If You See One Jeff Bridges Film This Year See ‘True Grit’ ~ Movie Review of ‘Tron: Legacy’

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on February 15, 2011 0 Comments

The original ‘Tron’ was released in 1982.  It was considered a moderately successful film when it debuted, but later became a cult classic for a niche group; primarily gamers.  Although there was much fan fare over the sequel, ‘Tron: Legacy’, with many folks stating that you didn’t need to see the first film to understand the second, I beg to differ (more on that later).   I will simply report that at the start of the evening I was gung ho about seeing this film and I went home disappointed.   (On a side note, I have seen parts of the original ‘Tron’ but don’t recall any of it except for the overall look of the film – the few minutes I have seen of the 1982 film never seduced me into wanting to watch the movie in its entirety.)


                ‘Tron: Legacy’ has a storyline that the average person can follow during the act of watching the movie but five minutes afterwards you might find yourself tongue tied in trying to describe the plot.  Perhaps part of the reason is that multiple writers were responsible for the screenplay (at least 8 are mentioned on the IMDB website).  Most of the original cast is back, except for Cindy Morgan who played Lora/Yori – although that bit of info means nothing to us who haven’t seen the first film, most importantly for fans of the original are the return of Jeff Bridges and an almost unrecognizable Bruce Boxlightner. 


This movie begins in 1989 as Kevin Flynn (Bridges) tucks his seven-year-old son to sleep before dashing off to work on a secretive project from which he never returns.  My first issue with ‘Tron: Legacy’ began with Owen Best cast as the child version of Sam Flynn who at the time of principle filming (April 2009) was twelve – and may I add, looked ever year of his age.  Although this alone wouldn’t ruin ‘Tron: Legacy’ it was the first sign of ‘What the fudge?’ moments yet to come. 


                Garrett Hedlund plays the grown up Sam and is about as exciting as a sad baked potato without sour cream, butter, or salt.  Frankly, I thought his character was much more interesting (which isn’t saying much) prior to being popped into his father’s abandoned computer program.  Of course once he is in the program he encounters his father and Olivia Wilde (who is distinguished by an asymmetrical hair bob).  Probably the most intriguing part of the film was the younger version of Jeff Bridges.  I read about the CGI technology when reviewing ‘The Social Network’ which morphed the face of one actor onto that of another so that they could appear to be identical twins, but the fact that Jeff Bridges appears as he was circa 1982 is truly amazing.  However with that said, I wasn’t impressed in total with all of the CGI tricks.  Maybe if I was a fan of the original I would feel differently. 


                The truth of the matter is that regardless of the special effects triumphs and failures if the story was strong then ‘Tron: Legacy’ would have flourished.  Part of what was hard to wrap my mind around was how Tron, who when first viewed in the sequel as a character named Rinzler who is the grid champion, had the whole franchise named after him.  Since everything takes place on the grid wouldn’t ‘The Grid’ be a better name?  I found Tron to be a minor character.  Also * Spoiler Alert * Quorra (Wilde) is a isomorphism algorithm (ISO) who ends up being able to live a life outside of the original program.  Does it mean that she is Sam Flynn will have megabyte babies?  Lastly, what is the Frisbee circle of light thing supposed to be anyway?  At first I thought it was something that they, programs and users, all needed to function in the environment, but at times some of the characters lost their light Frisbee and they didn’t perish.   The only standout performance is Michael Sheen who is excellent in every role, as well as always appearing slightly different in everything he is in.  He makes the best of his screen time.


                Overall, this film is going to appeal to more of a niche element of viewers than average film goers.  For instance, if you are a gamer then you will probably enjoy this film, especially if you were a fan of the first one.  As for anyone else I would advice to consider carefully if you want to see this movie when there are so many good films that are far more worth your time.  Listen kittens, I saw ‘Tron: Legacy’ in 3 D and didn’t feel as if I was watching anything special so if you do want to see it view it on cable.  Oh, you can still see ‘True Grit’ playing at the same Cineplex! 



Westerfield © 2011

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