TRON: Legacy (2010) Review

Simultaneously slick, beautiful and exhilarating, TRON: Legacy is the perfect science fiction adventure to end a year of great movies. Generating a staggering amount of hype ever since its reveal almost two years ago, TRON: Legacy manages to accomplish what may have seemed impossible. It pushes the limits of what movies have accomplished visually and a terrific score by House legends Daft Punk will keep your heart racing through every disc battle and light cycle race. From the second audiences see the exotic and dangerous world of the Grid to the closing credits TRON will keep your eyes positively glued to the screen. The film truly shines in 3-D – one of the few recent instances where audiences should justify the extra price of admission. However, even in 2-D TRON is still a wild ride that shouldn’t be missed.

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), genius video-game programmer and heroic liberator of the digital world, has disappeared without a trace. Left in his wake is an abandoned company, a confused public and a very distraught young son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund). The story picks up years after Flynn’s disappearance. His software company ENCOM has prospered without its champion leader, but at the cost of the ethical guidelines Flynn had originally established. While Flynn’s best friend and peer Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) does what he can to preserve ENCOM for what it once was, he’s outnumbered by the sycophantic money-grubbers that make up the rest of the board of directors. ENCOM’s only hope rests in Sam, but while he’s still the majority share holder in the company, he has little interest in it beyond tormenting its current managers. When Alan reaches out to Sam with one last chance to find his father, it isn’t long before the son finds himself lost amidst the very same world that has claimed Flynn. Soon we learn that CLU, a megalomaniacal program created in Flynn’s own image has turned this digital paradise into a dictatorship. CLU quickly learns of the presence of the son of Flynn and does everything in his power to stop the only threat to his complete dominance. One exciting rescue and a long awaited reunion later, Sam, Flynn, and Flynn’s confidante Quorra (Olivia Wilde) are in a race to stop CLU and escape back into the real world.

While the most energetic and exciting parts take place in the world of the Grid, TRON: Legacy is filled with a sense of wonderment throughout its entirety. From the beginning scenes of a young Flynn energetically trying to explain a world that only he can understand to an enamored Sam, the audience will be swept right along. Sam’s eager expression will mimic the audience’s own as they learn about a place that lies beyond the ordinary – a digital paradise full of unrealized potential. In the early scenes Sam organizes an exciting attack on ENCOM and sets the pace for what consists through the rest of the film. When Sam finally enters the Grid, his initial revelation is almost breathtaking – a seamless transition from a plain world that audiences are all-too familiar with to a fantastic dreamscape that’s never been presented in such a way before.

Once the true setting of the film is established, the action takes center stage. Before Sam can even fully comprehend his situation he’s thrust into the “games” that take place within a coliseum of virtual gladiators who perpetually exist on the edge of deresolution – a digital entity’s own pixelized demise. Sam’s no slouch though and it’s a joy to watch him leap from battleground to battleground, deftly surpassing opponents. The visuals are relentless and the sense of danger consistent. Superb camera work by Claudio Miranda (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) keeps you on the edge of your seat, feeling every move. What fans of the original film may be most intrigued about is the new rendition of the Light Cycles. Sam’s Light Cycle battle against CLU himself is the most jaw-dropping and fantastic part of the film. It truly has to be seen to be believed.

TRON: Legacy also features some of the best 3-D implementation since last year’s Avatar. Oddly enough, the film tells the audience that some scenes were intended to be viewed in 2-D and that glasses should be worn throughout these scenes regardless. What results from this is a subtle transition into the three dimensional scenes and avoids becoming obtrusive or invasive. The 3-D effects only serve to enhance the already fantastic visual effects and never become overpowering or distracting. It was a wise approach to taking advantage of the 3-D format and it benefits the film greatly.

TRON: Legacy will appeal to audiences of all ages whether they’re familiar with the original film or looking for a film unlike anything they’ve experienced before. It’s relentless in its execution, barely stopping to take a breath. Audiences will be swiftly carried from one exciting scene to the next and will continue to be amazed by just how far it will push the senses. If you only see one film this holiday season, you won’t find a more dazzling and exciting adventure than TRON: Legacy.