Movie Review: Tron Legacy

Published on Dec 17, 2010 Randomstrings Movie, Review « Prev Next »

Tron Legacy Poster
Tron Legacy Poster

Note: Spoilers will be announced below.  The first couple of paragraphs are spoiler free.

Easily one of my favorite movies as a kid, Tron was a movie that not only defined a generation but also began the monumental shift in the movie industry towards using computers as a tool.    Without Tron leading the way showing what could be done, many of the movies today would have never been made.

I loved the first Tron for it’s fantastical notion that computers were alive and that programs were people too..  It was great if a little heavy handed, thin in the plot department and some pretty obvious technological issues..etc..  However, even with all the originals shortcomings, I was pretty sure back then even that we’d see a sequel to the movie in short order cause it was awesome..

Set the way forward machine to 28 fricken years and finally we have something to talk about!    I had all but forgotten about Tron to be honest until 2008 or so when I saw that first comic-con shakey cellphone cam footage of the new TR2N trailer at which point I had a tron-gasm..  Then I really thought about it and I was kinda pissed it took this long to come out with a sequel, but then once I realized what they were doing there was a pretty glaring obvious reason why it took that long..

So without spoiling anything yet, I will say that the new movie is probably an 8.5 out of 10.  The visual effects were excellent, the costumes were okay, the acting was good, the plot was still pretty thin though and that might be it’s downfall..  All in all I thought it was good and about as much as they could have done with the film.   It was an entertaining movie, and well worth the viewing.

So now on to the spoilers.  You may want to look away if you haven’t seen it yet.

So first I’m going to talk about all those things I didn’t like - it’s my show I can do it in my order;

The biggest thing they were showcasing and the likely reason it took 28 years to make a second film was of course; Clu.  Making Jeff Bridges young again in order to play his programmatical counterpart was no mean feat.  In fact I’m sure it took tens of thousands of hours to put that character together and get it fully realized.   But, it looked wrong to me.   I understand why they did it and I agree that it had to be done in order to tell this story but I just didn’t buy it.   He looked wrong.

See the issue is that we know what people look like and how they should move.  It’s one of the reasons that Jurassic Park lasts the test of time; there are no CG people.  The dinosaurs look perfect to us even to this day because we have no real concept of how those critters should move or look.  So that 18 year old technology still works.

Clu was a CG copy of Mr. Bridges and to me it stood out that he was CG.   This was really jarring for me.  In a couple of the scenes were Clu was emotional and moved his face muscles he looked way more realistic to me..

This honestly was my biggest gripe about the whole movie.  It’s the thing they focused on the most, and I just don’t think they got it.   I don’t want to belittle the effort though because it’s SO FRICKEN CLOSE.. I mean they are 95% there.. but something is missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it other than to say, his eyes and face didn’t move correctly.  They seemed really dead and motionless.

So the next thing was that after they did all that work on making Clu, they did ZERO work on Tron himself.  You learn who Clu’s henchman is pretty quickly, it’s almost obvious.. Yet he wears his motorcycle helmet the whole movie so they don’t have to do his face like they did Clu’s .. and as much as I just bitched that they failed at making Clu’s I’m offended they didn’t make Trons.

Seriously it seems such a cop-out to me that Mr. Boxleitner didn’t get the same facial treatment..  One might say it’s because it would have taken focus away from the Flynn/Clu/Sam story.. but I dunno, give us some credit..

The next thing was the complete lack of a transition.  Again I felt this was a tad jarring, and I’m not sure if it’s because I expected it or if they were assuming you had seen the first movie and didn’t need to waste time and money on it or what..   But in the first movie there was a point after Flynn hit “enter” on the keyboard that they laser lit up and began to disassemble him..   He then traveled down the fuzz filled pipe into the computer..  It was a build up, a suspenseful transition from the real to the computerized..    Not so much here..  It seemed like  just a reel change here.. Blip! you’re inside .. Go!  I was disappointed by that..

And lastly, the plot.  Thiiin.. Like anorexic thin..  In fact much of the plot seemed to be loosely tied thread that they used to drag you from one exciting graphic packed scene to the next..  The funny thing is, it might be enough..  I dunno, we shall see..

But really, that’s it.. those are the few things that really disappointed me.. And honestly those are minor.. The Clu visual was jarring for me, so it seemed a constant reminder / annoyance, the lack of transition between worlds and the paper thin plot but really beyond that everything else was good.

I did find it amusing that apparently Encom OS12 is linux based? hehe Oh and the whole time Jeff Bridges was on the screen I expected him to say “Well, Yeah.  The Clu Abides..” or some such.. heh  Love ya Jeff..

The visuals were AWESOME..  They way exceeded my expectations across the board visually..  It’s clear that Hollywood knows how to make a visually stunning movie..   I have to tell you the recognizers looked fantastic..  The lightcycles looked awesome and the light fliers (?) looked really cool..

I’m glad the transport ship and other things made a showing too..  In fact I liked how they seemed to give a nod to the original movie in just about every scene some how..   From Sams apartment building that had a huge gate in front of it with “Dumont” (the gate keeper) written at top, to Flynns old foot ball game on the couch.. ( I had that game as a kid !!)  to “It’s all in the wrists..”   They kept doing that, and I liked that.. nice touch guys..

I thought all the actors did a really good job..  I was a tad worried that Garrett Hedlund wasn’t the right choice for the role of sam mainly because of Eragon.. ugh..  but he did a fine job..  Olivia Wilde did a good job bringing Quorra to life as a this weirdly tough but vulnerable warrior chick program..   Michael Sheen as Castor was a bit over the top for my tastes, but Beau Garret as Gem offset his character enough to make him not completely obnoxious.. etc..

A lot of folks were upset that Yori of the original movie (played by Cindy Morgan) wasn’t in this one.. and at first I thought she should be in it too, but now not so much..  She just didn’t have a place in this movie..  I have no idea how they would have shoe-horned her in and maintained flow..

Oh and of course I have to give a nod to Daft Punk who did a killer job on the sounds..  Well done guys..

So there you have it..  I look forward to seeing all the extras and directors commentary..  I really do like the movie and hope it does really well because I want to see where they go with this..   This movie was very much a passing of the torch kind of movie with the ending it had, but I just hope they don’t make us wait another fricken 28 years for TR3N!!