Tron: Legacy (PG)

Film

Science fiction

794tronlegacyREV1

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Sun Dec 5 2010

For over a decade, Disney’s ‘Tron’ was the red-headed stepchild of ’80s genre movies, seen as a blatant attempt to cash in on the arcade craze, a film bursting with style but lacking in substance. But as times changed, ‘Tron’ was re-evaluated: arcade culture was now fashionably retro, and as our world became increasingly digitised, the film’s ideas of virtual reality and complex computerised systems became oddly prescient. It also didn’t hurt that this coincided with Jeff Bridges’s rise from dependable leading man to countercultural icon.

Even so, the announcement two years ago that Disney was beginning work on a sequel seemed optimistic in the extreme: not only would this be the longest-gestating franchise attempt in cinema history, but were there really enough retro-nerds around to make the film a genuine commercial prospect? Now, thanks to a geek-targeted marketing campaign of staggering intensity, ‘Tron: Legacy’ is one of the most anticipated multiplex releases of the season. But can the film live up to the slavish hype?

The answer is… sort of. Appropriately, the sequel suffers from almost the same problems as the original: while it’s visually dazzling (particularly in 3D), thematically intriguing and fronted by the single coolest man in the universe, it’s also empty, derivative and rather directionless. We pick up the story a few years after the events of the first movie, as Kevin Flynn (Bridges) waxes lyrical about the possibilities of this new technology to seven-year-old son Sam. But when Flynn goes mysteriously missing, control of his company passes to a board of faceless corporate drones. Sam, now a rebellious 27-year-old played by blandly handsome mediocrity Garrett Hedlund, decides to go digging into the past and soon finds himself zapped into the computer and thrust onto the infamous Game Grid.

There’s a lot of story in ‘Tron: Legacy’: pretty much every character in the computer world, from Flynn’s digi-Hitler nemesis Clu (also played by a creepy, digitally youth-ified Bridges) to Michael Sheen as bizarre pantomime Bowie-alike club owner Zeus, has their personal history sketched out, usually in portentous flashback. But this can’t compensate for an absence of actual character development: even Sam, the supposed hero, is little more than a winning smile and a missing-Dad complex. Bridges makes the best of an underwritten part, but his amiable, dedicated character from the first movie has been reduced to a shaggy Zen master spouting sub-Lebowski hippy-isms (‘radical, man!’).

There’s no doubting the film’s visual ambition: the first act is essentially one breathlessly impressive action sequence, making the best imaginable use of 3D technology to thrust the audience right into this gorgeous, intricately detailed fantasy world. Daft Punk’s pulsating Moroder-esque soundtrack is another highlight, as is the band’s sly, appropriately faceless cameo.

But as the story becomes more convoluted and less convincing, as entire plot strands are left hanging, as Hedlund smoulders and Bridges clings to his dignity, it becomes clear that this ‘Tron’ isn’t going to satisfy any but the most undemanding fans. The door is left wide open for a sequel and the prospect remains a welcome one – but let’s hope they can do a comprehensive de-bug, and get this system running smoothly once more.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Dec 17, 2010

Duration:

125 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

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  • 4 star:1
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LiveReviews|22
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JAG

This film relies on the audience being of a certain age where the dawn of computers took over the imagination of young people (really I should say boys), where Amigas, Atari STs, and a plethoria of other 1st generation homes computers used by geeks where introduced. This film will reignite the primordial instincts of discovering computers way ahead of the rest of the work (or at least that was my feeling at the time), being ahead of the curve. Tron was able to bring visuals to our own such dreams, and certainly so does this one. As for the rest of the people that do not encapsulate this spirit of discovering something so big and new, you will have other totemic films or music to brandish, this one is mine!

JAG

This film relies on the audience being of a certain age where the dawn of computers took over the imagination of young people (really I should say boys), where Amigas, Atari STs, and a plethoria of other 1st generation homes computers used by geeks where introduced. This film will reignite the primordial instincts of discovering computers way ahead of the rest of the work (or at least that was my feeling at the time), being ahead of the curve. Tron was able to bring visuals to our own such dreams, and certainly so does this one. As for the rest of the people that do not encapsulate this spirit of discovering something so big and new, you will have other totemic films or music to brandish, this one is mine!

