Film Review (Jack’s Take) – Tron Legacy
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde & Michael Sheen
by Jack Gregson
It’s funny to think that there has been so much hype to the sequel of such a flop; it truly shows that the geeks have inherited the earth. In Kosinski’s follow up to the 1982 cult classic we catch up with Kevin Flynn (Bridges) who has been missing for 20 years, leaving behind his business empire, Encom (which sounds far to similar to Enron) and his son Sam (Hedlund). We find out that Flynn is actually stuck on the grid of the computer world he visited in the first film, and now his son has gone in to get him out. It’s a rescue movie, but in a similar way to the first Matrix movie, it takes the simple storyline and expands on it with a great premise and a fascinating new world.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svpLw7e-4ds[/youtube]
The original Tron is known to be the mother of CGI movies, it really ushered in a new age of special effects when it was first made, yet now it has become incredibly dated. Tron: Legacy updates the special effects beautifully; it’s really wonderful watching this dystopian computer based world come to life. The visuals never really distract from the movie, most of them look real, there was just one that distracted and reminded us all that it’s just a movie; The de-aging effect on Jeff Bridges just doesn’t work, it’s not awful but it makes the man look like a video game character (which considering the base of the plot actually almost works), but it’s those dead eyes that really ruin the effect, it’s hard to have him play an expressive villain when his eyes remain lifeless and dull. Despite the one negative, the world will invite you in and you’ll never want to leave, apart from Inception, these were the finest special effects of the year.
Jeff Bridges plays both the Obi Wan and the Vader character in this flick and he does a great job with both, chewing up the scenery Obidiah Stane style when playing the villainous Klu and channelling the classic characters of The Dude and the original Flynn when reprising said role. It’s quite nice to see the man play the roles as polar opposites, there are no similarities shared between the characters and both roles are fine performances. He also shares great chemistry with both Wilde as his programme apprentice, and Hedlund as his son, these guys work really well as a unit and are a delight to root for as our heroic team. Another great performance is put in by Michael Sheen, the man embraces the campiness of his role and prances around the screen with such energy and gusto that you can’t help but love him, a welcome change from most of the cast playing programmes as emotionless machines. There is no real downside with this cast, no performance felt forced and no character felt un-necessary, just like the original Tron, great cast to back up a great movie.
Like the original, the film takes it’s time playing with it’s characters and developing it’s plot, nothing feels rushed, yet with a running time of 125 minutes it never feels slow. There are 3 or 4 action sequences and as thrilling as they were what you really walk away with is the characters, they are very well rounded and are completely believable (a rare thing in a film with such a high concept). For quite a long period of the film we just see our core heroes riding a train, no conflict, no tension, just talking and riding a train and yet it never feels dull, we are so drawn into the film at this point that we can’t take our eyes of the screen. At this time when Disney are complaining that boys are not interested in their movies, this is definitely a step in the right direction for the studio, the action and characters will have young boys completely engrossed and easily win over other members of the family.
There aren’t many negatives with this film, the terrible de-aging job, a sub-plot about the character of Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) that feels a little tacked on and the 3D, the film is only partly in 3D, honestly, it was easier to watch without the glasses on; if possible see the film in 2D. Yet all these faults are very small compared to the great fun this movie is, a smart plot, great visuals, fantastic score and top level performances. This is the type of family action movie that Hollywood should always produce, smart and fun. Tron is back, lets hope it stays this time.