Movie Review - Tron: Legacy
By Shalimar Sahota
December 9, 2010
A lot has been said about it being a father and son story. It tries so hard to be one, with moments of chitchat - and yes, there are tears when they finally meet - but some stilted dialogue fails to bring the emotion to the forefront. Emotional resonance does arrive when we see how far the lead characters will go to risk their lives for each other. With actions being bass heavier than words, the best example comes during Kevin’s visit to The End of the Line club. I won’t give anything away, but with the help of Daft Punk’s score, Jeff Bridges totally owns that scene!
Daft Punk’s inclusion came after they approached Kosinski about working on Legacy, and their mix of bass-thumping synth with traditional strings complements the film far better than I’d have thought. They cameo at The End of the Line club, along with the writer/director of the original Tron, Steven Lisberger, in a "how-nerdy-is-it-that-I-actually-recognised-him" role as a bartender.
Essentially Legacy is very much a children’s film. While references and technical terms will fly over the heads of some, it’s generally easy enough to follow. With a little too much thinking, you’ll find a few things that don’t make much sense. One issue is Quorra explaining that Clu’s vehicles can’t run off the Grid, which happens to be where Kevin resides. However, Clu does manage to make it there, though we’re never shown how, nor why it took him so long. Also the film doesn’t mention Sam’s glaringly non-existent mother, or the hows on the inclusion of a roast pig.
As we’ve seen in films such as 2001 or I, Robot, with artificial intelligence taking a life of its own, they eventually turn on their creators, with technical innovation being presented as a double-edged sword. If you’re after any more exploration, then you won’t find it here. It may masquerade as a drama during those quiet moments, but for fans that have grown up with Tron over a number of years, in regards to story and special effects, this isn’t quite the game changer we’ve been led to believe, no matter what the taglines may say. It briefly touches on larger ideas; be it an ISO in the Tron system being able to cure someone, or users often worshipped as Gods (there’s a quick burst of bizarre brilliance when a program bows before Kevin), but it doesn’t fully explore them. Nor do I feel will any potential sequels, which likely stems from Disney’s fear of alienating the kids.
As Sam eyes a book on his father’s bookshelf, Journey Without a Goal (possibly name-dropping Chogya Trungpa’s similar sounding book), he responds with, “Must have a killer ending.” It’s a moment of wit, with the book hinting at his father’s now enlightened approach to life (later blatantly stated when an exasperated Kevin yells to his son, “You’re messing with my Zen thing, man!”). However, it could also apply to Kosinski’s film. For a first-time director, he’s managed to get more right than wrong. It may reach its eventual destination on a disappointing whimper, but the journey there is an absolute blast.