Tron: Legacy is a fast paced special effects ride through a literal computer generated landscape. The plot picks up about 27 years after the original Tron ended. Kevin Flynn disappeared 7 years after his original adventure leaving his son Sam Flynn as an orphan. Sam, now an adult, doesn’t have much that he cares about in his life and is little more than a rich prankster. Out of the blue he is called to his father’s old video arcade by a mysterious page and is quickly trapped inside the computerized world that his father created. There he participates in deadly games and must help to free his father from his runaway creation, Clu, who has become a virtual dictator on the grid.
The strongest points of Tron: Legacy are without a doubt the special effects and the music, which are consistent throughout the film. The special effects sell themselves and are worth the price of admission alone. While some may feel that they are too flashy and that it’s hard to see what’s going on I thought that they were crisp and clean and worked very well. The soundtrack, performed by Daft Punk, also helps to set the scene and develops a transcendent atmosphere.
The character devleopment and the acting are also fairly strong. Jeff Bridges’ rendition of Kevin Flynn and his alter ego Clu are distinct and create depth and emotion in the characters. The dichotomy between Flynn and his created program Clu is the single best plot point of the movie and it is acted very well. Clu was originally created by Flynn to help him create a perfect world, but the search for perfection eventually consumed him and he rebelled against his creator. Flynn’s search for redemption for his sin of pride is a major theme of the movie. The other main characters, the independent program Quorra and Flynn’s son Sam, are also both portrayed fairly well especially when you consider that the majority of their acting was done surrounded by green screens.
Where Tron: Legacy fails the most is in realizing its potential for a great plot. Alan, Flynn’s friend and the creator of Tron, tells Sam: “He (Flynn) said he was about to change everything…science, medicene, religion. He wouldn’t have left all that.” The implication is that the digital world that Flynn created somehow has real world implications that will literally change how we see and live in the world. This sounds very compelling, but it is not really supported throughout the movie. There are occasional lines that point to religious or spiritual ideas, but they are not really followed up. For instance, Flynn talks to his son Sam about the importance of doing nothing and waiting, and while he is not a complete hypocrite as his hand is forced, shortly after he says this he proceeds to do quite a lot. The other big religious implication is the development of the Isos. The Isos are independent programs that emerged or evolved inside Flynn’s world without Flynn’s direct guidance. They are literally a new form of life. This is truly an amazing idea, but unfortunately it is not explored and is little more than a throw away line to provide a back story. What made the Isos so unique? Where did they come from? Unfortunately these questions are not answered, but the good thing about Tron: Legacy is that the action is quick and engaging and the audience doesn’t dwell on these questions for too long.
Despite its lack of a solid plot or any 3 dimensional ideas it is a fun movie and worth watching, especially in 3D.
2.5 out of 4 stars!