t of read about before, but tread carefully.

Firstly one of the biggest concerns was the re-gentrification of Jeff Bridges face.  This is used for the flashback at the beginning and for the protagonist who is Flynn’s younger, identical equal named Clu, built to create the perfect society by Flynn but went rogue.  Now at times the CGI’d face of Bridge’s works but not that often as he does look like a claymation figure.  It really doesn’t work when he’s having a face to face argument with himself either.  But it isn’t that distracting which is good news.

When it came to the direction I found it a bit sporadic as it was more than capable when it came to the majority of the action sequences, the night club scene is inspired if not a tad loopy, but at other times seemed lazy with not including essential transitions which would of added to heightening some of the tension.    The lightcycle duel’s and disc fights are magnificent even though they don’t fully utilise the 3D aspect.

One of my main fears for myself was the choice of leading man in Garrett Hedlund. Now I don’t have any previous knowledge of his work but the recent track record with Hollywood blockbuster leading men, Sam Worthington & Channing Tatum are generally unimpressive and uncharismatic.  Lucky, I think, Hedlund pulls it off as he could of easily come across as arrogant and highly annoying.  There is a resemblance with his character and that of Luke Skywalker with their nack for cause trouble even with the purest of intentions.  Also this example comes to mind with the obvious rip of— I mean homage to STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE when Skywalker is blasting Tie Fighters with the Falcon’s guns, Sam does near the exact thing near the climax of the film.

Flynn’s character has changed considerably over the decades since he has been trapped in the grid but has kept some of his trade mark hippiness and his now verging on being  a Buddhist monk, channelling some of the Dude at moments.  With a more serious aspect to his character comes dialogue that doesn’t really express this or suit it, especially in the situations they find themselves in, as the camera and music ramps up and Flynn proclaims “We’re going downtown”. It lets down the epicness that should accompany the moments.

The film mentions that it possibly challenges abstract forms like religion, science and all the principles of life and the universe…. but just ends up ignoring how it challenges this themes and ideas.  It tries to have the importance and questions that we were  facing but in 1999 with the release of THE MATRIX even with Flynn being able to control various elements of the virtual world they inhabit.  At one point I thought he may even fly…. He didn’t.

Finally there is a few things that pop up which are a surprise such as Cillian Murphy makes an appearance, most likely as a villain for a possibly sequel.  Also Michael Sheen tries his hand at auditioning for the role of Jim Carrey‘s Riddler.  But by far the best thing in the entire film, which is surprising, is Olivia Wilde best known as playing 13 in HOUSE.

In the film she is a part of a new ‘species’ that, again, WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.  Her playing what is easiest to describe as a sexy autistic chick is amazing.  Usually these types of childlike characters are just rubbish but she is very very good in the film and has been one of the lasting impressions, especially the last shot.

All in all the film is good, it’s not terrific but well worth the money and time.

TRON: LEGACY is released on December 17 2010.

Paul finished is BA in Film & Broadcast Productions during the summer and has somehow landed the position of Media & Marketing Manager in the London Korean Film Festival happening this November (plug). While at University Paul found his speciality lay in Script Development, scriptwriting and Editing. He has written, edited and director a small number of not very good short films but does not let that dissuade him from powering through. After the Koreans are through with him he looks to enter the paid world of Script Development. He likes incredibly bad horror films, East Asian movies, comics and lots of other stuff.

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