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April 10, 2011

2

Tron: Legacy

by Franz Patrick


Tron: Legacy (2010)
★ / ★★★★

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) designed a digital world in where he eventually became imprisoned. He left his young son named Sam in the real world where he was raised by his grandparents. About two decades later, complete with rich boy angst, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) stumbled upon his father’s arcade where he discovered the digital world his old man always talked about. He had one mission: To find his father and get out alive. But that wouldn’t be easy because Clu (also played by Bridges), a part of Kevin designed to correct all imperfections, was on a war path to capture his maker and make his way into the real world. “Tron: Legacy” worked as a video game but not as a successful science fiction film. And like video games in the 80s, the movie was too simplistic so it wasn’t at all engaging. Blue light meant good guys while red-orange light meant bad guys. The story was even driven by a potential end of the world if the good guys failed their mission. Where the heart should have been was simply a hollow case full of bright lights and booming soundtrack. For instance, when Sam finally saw his father after being absent from his life for about twenty years, the characters barely emoted a thing. They stood in their respective spaces for so long and when they did make a physical connection, it felt awkward and forced. If I saw my dad after believing that he was dead for more than half of my life, I would rush up to him before I could even think and hug him with all my might. Tears would be running down my face and not a word uttered from my mouth would be intelligible. And why didn’t the father and son share one meaningful conversation? Instead, what I felt was the filmmakers were afraid to show some ugliness and reactions that reflected reality. The material felt detached and calculated to a tee. Since the picture was set in a literal fantasy world, what it actually needed was gallons of humanity so that its audiences would remain connected despite the impossibilities unfolding before our eyes. Furthermore, the film had trouble telling too much instead of showing. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes during the scene when Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Kevin’s assistant, said that trying to escape was useless because Clu was nearby. Instead of wasting time, what I needed to see was their actual attempt to escape. If they happened to get caught, just surprise me. Don’t warn me about it because my attention notices the egregiousness of the script. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, watching “Tron: Legacy” was like the moment we stop to observe someone playing video games in the arcade for five minutes. It may have engaging music and excellent visuals designed to capture our attention but staying longer was a waste of our precious time.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. mcarteratthemovies
    Apr 11 2011

    I liked “TRON: Legacy” a bit more than you did, but that may be because I’ve never seen the original and I was enamored with the special effects. The film LOOKS beautiful, but I admit that the acting is that stellar. Jeff Bridges essentially plays himself; the CGI-rendered Bridges is totally creepy and not human at all (they never get the eyes right!); and Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund aren’t the strongest actors.

    Reply
    • Apr 21 2011

      I haven’t seen the original either (planning to but it’s currently under “very long wait” on Netflix), but I think you can agree that a movie has to stand on its own. And I heard this one is a direct sequel? Also, I agree that the movie looked good (at first) but I eventually felt like I was watching a video game. The only thing missing was a controller.

      Reply

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