Tron: Legacy is a basic story wrapped up in a shiny, beautiful coat of paint. Probably like a #7DD2DA color, provided that Lowe’s sells that color in gloss.
This movie is a sequel / reboot (referred to as a soft reboot) of 1982’s Tron. The movie was technically impressive at the time, but had a basic, unimpressive story and has aged fairly badly since.
That isn’t to denigrate the hard work or the acting of the original; however, in light of today’s nearly photo-realistic CGI, even movies from a decade ago can start showing their age (looking at you, Indiana Jones 4). The story of Tron was simple: a man (played by Jeff Bridges) becomes trapped into the “TRON” program, and attempts to escape while defeating the villain, the MCP. Simple. Cut and dry.
Let’s define a soft reboot quickly. A soft reboot is marketed as a sequel of a movie that was decades ago, but at the same time is a remake of that same movie. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, 2009’s Star Trek, the upcoming Predator movie, Creed – these are soft reboots. They star the main / side character from the original movie as a mentor – Han Solo, Spock, Rocky – as a new hero – Rey, Chris Pine, Adonis Creed – takes up the mantle. The story is generally a retelling of the original. Soft reboots, by definition, aren’t bad, but are rather lazy.
Tron: Legacy fits exactly within that definition. With Jeff Bridges as the older, mentor character (Sam Flynn’s father) and a plot that’s fairly similar to the original. But the story is…lacking. A character like Quorra is largely useless for the overall plot except for a kind of B-plot jammed in. The main character, Sam, is bland. The most interesting character(s) of Kevin Flynn and CLU aren’t utilized very well. The story is a big jumble of missed potential.
I don’t have any particular problems with the story, as it’s inoffensive and simple enough. At least it doesn’t turn into a large CGI-laded battle that gives me a headache.
I would say that the main draws for this movie are the visuals and the soundtrack.
Visually, the movie is a winner. The blue / orange contrast of the Grid with that shiny, empty black decorate a bleak setting. The environment is clean in a very computery way, which is perfect. Code doesn’t generally have anything more than necessary to function.
The best portion of the movie by far is when Sam first gets into Tron. Weird flying ships, a disc game, and the light cycle fight. It’s just cool. It remind me of how I felt watching Ready Player One – once we were in the OASIS, I was just having a good time, never mind the plot. As far as movies go, it isn’t the best strategy, but I’d rather have fun with visuals than be bored with them (hey, Justice League).
Of course, the Daft Punk’s legendary soundtrack sets the stage perfectly. The music encapsulates the feeling of Tron. The song “The Grid” is so well done, and it makes me want to go into the Grid. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all the soundtrack of a movie needs to do. I can’t imagine the movie going with a more stereotypical and less memorable stock orchestra sound.
This movie is a 3/5. Average story, great visuals, great sound.
Side note: Thanks to Google, I’ve just realized that Jeff Daniels and Jeff Bridges are not the same person. I’ve thought that Jeff Bridges was in Dumb and Dumber for years now. Oops.