TRON: Legacy (2010)

In 1989 Encom executive and father Kevin Flynn disappeared, leaving the company and his son in the care of Alan Bradley.

His son Sam Flynn is now grown and has engaged in a war of sorts against his own company; at least a company that will be his once he has accepted the challenge of running it. Sam is a malcontent, and a genius, who spends most of the time running from his duties.

Until one day he receives a message from his long lost father, sent from a an abandoned games arcade called Flynn’s.

Tron Legacy is the long awaited sequel to the cult classic Tron (1982) that presents some of the original characters in a continuing story. The time between this and the last film is accounted for within the storyline so a very real attempt was made to add to the tapestry of the Tron universe rather than just re-envisioning it.

Tron Legacy leaves this particular reviewer with a bit of a dilemma. There are so many things about the film that are well considered and strike the right notes. The story acts as both a sequel and a remake of the original, representing many of the same ideas for a modern audience. Here and there can be seen nods to many of Disney’s early attempts at more “grown up” movies as well as some interesting reuses of the original films props and designs.

There is absolutely nothing wrOng with Tron Legacy in fact, while simultaneously everything is wrong.

Much of this depends on the viewers own perspective. Those who did not live through the 80’s and the home computer boom will see this sequel very differently to those who did. It will also depend on the viewer’s attitude towards the original movie a great deal.

The design looks nothing like the world of Tron, and some of the set pieces seem equally out of place. The blue hue of the virtual world of Tron (1982) has been replaced with relatively lifelike skin tones and the characters themselves are presented far more like humans than programs.

There seems to be inconsistencies within the tone of the story too. Even though Clu (the computer doppelganger of Kevin Flynn) pursues a “perfect system” and enforces this with the brutal gladiatorial games there is room enough for nightclubs and allusions to drug taking in this world; hardly the perfect system that Clu believes he has attained. There are other things too, such as the implication that programs don’t age, even though the first film clearly implies that they do.

Perhaps the biggest irritation about the film surrounds the title itself. The hero of the original Tron was never Kevin Flynn, it was the character of Tron himself (or perhaps more accurately Alan Bradley, the writer of the Tron program) so calling the sequel Tron Legacy it is not unfair to assume that Tron is back?

Unfortunately Tron appears for a few moments in flashback before reappearing sometime later in a very different role. However there is a ray of hope for fans of the original film and character in the films final moments; though this is perhaps a little too late.

Ultimately it is too difficult for this reviewer to decide whether Tron Legacy is a good or bad sequel to the classic 1982 movie. Though it is entertaining and roars through with the momentum of a freight train I found that when the credits start to roll I was left with a sense of sadness rather than elation.

An even now I cannot shake the feeling that Tron Legacy was soemthing of a missed opportunity rather than a sucess. Though another part of me fights against this conclusion, a part of me that was thrilled and entertained by the Tron legacy experience.

Perhaps the only recommendation I could make is for anyone even vaguely interested to try the movie out for themselves. Even if you do not consider it a classic, it seems likely you’ll be entertained.

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