Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: "TRON: Legacy" is All Good All on its Own

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 49 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

TRON: Legacy (2010)
Running time: 125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – PG sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
DIRECTOR: Joseph Kosinski
WRITERS: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz; from a story by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (based upon the characters created by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird)
PRODUCERS: Sean Bailey, Steven Lisberger, and Jeffrey Silver
EDITOR: James Haygood
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain, Beau Garrett, and Michael Sheen

TRON: Legacy is a 2010 science fiction film. It is the sequel to Walt Disney Pictures’ 1982 sci-fi film, Tron. Tron: Legacy follows Sam Flynn, the son of Kevin Flynn, the innovative software engineer who entered the Digital World, a place that existed inside a computer (as depicted in the original Tron).

In 1989, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who was also the CEO of ENCOM International, disappeared seven years after he defeated the Master Control Program in the Digital World. Twenty years later, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), now a tech-savvy 27-year-old, has little interest in ENCOM, although he is the controlling shareholder. His father’s friend and ENCOM executive, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), tells Sam that he has received a mysterious page from a number originating at Kevin Flynn’s old arcade, which has been shutdown for 20 years.

Entering the arcade, Sam finds a concealed computer laboratory hidden in the basement. Sitting at his father’s computer, Sam accidentally transports himself to the Grid, a virtual world inside his father’s computer. There, he finds a world of gladiatorial games and fierce computer programs, and the Grid is ruled by CLU, a renegade program that looks like a young Kevin Flynn and was actually created by Flynn. Escaping CLU’s attempt to kill him, Sam is reunited with his now older father and Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a warrior and Kevin Flynn’s confidant. Together, reunited father and son try to stop CLU’s plot to invade the real world.

With its dazzling visuals and state-of-the-art production design, Tron: Legacy is one of the most innovative films of the last few years. It is a digital light show that dazzles the mind via the eyes, sometimes threatening to fry both. The computer-generated, younger version of Jeff Bridges as CLU is quite impressive, except for those few moments when CLU looks too plastic and moves awkwardly.

As in the original Tron, the human characters and story occasionally get lost in Tron: Legacy, especially amidst the elegant, eye-popping special effects. It is not that the story is bad. This is a standard action movie pitting good guys against bad guys, but a movie this visually adventurous deserves a more daring story. However, with the imaginative landscapes and production design and inventive costume design, this standard action movie doesn’t look so standard.

At this point, I have to say that you, dear reader, should see this visually splendid film for yourself. Some of the effects are breathtaking, and the simply magnificent score by the electronic music duo, Daft Punk, is the perfect soundtrack for a milestone film like Tron: Legacy. Modern with the touch of retro-1980’s synthesizer music, Daft Punk’s score thunders and swells, and best of all, it sweeps you off your feet just like film. It may be a little soft on story and character, but Tron: Legacy soars to the next level visually, sonically, and musically.

8 of 10

2011 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague)

Friday, June 10, 2011


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