Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tron: Legacy

     Boy, did Tron: Legacy suck.  It was this year’s equivalent of Avatar, being that the only positive thing I can say about it is it was kind of cool to look at.  But if you’re hoping for relatable characters, interesting dialogue, or anything resembling a story, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
     Garrett Hedlund stars as Garrett Hedlund, son of that guy from the equally boring original film, Tron.  Hedlund doesn’t do a lot of acting, per se, but he does spend a lot of time looking at the camera going “Aren’t I cute?  Yes, yes I am.” Jeff Bridges appears to have fun reprising his character, but having fun and being interesting onscreen are two very different things.  Olivia Wilde is fun to look at, so that falls under my one positive thing.  Oh, the movie also features a baffling cameo by the great Cillian Murphy for all of about 30 seconds in the beginning, before he disappears for the remainder of the film.  I guess this is to hint at a possible sequel, but all it really does is make me wish I were watching a movie with more Cillian Murphy and less boring Windows screensaver action.
     The script manages to squeeze in every clichéd, overused, action movie line known to man, including, but not limited to: “This isn’t happening!”, “This can’t be good”, and the classic “Now THAT is a big door.”
     It’s tough to complain about “plot holes” in a movie like this, because theoretically the movie would have to have a plot in the first place in order to contain holes, but I’ll still mention some of my favorite moments.  At one point in the film, Jeff Bridges is seen reprogramming an evil guard, and then bonking him on the head to turn the guard into his own personal servant.  This seems like it’d be a handy trick to teach his son who’s been running around fighting these guards for days.  Another interesting note is the fact that despite the portal planting Hedlund in the middle of the virtual city, Hedlund must travel hundreds of miles outside the city to exit said portal. And of course, the realization that at the end (SPOILER) Jeff Bridges is God and can knock over badguys with a seismic foot stomp.  Magic might have been useful earlier in the movie.  But what do I know.



  1. Yeah, I wasn't that impressed with Tron: Legacy either. For me the best thing about it was Jeff Bridges. To echo a sentiment expressed by Roger Ebert in a review he wrote many years ago for a completely different film, he seemed to bring some weight and world-weariness to a film that didn't otherwise have the patience for such things. The special effects were certainly spectacular but that's not really very hard to do anymore. Plus, the whole "CGI-created younger-looking Jeff Bridges" thing never completely worked for me and ended up just being a little creepy and off-putting.

    Probably the most interesting reaction I took away from the film was a sense that in the almost thirty years that have elapsed since the first Tron, its sequel was more influenced by the "Cyberpunk" movies that were made in the interim than it was by the 1982 original. This was particularly apparent to me in the scene where Garrett Hedlund goes to see Zuse (Michael Sheen) at the club. At that point I felt more like I was watching a Matrix movie than a Tron movie (which is ironic since Tron in turn influenced The Matrix). This is something that I am starting to notice becomes more and more of a problem the further away a sequel gets from its predecessor. The fourth Indiana Jones film, for example, seemed more like a bad National Treasure or a DaVinci Code imitator than a true Indiana Jones adventure.

    That was, for me, the biggest problem with Tron: Legacy. Yes, the characters were dull and yes, the story/plot was non-existent but that's par for the course in Hollywood. Far more interesting and enjoyable movies have been made with less than that. What was most disappointing was that for a film whose massively over-hyped publicity purported to bring cinema into a "new age", Tron: Legacy didn't really bring anything new to the table. It just re-hashed ideas, themes and images we'd seen in other better movies... only bigger and louder. If they do make a sequel (and I think you're right in that they are planning for one; the eventual fate--and last shot--of the Tron character here seem to indicate that), I hope they can do something more original and less derivative.

  2. I completely agree. Even in movies like this Jeff Bridges manages to shine, but I'd much rather spend my time watching him in something like True Grit, which is worthy of his talents. And yes, the CGI Jeff Bridges was off-putting. I felt like he was a character out of a well made video game. And I like your observation of sequels imitating other movies more than their original. I knew the Zuse scene reminded me of something, and you hit the nail on the head. Indiana Jones is a perfect example of this disappointing trend.