By: Michael Wu
Director Joseph Kosinski presents a visual masterpiece with his movie Tron: Legacy. As a spinoff to its predecessor, Tron, released in 1982, the new film uses the same premise of a virtual world, which allows Kosinski to take creative liberties with both setting and plot mechanics, which would otherwise not work in a real-world setting.
The story begins with Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of vanished programming mogul Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), trying to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Upon exploring his father’s laboratory, Sam is sucked into the computerized world of The Grid which is populated by humanoid beings known as Programs. Within The Grid, Sam is captured and taken to a gladiator-like arena, where he is forced to fight for his life. After Sam is discovered to be a human and not a Program, the villainous Clu (also played by Jeff Bridges) challenges Sam to a battle with Light Cycles, which are similar to motorcycles, but more lethal. Just as Sam is about to be killed, he is rescued by the mysterious Quorra, a female Program, and whisked away to a hideout, where he finds his long-lost father. Together, the three attempt to find a way to escape The Grid and foil Clu’s evil plot.
Tron: Legacy’s careful development certainly shows in its stunning visuals and computer generated images. If nothing else, the movie is a feast for the eyes. Dazzling colors of orange and white beautifully contrast with The Grid’s dark landscape. There’s not even any need to understand what is happening to appreciate the beauty of the animated Light Cycles, or the stunning futuristic architecture. Complementing all of the remarkable computer wizardry is the soundtrack. The catchy score by Daft Punk pumps up the tempo of the action scenes and the electronic beat perfectly captures the overall theme of the film.
While it has great cinematography and audio, Tron: Legacy fails to deliver on one crucial point: its plot. Surprisingly linear throughout the film’s entirety, there’s never really an unpredictable moment. Although it seems exciting at first, the movie’s action is put on the backseat for much of the middle of the movie. Long, drawn-out dialogues serve as a connection to the first film, but ultimately drag sluggishly along and don’t move the story very much. Another negative point of the film is that underneath all of the fancy flashing lights, some of the plot seems to be a rehash of Star Wars and The Matrix.
The bottom line is: go watch Tron: Legacy for its dazzling lights and special effects, but don’t expect a groundbreaking plot. It is certainly worth the additional cost to view the film in IMAX, because its effects (and its soundtrack) are all that stop this film from fading into mediocrity.
By: Michael Wu