First Published 03/06/2011
Summary: Sci-fi retro classic Tron gets an upgrade in its 2010 sequel Tron Legacy, but is far less contemporary than it’s 1982 original.
Disney in 1982 intended for their Tron movie to be the cutting-edge special effects laden film that would take immediate advantage of the burgeoning video games arcade culture. They barely succeeded with a so-so showing at the box office. Still, for all its faults, Tron is fondly remembered.
In Tron: Legacy both Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprise their roles as Kevin Flynn (and also alter ego CLU) and Alan Bradley (also Tron) respectively.
Sam, Tron Legacy’s New Hero
The story starts with Sam (Garrett Hedlund), Kevin’s son – now grown, and a rebellious youth – attacking his father’s company ENCOM, which he owns a controlling stake in, in light of Bridge’s disappearance 20 years ago. He sashays past security and into the mainframe room where he stops the launch of a new Operating System, a program which he feels should have been released free of charge to the public in keeping with his missing father’s mantra of freely distributed software.
Sam manages to escape ENCOM’s building in a way that would make Batman proud, and it’s while back in his bachelor’s hovel that his father’s old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) meets him. Alan’s just received a mysterious page from Sam’s father and suggests the son go investigate. And so the story starts to pick up when he gets to an old, abandoned arcade where his father set up his office all those years ago. Sam finds a hidden room and in there sees a computer that’s attached to some sort of machine. A few keystrokes on the keyboard and the machine comes alive and he’s suddenly transported to The Grid, a virtual reality world created by his father Kevin.
Rinzler and CLU – The Bad Guys
He immediately encounters trouble when he’s captured for supposedly being a rogue program, and is taken to a gladiator-style game arena where he’s pitted against Rinzler, the arena’s champion. Rinzler stops short of killing him when he’s identified not as a program but a “User”. He takes Sam before CLU, the Grid’s Führer-like dictator, and a program his father Kevin created in his likeness.
Quorra – The Girl
CLU challenges Sam to a duel on the Grid, hoping to kill him, but Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an ally of his father’s, rescues him. She takes him to Kevin who’s now grown old and sits apart from everything, meditating, and keeping Quorra (who it turns out is a program that carries answers to mankind’s problems) from his doppelganger CLU, who has destroyed all of her race in genocidal attacks. Bridges here is a peculiar if not sometimes incongruous mix of part Jedi, part Buddhist monk, and part The Dude from The Big Lebowski – you can’t help but smile at his The Dude-like “biodigital jazz, man” comment.
He explains to his son that CLU has held him captive in the Grid all this time but that Sam’s arrival’s reopened the portal to our world. They now have to journey back with all CLU’s might and resources against them. This inevitably leads to more light-based special effects action set pieces with the Daft Punk soundtrack – which received an Oscar nomination – playing in the background.
The movie won’t be remembered for its convoluted story, but manages to impress in the visual department. It’s supposedly raked in over $400 million worldwide (boxofficemojo.com) and so one can only expect that Disney will be angling for more sequels to be made.
DVD and Blu-ray Release
Both DVD and Blu-ray releases have a sneak peak at Disney Channel’s new animated series, Tron: Uprising, as well as a documentary on Visualising Tron. The Blu-ray release has more documentaries and a Daft Punk music video, Derezzed.
Who Should Buy This?
Without a question fans of the original won’t miss this new instalment. Kids just entering teenage years may also find it entertaining. For everyone else Tron Legacy may only just be worth a night from your video club, with impressive visuals and a great beat from Daft Punk.
Sources: Tron Legacy (DVD), Production Year: 2010, Disney, Tron Legacy (boxofficemojo.com)