Monday, 20 December 2010

TRON LEGACY (2010) - 3 STARS

"The Game Has Changed"


Having finally got round to watching the original TRON (1982), a couple of months back, I was pleased to see the idea of a long-awaited sequel being made, and updated for this modern generation. The original wasn't a huge hit when released back then having been overshadowed by E.T: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL which came out in the same week. This particular edition does the original film justice, and gives you the perfect vibe for an visually spectacular film that should do well at Christmas although it also leaves those who didn't see the original a little whizzed out!


The original film's hero Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), has made his Tron universe a massive success to the world during the 80's but he ends up disappearing without a trace leaving his son Sam distraught. However in the modern day, Sam has grown up (played by Garrett Hedlund) and is trying to track down information of his father with his company Encom now being run by greedy executives. Through the help of another familiar face from the original Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), Sam discovers his father's arcade facility and just like his father back then, Sam goes through a similar portal system and finds himself in the Tron world. There he becomes prisoner and finds himself taking part in various games to try and survive, for which he does, before being reunited with his father (who hasn't aged). Unfortunately for Sam, his dad isn't who he thinks he is and is in fact the person who betrayed Kevin Flynn to the Tron world; Clu. Sam soon escapes from Clu thanks to sexy warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde) who reunites Sam with Kevin properly (this time he's older), but now face the prospect of a new plan to escape from the Tron world by returning to the portal from which Sam entered. However with Clu threatening to lead a mass army into the real world to overthrow Earth, the trio must make their way back home before it's too late!


The world of Tron looks stunning with beautiful visuals ranging from awesome bikes and other assorted vehicles to sexy costumes all shining with darkly colours, a mix of sleek black and cool blue which looks deliciously unique and beautifully original. The way programs disintegrate when they're disposed of, the light cycle battles, airborne chases, and the many fight sequences in the film are just a small example of the dazzling display of some of the most exceptional and impressive special effects ever seen in a cinematic feature. It's a real treat for the eyes, and it's even better in 3D which is splendidly used to flesh out the dimensions and graphics of the cyber world bring you even deeper into the world. Of course the first film must be seen to understand the sequel anyway so it will be great to have more people coming to it. From the cast, Garrett Hedlund does a decent job of carrying the film and being generally astonished that not only was his father alive but the extraordinary world he always talked about actually existed, while Bridges has his strongest scenes with Hedlund alone while being rather flat the rest of the time though visually his villainous turn as Clu is impressive and technically mastered well by the visual artists. And Olivia Wilde provides for the token sex symbol of the film (along with Beau Garrett) who is ever ready to flex her battle skills with various weapons and vehicles, whose background is given a twist which seeks to expand the TRON universe a little bit more but her cuteness adds to the eye-candy of the film. And another personal highlight? Daft Punk's electrifying musical score which stands out throughout the film, and provides additional lift.


The negativity of the film does seem to come from a story that has familiarity to the original and that becomes a bit samey for fans of the first film e.g. Flynn escaping from the Tron world, a lead female character etc. There's interesting things going on like a rebellion, but it's only given a brief nod. The rebels play only a bit part in a single scene, which is a shame, even more so the lack of Tron's character himself who was an integral part of the first film. The script though is much poorer even for a cheesy action film. For example some of the lines Bridges muttered just made him seem way too much like The Dude from THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998), which seems awesome but really has no place in the Tron universe. Another big disappointment is the role of Michael Sheen as Zuse. His white hair strongly resembles X Factor contestant Rhydian, and he strongly hams himself up in the role, but it's a shame an actor of his talent was wasted in such a cheesy, over-the-top performance. Overall the film is entertaining enough, but probably not the non-stop action some people are hoping for especially for parents who take their kids but when it comes to an action blockbuster for Christmas other than Harry Potter, then Tron Legacy is just it.

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