Friday, January 14, 2011

TRON: Legacy

Year: 2010
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen, James Frain

I am one of the unfortunate people who hadn't watched the original TRON released in 1982. That groundbreaking film starred Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, a hacker who gets zapped into a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games in order to escape. 28 years later, we have a sequel, and the question is, will non-TRON fans be able to embrace this?

TRON: Legacy begins with Kevin telling his son Sam about the world of TRON, and promising to take him to the arcade the next day. He never came home after that.

Twenty years later, Sam is now the largest shareholder of his father's company. But he isn't interested in running the business, preferring to pull pranks on the company's directors instead.

Alan Bradley, Kevin's old friend, meets up with Sam and tells him he was paged by his father, from a number that had been disconnected for 20 years. Sam goes to the source, which is his father's old arcade, and finds a basement with a unique computer in there. After some tinkering, Sam himself gets zapped into the same computer world his father talked about.

Once there, he is captured by other programs and forced to fight gladiator style using a disc attached to his back. He subsequently learns that Clu, a program created by his father and resembles him as well, has taken over this world and plans to enter Sam's own. With a bit of help from a program called Quorra, Sam escapes and reunites with his father, who has been trapped in this world all this time. But the reunion isn't a happy one for long, as both father and son must find a way to stop Clu from entering the real world.

You know, I wish I could tell you more about TRON and the entire epic story that revolves around the world of The Grid, but as it stands, I did not watch the original. I would if I could. Now, as a standalone story, Legacy may work to a certain extent. But I still felt that there were too many things that only fans of the original would be able to fathom. Disney ought to have made DVDs of the original available prior to the release of Legacy, but I heard they did not want to do so in fear of the sequel getting less attention that they had hoped for. Too bad for us.

Anyway, first time director Joseph Kosinski doesn't do too bad of a job here. He makes sure all the bases are covered, from visual effects to camerawork to hiring Daft Punk for the music score. Despite some slow moments in the second half of the film, overall Legacy is quite entertaining indeed. And speaking of the visual effects, they are truly awesome to behold. I especially loved the lightcycle races and the air battle at the film's climax. However their attempt to create a younger Kevin Flynn and Clu didn't quite score points with me. He just looked strange, like a slightly better version of Robert Zemeckis' 3D images.

Jeff Bridges brings his undeniable screen presence here, though it is clearly Garrett Hedlund's show throughout as Sam Flynn. Hedlund isn't totally convincing in the role, but I think he isn't entirely to blame for that. Some of his lines just sounded weird. Olivia Wilde is fascinating as the brave but slightly kid-like Quorra, and Bruce Boxleitner makes good of his little screen time as Alan Bradley. I also liked Michael Sheen's performance as Zuse, a virtual world club owner who looks like David Bowie.

Some people have compared this to Avatar, and I can see why. The only real difference is the scale, but they share similar qualities aplenty. Legacy is good entertainment, but not necessarily for everyone. If possible, I recommend that you try watching the original TRON first, just so you know what you're getting yourself into. But if you don't, it's okay to watch this anyway. (3.5/5)

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