“Tron: Legacy” Not for nerds only
Don’t overthink “Tron: Legacy.” If you do you’ll likely have a hard time appreciating its sheer visual splendor and virtual spectacle. That’s one of the advantages of being a kid-and there are likely few kids who won’t get a kick out of “Tron: Legacy”-the ability to just sit back and ooh and ah at Disney’s futuristic joyride. There’s clearly high ambition here, and while the source material may be the ahead-of-its-time but headache-inducing 1982 original, the reboot has not only tons of technological improvements at its disposal, it also appears to have been influenced by some of film’s greatest adventures of the past 30 years including, “Blade Runner,” “Star Wars,” and “The Matrix.”
Like stepping into a videogame, “Tron: Legacy” continues the original story when the now 27-year-old Sam Flynn (“Friday Night Lights’” Garrett Hedlund) stumbles into the Grid, a computerized world discovered by his father Kevin (Jeff Bridges) decades earlier. Sam tries to adapt, finding himself the prey in dangerous games involving neon laser discs and Light Cycles (quite possibly the coolest looking two wheeled vehicles in film history). Like all pioneering films, “Tron: Legacy” has its own wildly original (influenced by the first film) pixilated architecture that explodes in an array of translucent and fluorescent color schemes, multiple planed roadways, and a pastiche of digital Day-Glo that looks like Oz set in the 24th century.
All this CGI mayhem could have produced a chilly story. But thankfully, director Joseph Kosinski exploits Bridges’ charm as a retro-cool Zen Master whose young doppelganger Clu (a CGI-created younger version of Bridges) has plans for (parallel) world dominance. There are plenty of fun side characters, including Olivia Wilde as Quorra, a rare hybrid with special gifts, and Michael Sheen as a vamping Thin White Duke-like nightclub owner.
While the father-son reunion and rescue storyline bogs down and most of the great action occurs early in the film, “Tron: Legacy” has a lot more going for it than pure aesthetics. Doses of humor and a fantastic electro-beat score by Daft Punk keep things from getting too self-serious. And while the plot lags in the second hour, you can’t take your eyes of the screen.
“Tron: Legacy” is best enjoyed in its full 3D treatment grandeur and without the cynical gaze of old age.
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.