“Tron: Legacy” is a 2D script presented with glorious 3D visuals. The long awaited sequel to 1982’s “Tron” with its cheesier-than-a-gruyere-fondue story, so-so acting and dialogue that sounds ripped from a bad 1980’s action movie could have used a gigabyte or two more storyline to go along with the mesmerizing computer generated visuals.
When Sam Flynn’s (Garrett Hedlund) father Kevin (Jeff Bridges), the genius software programmer and former CEO of ENCOM International, disappeared when the boy was just a tot, no one had any idea what happened to him. So twenty years later when a mysterious page comes from Kevin’s old office Sam decides he must investigate. Poking around his dad’s old desk he is suddenly transported to The Grid, a wild digital world fraught with danger. Partnering with Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Sam is reunited with his father but also must battle Clu (played by a digital Jeff Bridges), the bio-digital embodiment of Kevin’s original hacking program.
“Tron: Legacy” works more as an experience than it does as a movie. It’s kind of like going to see Laser Floyd. It’s an immersive experience that doesn’t rely on the story to keep you entertained. It’s essentially a sci fi chase movie—Sam chases the memory of his father, then is chased on The Grid before chasing Clu—and because those sequences are so hypnotic and eye popping it makes you forget how silly and exposition heavy the story is.
As the older Kevin Jeff Bridges seems to be channeling “The Big Lebowski’s” Dude more than any traditional sci fi character. As the younger, computer generated version of the actor, Clu, is only about 95% convincing. He’s meant to be a computer program come to life, I get that, but the technology used to bring him to being has the same fault as seen in the Robert Zemeckis films that use “lifelike” computer generated characters: dead eyes and a too-fluid way of walking.
Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde aren’t the main attraction, here, and they all seem to know it. Only Michael Sheen as the albino Ziggy Stardust character Zuse tries to upstage the wild graphics, and very nearly succeeds. A flamboyant mix of the MC from “Cabaret” and Kim Jong-il, he delivers the film’s liveliest performance and almost steals the show from The Grid.
I don’t think “Tron: Legacy” is destined to be a classic, but let’s face it, the original isn’t a masterpiece either. It’s little more than a fondly remembered relic from the 80s that seemed ripe for an update. It got it’s update and then some, but let’s hope if they make another one they spend more time to craft an interesting story to go along with the astounding look (and sound, courtesy of soundtrack creators Daft Punk) of the movie.