REVIEW: Tron: Legacy Is All Moneygrubbing Sequel, Very Little Legacy
There are good reasons for people to feel nostalgic about the 1982 live action-computer animation hybrid Tron. If you were a little kid when it came out, the spectacle of it might have dazzled you; if you were an older kid, of any age, the novelty of it might have mesmerized you. And from what I've seen, the imagery does look original for the movie's time. That's all the more reason for fans of Tron to feel cheated by the bloated, nonsensical, exhausting sequel that is Tron: Legacy. Even the name seems crass, as if some Disney marketing exec figured that all the studio had to do was slap "Legacy" at the end of the old title and the thing would be good to go.
Right here I must come clean and admit that I've never seen the original Tron. I'm a victim of the Great Tron Shortage of 2010: The DVD is out of print and much in demand, recently fetching upwards of $60 on eBay. A remastered Blu-ray is in the works, but it won't be available until 2011. And although my local rental joint has one copy, there was a waiting list for it, one that unfortunately stretched beyond my deadline.
I realize that to some of you, my lack of familiarity with Tron -- even though I made every effort to see it -- makes me unfit to walk the Earth, let alone bask in the miserable experience that is Tron: Legacy. On the other hand, going in cold has its advantages: It's the best way to tell whether a sequel can stand on its own or whether it demands an insider's knowledge and affection to make any kind of sense.
I certainly hope the latter is the case. Tron: Legacy is an ungodly mess that's great fun to look at for about 15 minutes and exhausting the rest of the time. As far as I can tell, here's what Tron: Legacy is about: The movie opens with a figure who looks a little like the young Jeff Bridges (at least as far as we can tell, from the clever one-quarter-profile shot), and sounds something like the current Jeff Bridges, telling his young son about some Utopia he's on the verge of discovering, or building. When we finally get a good look at the guy's face, we see that he actually does look something like the young Jeff Bridges -- except he appears to have been Animatronicized, or Robert Zemeckisized, or something, and his scarily youthful lips don't quite sync with what he's saying. This isn't Jeff Bridges as he once was -- this is Jeff Bridges as you'd never want to see him.
Bridges, reprising the role he played in the first movie, is Kevin Flynn, and he's about to make a big breakthrough having to do with "the grid" or something like that. Then he disappears. Flash-forward a bunch of years. His kid, Sam, is now grown, and he's being played by a boring actor, Garrett Hedlund. The little computer-game outfit Flynn used to run with his partner, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, who shows up looking, thank God, his actual age), is now a faceless conglomerate that won't give its software away for free. The script and story -- which have no fewer than six screenwriter pawmarks smudged all over them, although some of them belong to Steven Lisberger, who created the characters and directed the original -- briefly introduce a potentially boring open-source software debate. That unpromising thread is dropped, only to be replaced by a thread -- if you could call it that -- that's actually more boring.
Pages: 1 2