Directed by Joseph Kosinski
After Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) gets a page, Kevin Flynn’s son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) gets sucked into the Grid and must prevent Clu (Jeff Bridges) from escaping.
As far as handoff movies go, Tron: Legacy is not that bad. In my opinion what helped make the original work was that the character of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) was a lot closer to being a normal guy than the character of Sam is. Sam comes off as a buff extreme sports guy. Disney envisioned with this a film franchise with a guaranteed revenue stream but with the casting of Garrett Hedlund I think they chose poorly. The geeks and the nerds that could identify with Flynn in the first film could not identify with the son in the second. They should have cast someone who is less of a movie hunk type and someone who appeared more of a normal guy like Jeff Bridges had at the time.
Another thing is that the character of Tron, whose name is in the title, is more of an afterthought here. I have said before that Flynn was not the main character of the first film. Tron was because Tron’s whole purpose in the first film was to stop the Master Control Program. That was the whole thrust of the story. Flynn was just an observer that allowed the viewer to see the action. Here, while Tron is in the title, he is discussed briefly after Sam finds him and then at the chase scene that leads to the climax but beyond that he’s not really in the movie. Name the movie anything you want and give it a subtitle that links it to the first film. Legacy of Tron? I know this is a bit nitpicky.
And I do understand they are not on the same Grid as in the first film. This is made clear in a line when Flynn is giving the backstory about his current situation and he mentions that he brought Tron to this Grid. That is fine but how did the vehicles get smoke and flame and how did the computer world get rain? When Sam is going to look for Zuse, the umbrella of the woman Gem (Beau Garrett) from the game grid has rain on it. Weather? Really?
What exactly is lethal to these programs? Sam encounters a program missing about a third of its head when he first arrives. Some programs have what could be viewed as scarring and even Quorra (Olivia Wilde) loses a portion of her arm but none of those damages are fatal but random disc impacts can be? In the original it is a little more consistent than it is here.
And why did Flynn not trust Alan enough to tell him about the computerized world? There is no indication Alan knew a thing about it. They were supposed to be good friends by this point, yet nothing appears to ever have been mentioned to him. You would think at the minimum he would say something just in case things went bad and he needed somebody to help him out.
Why would the company hire Dillinger’s son (an uncredited Cillian Murphy)? I understand that you’re not guilty for the sins of your father, but it would seem as if the company would want to steer away from hiring someone associated with a person even they agree was not good for the company.
Visually though the film is amazing. It is a beautiful movie. It is a rich and immersive and stunning environment. From the look of the world to the look of the characters they took what was in the first film and effectively updated it to modern times. And they did so without losing what gave it its unique appeal.
They did a good job in casting the film, but where I think they largely missed the mark in casting was not having any of the humans play programs. That was one of the interesting things that the previous film did. James Frain should have been in that board room in place of Dillinger’s son rather than have Murphy who is pretty good playing a character that went nowhere. The assorted actors were not bad in their respective parts. I do rate Garrett Hedlund as the weakest actor, but I think he was just cast inappropriately in the role and it has nothing to do with his abilities.
It is a good action-oriented story with good dialogue and despite its flaws there are decent, well-rounded characters. The story itself is solid and the plot of the villain to escape from the computer world into the real world is pretty cool. The machinations of the plot however do not feel really clear though and you are not able to draw too many strong or even vague conclusions about what the villain is up to until the very end when it is all laid out.
Tron: Legacy is not a bad film nor is it a bad continuation of the Tron concept. It is just not as good as it could have been. Tron should have been more important to the plot since his name is in the title. And the story could have used a little bit more work before it was actually filmed. Overall it’s not a bad movie and you won’t be disappointed. It does not bastardize the previous mythology. It manages to build it out a little bit. It is an enjoyable movie and you will not feel bad for putting it in for a watch.