I’m hardly a movie critic, nor do we ever do movie reviews at Chip Chick, but Tron has become such an iconic movie for geeks over the past few decades, that after having seen its sequel Tron Legacy tonight, I feel compelled to talk about it.
***Warning: Some spoilers ahead***
It’s amazing how far movie magic, and in particular computer generated graphics have come in 28 years. Tron Legacy is a testimony to just that. Its visuals are beyond brilliant. The world of the “grid” has really grown up in Tron Legacy, and the amount of vivid details they’ve created for the movie will blow your mind. The environment and its objects and characters are so immersive, that it makes it forgivable that the story line could be so much better. We smell Oscars for the CG folks behind Tron Legacy. To that effect, if you don’t watch Tron Legacy in 3D, you’re not doing the film justice.
The original Tron is a cult classic, not just because of its cutting edge visuals for its time, but also because of its geeky culture references when it came to video games, programming, and what not. In Tron Legacy however, there really isn’t that much of that geekiness factor happening. Sure, you’re immersed in a digital world that will take your breath away, but the geek-influenced outside world of 2010 seems far away – and throughout the movie there are only a few references to today’s geek/tech culture. For example, in one scene, Sam catches his dad up on what he has been missing all these years. He tells his dad about wi-fi and how it wirelessly connects devices together. His dad responds by saying how he had thought of that idea back in ’85. Also, in one of the earlier scenes in the movie, Flynn’s corporation Encom has a meeting where they are about to unveil their OS 12 operating system. Here there are some references made to open source software but Encom refuses to give away their latest OS for free even if it is basically the same as the last version. Their justification is that OS 12 is more “secure” than its predecessor. Yeh, it’s a total play on Windows and Microsoft, and any half a geek with a brain will recognize the references. All in all, the geek level factor in Tron Legacy just isn’t as high as it was in the original, as a matter of fact, it’s almost disappointing. Tron Legacy is a more mainstream beast and we doubt that it will reach cult status like its predecessor did.
Furthermore, the story line behind Tron Legacy is weak in the way that it feels like it has basically been done before. Son reunites with dad, teams up to destroy the bad guy, and gets a new girlfriend in the process. Yawn. Also, Sam Flynn, Kevin Flynn’s son falls flat as a character. He’s a decent guy, with good looks and fast moves, but you don’t feel any real emotion for him. This is a shame because there was a lot of room for him to be a hero that people would want to relate too. Instead, Jeff Bridges outshines him as his old man, and so does his co-star Olivia Wilde to a certain extent.
But wait… remember that Tron Legacy trailer from Comicon 2009 that was floating around? It has gotten nearly 3 million views on YouTube alone. Well the whole scene from the trailer is not even in the movie! What the frak! Granted, there are similar scenes in the movie to it in concept, but this scene just isn’t there. Our guess is that they used a faux pas scene in order so that we’d be thrown off.
Yet despite the fact that we may have just ripped it apart, all in all, Tron Legacy is still an enjoyable experience and we do recommend going to see it, if only to marvel at the visuals and enjoy the ride.
Last but not least, in honor of its release. We’ve whipped out our old Tron-inspired video podcast intro for your perusal. Enjoy!