Movie Review - Tron: Legacy
By Shalimar Sahota
December 9, 2010
You don’t need to have seen the original film to go with the flow here, though Legacy does contain references that fans will pick up on, such as the nod to the yes/no speaking character Bit, the games in Flynn’s arcade and the toys we see in Sam’s bedroom. It’d be nice to watch the original film again, but Tron is currently unavailable to buy in the shops. In an unusual move, Disney won’t be re-releasing it on DVD/Blu-Ray until sometime in 2011, given their moratorium (cash swindling) practice of suspending the release of certain films. Currently going for crazy prices on eBay, maybe they’re worried that unaware audiences will be put off the sequel after viewing the outdated original.
As a homage to MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, where the scenes in Oz are in Technicolor, it’s only after Sam is transported to The Grid that the film switches to 3D. However, there are a few deeper parallels. One could view Clu as the Wicked Witch (copy program) of the West (The Grid), who is after Kevin’s magic ruby slippers (an all-powerful ID disc). All that was missing was Hedlund singing "Follow the Neon Lit Road" and clicking his heels while saying, “There’s no place like Flynn’s Arcade.”
As a child, the thrill of seeing a Lightcycle for the first time when watching Tron broadcast on TV was incredible. After seeing an updated Lightcycle jumping over another one in 3D, the thrill is definitely back. Seeing Sam survive the games makes for Legacy’s high point. I’ll admit that I’m now already finding it hard to be blown away by 3D technology, though for Legacy, the effect is up there with the likes of Avatar and Coraline, and comes across as generally pleasing without being overly distracting. As a visual treat, it enhances the dark yet vibrant virtual world, though it isn’t so far removed from the original, still retaining a retro look.
The young-looking Jeff Bridges as Clu would have been the special effects high point, had it been flawless. It’s a brave effort, but the character looks visibly CG’d up when talking (face reflexes look a touch sluggish), with even Kosinski himself admitting that it’s not exactly 100% perfect. With the exception of the opening scene, the minor faults kind of make unintentional sense with Clu being a copy.
When he isn’t the antagonist, Bridges’ Kevin is a more welcome presence in a rather relaxed role, with shades of The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Garrett Hedlund as Sam comes across as generally likeable, even helping a fellow Lightcycle player. Following him on his journey, there’s almost a strange knowingness that he can’t carry the whole film, with the attention shifting midway to the other characters. Olivia Wilde brings wide-eyed naivety as Quorra, being in awe of the Flynns, and is insanely curious, while Michael Sheen puts in a memorably flamboyant turn as club owner Castor, doing his Ziggy Stardust impression. The film could have done with a little more Bruce Boxleitner, whose returning role as Alan is more like an extended cameo.