Matthew McKinnon

Very very boring indeed. Why give the sequel to a wonderfully colourful film a dull two-tone colour scheme [the ever-popular 'teal and orange' combination]? Why make the plot so boring and incomprehensible? Why employ Daft Punk to do the music, and then get them to do a Hans Zimmer score? Why make every supporting character look like a Matrix extra [baldy leather club look or Emo hair & makeup] - The MATRIX?!! That film was dated back in 1999! Why is everyone acting like they're about to burst into song, or waiting for the cut? A film that trades on the name of the original, but actually has very little to do with it in feel or spirit. Good 3D, for whatever that's worth.

Matthew McKinnon

Very very boring indeed. Why give the sequel to a wonderfully colourful film a dull two-tone colour scheme [the ever-popular 'teal and orange' combination]? Why make the plot so boring and incomprehensible? Why employ Daft Punk to do the music, and then get them to do a Hans Zimmer score? Why make every supporting character look like a Matrix extra [baldy leather club look or Emo hair & makeup] - The MATRIX?!! That film was dated back in 1999! Why is everyone acting like they're about to burst into song, or waiting for the cut? A film that trades on the name of the original, but actually has very little to do with it in feel or spirit. Good 3D, for whatever that's worth.

Justin Berkovi

I saw the first TRON when I was a ZX Spectrum playing kid and loved it. The idea that a laser could zap you and insert you into the machines was an incredible story for a tech addicted child back in the 80s. The new film has been poorly received by critics and unjustly so. It is a stunning film - it makes Avatar look like 'the bill'. The characters are not strong but the sheer beauty of the film and the impressive soundtrack make for a hugely enjoyable experience. There are also really great moments of 'real life' that were touches that reminded me in parts of bladerunner or other homages to films / books, etc. I saw this at the 3D IMAX in London and would advise anyone to do the same. TRON is a work of art and if you let your mind run free a bit and indulge yourself you will be rewarded.

Justin Berkovi

I saw the first TRON when I was a ZX Spectrum playing kid and loved it. The idea that a laser could zap you and insert you into the machines was an incredible story for a tech addicted child back in the 80s. The new film has been poorly received by critics and unjustly so. It is a stunning film - it makes Avatar look like 'the bill'. The characters are not strong but the sheer beauty of the film and the impressive soundtrack make for a hugely enjoyable experience. There are also really great moments of 'real life' that were touches that reminded me in parts of bladerunner or other homages to films / books, etc. I saw this at the 3D IMAX in London and would advise anyone to do the same. TRON is a work of art and if you let your mind run free a bit and indulge yourself you will be rewarded.

DV

Looks good, but hard to really care about what happens. 3D and cgi over plot and character development really should be banned from film making. Discuss.

DV

Looks good, but hard to really care about what happens. 3D and cgi over plot and character development really should be banned from film making. Discuss.

Ian

Agree with Moviegeek. I wanted to like this and was looking forward to see how the 3D effects would work out. The plot was so obvious almost to the level of being pathetic. The cod "obi wan death star" scene at the end just summed it up for me. Plot 1 star, acting 2 stars and effects 3 stars. They should have made so much more of them. All in all just above dire but not good enough to be good. Must do better.

Ian

Agree with Moviegeek. I wanted to like this and was looking forward to see how the 3D effects would work out. The plot was so obvious almost to the level of being pathetic. The cod "obi wan death star" scene at the end just summed it up for me. Plot 1 star, acting 2 stars and effects 3 stars. They should have made so much more of them. All in all just above dire but not good enough to be good. Must do better.

Mortimer Capp

Stunningly beautiful movie. Story is easy to follow, violence is limited, Visual effects and music are amazing. I am definitely going to see it again. One quantum leap ahead of any other 3D movie.

Mortimer Capp

Stunningly beautiful movie. Story is easy to follow, violence is limited, Visual effects and music are amazing. I am definitely going to see it again. One quantum leap ahead of any other 3D movie.

Johngault22

I thought the gem of the story was really intriguing but they did leave a lot plot threads hanging, also the guy playing Sam was a really crap actor.

Johngault22

I thought the gem of the story was really intriguing but they did leave a lot plot threads hanging, also the guy playing Sam was a really crap actor.

premsta

As a fan of the original film, I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel, not only for the effects, which are gorgeous, but for the story as well...it's a story that every Star Wars and/or videogame fan could get...it seems that far too few movie critics fall into either category, which is why they don't 'get it'.

premsta

As a fan of the original film, I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel, not only for the effects, which are gorgeous, but for the story as well...it's a story that every Star Wars and/or videogame fan could get...it seems that far too few movie critics fall into either category, which is why they don't 'get it'.