“It’s all in the wrist.”
Tron was to the ’80s what Matrix was to the ’90s/’00s.
Thankfully, Legacy is prettier than Matrix Reloaded and decides to dip it’s toe into the philosophy kiddy pool without drowning it in. It’s style is what sells it. Gone are the outfits, the boots and the helmets with the day glow lines and instead it’s black and white outfits for everyone with several stripes of white, red, yellow and green.
The idea of Tron has caught up with the technology. The plot is fairly straight forward and while some of the scenes harken back to the original right down to Sark’s Command Ship or even to other movies (ahem, Star Wars among others, my mom asked me where Luke was).
It’s what Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith should have been if you ejected the political plot lines and the racist aliens.
Disney has been testing the waters with the Tron franchise for a while through Video Games and now after watching shaky cellphone footage from San Diego 2008, seeing the QT HD test footage in 2009, trailers, going to Hall H at SDCC 2010 and shouting DeRez, Disc Wars, I have to say: It was a fun movie.
Legacy picks up some years after the original (which Disney has not re-released and cannot be found on Netflix, eBay and Amazon has copies though and the prices for new copies are laughable), Kevin Flynn fresh from his encounter with the Master Control Program with Tron has created his own world in the basement of his Arcade and in real life with an unnamed wife and son, Sam. In the system with the help of a Tron and a helper program named Clu, he has created life and an extra bonus: His grid has created life by itself. There’s only one slight problem: Clu was programmed to create a perfect world. And, a perfect world means imperfection is not tolerated. Flynn is exiled while Clu builds up the world around him meanwhile out in the real world years have passed, Sam Flynn may be largest shareholder at Encom he is not in charge of Encom and instead Dillinger Jr is weaseling his way back up the ranks.
After some fatherly advise from Allan, he sends our hero back to Arcade where the 80’s never left. No journey would be complete without Journey as Sam ventures down into the basement to find what his father was working on and gets zapped into the Grid faster (and slightly less creative) than the original. Once in The Grid, the disc wars and light cycle races are still alive and well. And, after figuring out what happened to his father it is a race to save him and stop Clu from bringing his mindwiped programs into the real world.
For the most part in the beginning, the script works since no one on the outside world knows a thing. And, due to the fact Flynn’s Grid is off the Grid, there’s been no communicating with dad.
Once inside, the script get a little hazy and opportunities that present themselves are never brought to fruition: TRON’s involvement with The new Grid is barely a footnote since his derez at Clu’s hand is implied but never shown (Disney movie being what it is, like the first movie several programs die during the games) and the payoff of his turning back to fight for the Users never happens since he never rises up from the water at the climatic end, takes off the stupid helmet (which saved large amounts of money on the budget to not CGI Bruce Boxleitner) and saves everyone from Clu. A scene was shot with Tron surviving to lead the leaderless grid programs towards a better life would have been a nice coda I think unless Sam shutting down the system in the basement was “shutting off the world”.
The world of the Grid is lovely but didn’t feel real. The set pieces of Disc War/Light Cycle Game Arena, End of Line Restaurant, Flynn’s safe house while interesting would have been move interesting if Sam didn’t get picked up instantly. The designs are well done and the SFXs does not pull you away from the plot since we’re talking about living inside a video game. Colorful SFX is expected.
Cillian Murphy as Dillinger’s kid is a great idea since Sam has fallen off the programming track. If he chooses to follow the road his father did by creating another program like the MCP we’ll never know since he’s nowhere to be found on Flynn’s Grid since it’s off the grid. See, you think as a writer you have answered it all: Flynn is stuck in fishbowl and nobody else can get in or out!
The ending is too pat. I mean, let’s take a page from V, let’s write stupid Sci-Fi and let the program girl be brought back into the real world (and fully clothed too, ahem) and drive off with the hero in less than five minutes to go watch the sunrise (awwww). My mom mention afterwards: Where was the sunrise? Cloudy w/ overcast does not count as a sunrise. You couldn’t have waited to film the scene with the sun coming up?
Practically everyone who could have been brought over for Tron 3 dies. Castor, Gem, Jarvis and maybe even TRON?
There are other errors or plot holes that other reviewers have found but I’m not nitpicking it further. It was a fun flick and the 3-D rocked on the IMAX Screen.
It should be noted: it took myself and my brother five minutes to explain the first movie since the first movie isn’t available anywhere. If Disney did this on purpose they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Even if the film was made in 1984, sure the plot is hokey and the outfits were laughable in spots but ya know, it was ’84 and we enjoyed it damnit!
Three things I will leave you with: First a link for the original Tron Script. Second and third are trailers for both movies:
Tron Legacy (2010)