(Now that a sequel to Tron after 28 long years of waiting is finally in theatres – what did you make of the expensive production? Make sure you leave your thoughts about the film, and even the reasons why you may not be seeing it, in the comments section!!! Tron Legacy: Success or Failure? We want to know!)
Tron Legacy must be the most indecisive film ever made. Not only has it taken nearly thirty years to follow the original Tron, but now it has finally surfaced it displays all the consistency of Frankenstein’s monster as it groaned under the weight of pastiche, mimicry, aspiration, nostalgia and just plain old theft.
The opening act is an exercise in looking as much like a Christopher Nolan film as possible. As an identikit Inception soundtrack booms deep bass into the faces of the audience, we are introduced to our protagonist: Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund).
Anyone who has seen the South Park Inception parody ‘Insheeption’ will be unable to keep a straight face for the opening scenes, as the dramatic score accompanies unwieldy exposition announcing that the infamous Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared from the world inexplicably, but not before winning control on Encom and declaring a bunch of bombastic ideas about a digital world that changes everything about how we live.
Luckily, Sam is soon sucked into ‘The Grid’ where he is bundled into the games. Intense, luminous graphics and the triumphant return of the light cycles and battle discs make for 15 minutes of high-octane fun that should have franchise fans and cynics alike on the edge of their seats with glee. Even acknowledging the debt to Nolan for the basic cinematography and the groundwork on the superb sound track, this segment is impressive.
Sadly, it is not long before lovely lovely Olivia Wilde bursts the bubble of fun and comes roaring in to begin the Matrix segment of the plot. Uniting father and son for the first time in years, the story fails to drum up any emotional tension before launching into a quasi-philosophical trope taking in the nature of the digital age, some crazy stuff about Kevin Flynn as ‘the maker’ and a Blade Runner-esque commentary on programmes as sentient life forms.
As these fragmented musings drag a plot lurching from one twist to another, we get an array of bizarre changes in tone paraded in front of us. The most obvious comes in the basic plot dynamic of Kevin Flynn versus his cyber alter-ego/personal creation Clu. This is the being that has adopted a CGI young Jeff Bridges face, and let me tell you that it looks awful. If you recall how superbly done the Winklevoss twins were in The Social Network, you will be bitterly disappointed at the rubbery, immobile visage of this poorly rendered man.
But even disregarding this basic effects fo-par in a world of immaculate production design, the good vs. evil standoff takes in more inconsistencies and plot holes than I could possibly name.
Add to this the campy element brought by Michael Sheen, who channels David Bowie in his bizarre portrayal of renowned and rebellious programme Castor/Zuse, and the occasional lapses of Jeff Bridges into ‘The Dude’ and you have a real mess of a plot.
The worst part for me is that, individually, all of these Frankenstein elements would have worked. I wouldn’t have minded a campy, fun Tron Legacy that channeled Blade Runner in a retro throwback that delighted in its own nostalgic glee. I wouldn’t have minded a dark and crazy Nolan derivation that delved into Matrix style musings on our increasing existence in cyberspace. Hell, I’d have loved an all-action romp on the light cycles that blasted pixels and bits out of the screen every ten seconds until I had a fit!
But sadly, every time one of these elements begins to take shape it is brutally crushed by the next in a queue of cinematic references and robberies that see ‘Tron Legacy’ fail to stamp the big screen with the imaginative flair that forced its predecessor (which also had its flaws, lest we forget) into the imagination of a generation.
I’m not saying don’t bother seeing it, because there’s still some fun to be had from the swaggering, fragmented plot, I’m just saying that we deserved much better after such a long wait…
Tron Legacy opens in the U.K. and U.S. on Dec. 17th
- 8 Actresses Who Tricked You Into Thinking You Saw Them Nude
- 11 Irresistible Movie Moments That Wore Out Your Pause Button
- 100 Things Wrong With The Dark Knight Rises [Video]
- 10 Scenes You Won't Believe You Missed in 2012
- 10 Most Infuriating Movie Cliffhangers
- 10 Major Plot Holes You Probably Missed
- 10 Happy Movie Endings That Probably Had Horrific Consequences
- 12 Ruthless Movie Villains Who Were Defeated By Complete Fools