TRON: Legacy Directed by: Joseph Kosinski Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen Running Time: 2 hr 6 mins Rating: PG Release Date: December 12, 2010
PLOT: Years ago, Kevin Flynn (Bridges) disappeared. Now his son Sam (Hedlund) stumbles onto the mystery of what happened to his father and ends up inside the grid to this sequel from 1982's TRON.
WHO'S IT FOR? Those who loved the first one. Plus, anyone who wants to see something visually spectacular. You also have to be willing to sit through some slow parts.
EXPECTATIONS: I loved the idea of a sequel to the 80s flick but then again Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps didn't work out. So, I assumed I would like what I saw, but not much else.
ACTORS: Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn: Watch him strut. Seriously. I expected John Travolta to pop out and say, "Whoa!" Sam establishes early on that he's very capable behind the wheel of a motorcycle and other amazing stunts. Thank goodness for that, otherwise we'd be wondering how he's managing so well once he gets inside the grid. Hedlund is pretty good at carrying a chip on his shoulder. That, and the action, are all that are really required for this role. Sam's grown up without a dad and without much motivation toward a productive life. Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley watches over him and wants him to lead. In one of the underdeveloped parts of this film, I guess Sam finally understands how to lead once inside the grid. Score: 6
Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn/Clu: With this and True Grit it seems like he can't or won't let The Dude go. I, for one, am extremely happy with that. Here, Kevin has turned into a bit of a computer hippy. His Buddhist/Obi-Wan Kenobi ways work great in contrast to his overeager son. I love that one is not necessarily the right answer here. Sure, they don't fully explain his special powers, but they never fully explain this TRON world, right? As for Clu, I was hypnotized at how well it worked and how odd he looked. Once George Lucas sees this, he'll start thinking about continuing Return of the Jedi without any of the cast present. Score: 9
Olivia Wilde as Quorra: Something's wrong with me. I actually sat there and thought about how Wilde might be starting a new hair style with this character. Let's just say I like the look and we'll move on. Wilde does a great job as Quorra. She's kind-of, sort-of a program type who is desperately curious about human ways. Quorra could have kicked a little more butt for my taste, but I don't think that was the story's intentions. Score: 8
Michael Sheen as Castor: Well, if Castor isn't a crazy jolt of energy I don't know ... you get the point. There are some slow moments with this film and Sheen steps in as a man who can get things done. More importantly, he wakes you up. It's over the top fun that almost, almost, doesn't fit with the rest of the film. Score: 8
Cillian Murphy as Edward Dillinger: The reason Murphy is in this flick MUST be because of a potential sequel. He's really only in one scene. Score: 7
TALKING: Basic philosophy fills both the real world and the computer world. There is also talk of genocide inside the grid. Luckily it's not all serious and Bridges has plenty of one-liners that I loved. My favorite ... "You're messing with my Zen thing, man." The action definitely works better than the talking, but the dialogue doesn't totally stall this film. Score: 6
SIGHTS: TRON: Legacy has the second best visual moment of the year when Sam is plunged into disc wars. The first is Inception when Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is twisting through the hallway. There's a message at the beginning of the film which pretty much says, "If we're in the real world, it's not 3D." I was totally fine with that. The 3D is the best I have seen since Avatar. The computer world of TRON totally lends itself to the technology. Again, great work on Clu. This is also the best opening Disney animated sequence with the castle I have ever seen. Score: 10
SOUNDS: Old school arcade games accompany Journey's "Separate Ways" and "Sweat Dreams" by the Eurythmics when Flynn's Arcade gets turned back on. As for the rest, Daft Punk totally delivers one of the best musical scores of the year. They seem to control every second, even when they make a cameo working for Castor at the bar. Score: 10
BEST SCENE: Remember how I said it was the second best visuals of the year? Well, disc wars is quickly followed by "the challenge of the grid." It's a one-two punch.
ENDING: Pretty satisfying. It doesn't demand a sequel. I do hate when studios simply expect there to be more (like Golden Compass). But, the door for more is definitely open.
QUESTIONS: What happened to Tron? What is with the clothes in the computer world (the clothes Sam started with)? Why are they eating food? Did Clu see The Matrix and start programming accordingly?
REWATCHABILITY: Yes. I am slightly worried the slow pace will feel even slower, but it's worth the risk.
Let me repeat myself, 20-year-old sequels are a great idea. Much better than a remake. Plus, the world of TRON actually has some reason for continuing, even it is just because of visual advancement. Speaking of this world ... based on the original we know it's a little bit under-explained and a little bit slow. Well, TRON: Legacy picks up where we left off. It really feels like a natural flow. Bridges seems to be in a class by himself right now, and I can watch his laid-back urgency all day long. Wilde's character is intriguing enough and once again falls into the under-explained. Hedlund doesn't fully own the screen, but he didn't strike out with the lead either. I'll want to see more.
It's a great relaunch and sequel that improves on the original. With Daft Punk and some of the best big-screen moments of the year it's totally worth getting plugged in.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10