Movie Review: Tron Legacy

Movie Review: Tron Legacy

It’s like as though a bag of Skittles jumped into a can of Amp and had some Pixy Stix stirred into it and was then thrown into your eyes with a neon covered catapult. In other words, eye candy.

By the way, it’s in 3D. You all know how much I love 3D, right? Except that it isn’t in 3D. Only parts of it are in 3D. The movie tells you this right before it starts. So I, of course, took my glasses off and what do you know, the movie looks better without the 3D glasses on. It’s bright. You can’t tell it’s bright with the stupid 3D glasses on, which you don’t even need most of the time. Stupid 3D. I hate James Cameron so very, very much.

Rant over. Next rant.

So, Tron Legacy is kinda awesome. I say “kinda” because this movie suffers a bit from the thing that made Avatar suffer. It’s visually beautiful but you can tell the story exists just to move us to the next beautiful thing. It’s simple to the point where any twists or surprises they thought they were setting up are immediately apparent and you can guess what is going to happen 20 minutes before it actually happens. Though, it does avoid shoving the director’s intense political message down our throats, which is always a plus.

Legacy starts out with Kevin Flynn, the hero of the first movie, going missing for about 20 years. His son, Sam, grows up to be a slacker computer expert, just like his old man. When Sam finds out that a friend of his dad just got a page from his missing father that came from Flynn’s Arcade, Sam, of course goes to investigate. He finds an old hidden back room with a bunch of machines and computer monitors and somehow fails to notice the large gun in the back of the room pointed right at him. One wrong button press and zap, Sam has been transported to the Grid, the world inside of computers where everything has big glowing lights and programs exist as real living beings. The Grid is currently being run by Clu, a program created by Kevin Flynn that looks exactly like him, just a little bit younger. Clu, he’s… well, he’s gone kinda crazy. So, Sam has to find his real father somewhere in the Grid, stop Clu from being crazy and escape back to the real world.

Oh, and Tron is somewhere in there, too.

Yeah, where’s Tron? You see, this movie has named itself like the Legend of Zelda series. Is Zelda the star of that series? Is every game even about Zelda? No, not really. Now, Tron is in the movie. He’s just not in it a lot. And the movie isn’t even about him. Or his legacy. But I’m thinking Bearded Jeff Bridges Legacy didn’t make for that great of a title, so I can forgive.

So, that’s pretty much all the plot. Oh sure, Clu has some vague plan about invading the real world and needing Kevin’s disk to activate the warp point out of the Grid, and there is a sub plot about a group of miracle programs called Isos that could lead to some vague kind of renaissance for human kind. But really, all of that is very… vague. These plot points float ephemerally through the film. They exist, we just don’t care that much. The real story is Sam on the run from Clu. And light cycles. Oh the glorious light cycles.

It shouldn't be that hard to beat. All we need is a tank that can only move left and right and can only fire up.

Hooray, it’s time to talk about the special effects! The original Tron was a ground breaking movie, showing just what could be done with computer effects at a time where nobody was really doing anything with computers. This was before Terminator 2, before Jurassic Park, before The Abyss. Tron picked our eyeballs up and kicked their asses. Legacy does the same thing. Sure, the wow factor is a bit lost because in this day and age we’re used to seeing sprawling fantasy worlds created in these kinds of movies, but it doesn’t make the Grid any less impressive. There are disk fights where physics is really more of a suggestion than a rule; there are light cycle races; there are dogfights in the air above the glistening, gleaming world of the Grid featuring planes made of pure light. Oh man, it’s a sight to behold. This movie is what eyeballs were made for. And speaking of body parts and their purpose for existing, the ears were made for this soundtrack. Daft Punk provides a soundtrack that does for the ears what the visuals do for the eyes. Even the most mundane talking scene is made interesting with their music playing. They even make cameos as DJ programs in a flashy nightclub.

So, if you want a cohesive, well told story, this is not your movie. If you want fully fleshed out characters, this is also not your movie. If you want to watch lots of flashy lights and colors move around while having some intense beats caress your ears, this is your movie. It may not make much sense, but then again, you might be too high on your visual sugar buzz to care.

End of line.

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