Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Tron: Legacy

Visually-invigorating with some great action sequences, this movie is built around big ideas, but fails to deliver on either engrossing plot or characters you ever really care about.

Now guess if that's my review of the new Tron: Legacy or the original Tron from 1982. ANSWER: It doesn't matter, it applies to both.

Why did we get a Tron sequel at all nearly twenty years after the lackluster original? I'm guessing partly because the first film had both an inspiring premise (even though it never quite lived up to it), and was like nothing we'd ever seen before (or since, really - sure, we've gotten very used to computer-generated images since then, but Tron still had a visual flair that sets it apart).

The other reason... the reason I really suspect Tron nostalgia as stuck around as much as it has? I think it has less to do with the original movie than it does with the classic Tron stand-up videogame that could be found in any self-respecting arcade in the 80s. A coin-operated classic, featuring four mini-games inspired by the movie. The cone was my area of expertise, the tanks my least-favorite.

Oh, and Tron Guy, of course, has kept the flame alive. I think Tron-guys needs little Tron lights in his glasses, don't you? Or maybe in the mustache?

Anyway, I was going to review the new movie, wasn't I? OK: The first hour of Tron: Legacy entertains pretty well. It's faced-paced, includes a pair of great action sequences (light cycles and Frisbees Death Match, both warmed over from the original), and at times favors creating a rich, moody atmosphere over plot which works surprisingly well. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie slows way down, introduces plot points that make little sense, and has a climax that hinges on a change-of-heart from a key character that comes from absolutely no where at all.

In short, it's a pretty mess.

Tron: Legacy does have a few things going for it. Jeff Bridges is a great and enormously charismatic actor. I saw this movie only a few days apart from seeing the Coen Brother's wonderful True Grit, and it's hard to believe this is even the same actor, he's so versatile. As said above, the visuals really are great, as is the score by techno-robots Daft Punk.

I can save you the cost of admission, though, and give you the best thing about Tron:Legacy for free right here on the blog, though:

There. You're welcome.

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