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Review – Tron: Legacy

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Tron LegacyIt’s been months of anticipation leading up to my viewing last night of Tron: Legacy.  I decided to opt for the late showing in 3D fully expecting a pack theater and probably immature and rowdy crowd.  Instead, I had a subdued viewing audience and a theater that was mostly empty.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by numerous folks the movie picks up 20 years after the original cult hit.  It’s updated for a digital age, but at the same time doesn’t quite blow our minds with the possible, instead reveling on how integrated offline and online society has become.  The movie hopes to be philosophical like the Matrix about the mixing of digital and physical but instead is a cheap knock-off of Star Wars.

Jeff Bridges picks up his role of Kevin Flynn and digital alter-ego of Clu using some technology in an attempt to de-age the actor.  At times it works, but even Kosinkski says the scenes with the digitally enhanced Bridges were hit and miss.  Garrett Hedlund plays Bridge’s son Sam who’s be adrift since his father’s disappearance and accidentally winds up in the same digital world.  He’s not bad giving a head strong and at time skeptical performance but nothing blows me away.  Olivia Wilde rounds up the main three characters and she plays a clueless program quite well.  But lets be realistic she could stand on screen and do nothing and I’d be fine with her (so, so sexy).

In the second tier of characters, there’s few and far between but the great Michael Sheen is drastically underused and is given a pithy part instead of being the over the top showman he should have been.

The 3D was understated and really enhanced the film.  Wasn’t it vital, but it added some depth (no I don’t mean it in a pun sort of way).  Scenes were deeper but there wasn’t over the top “objects flying at you moments.”  It’s used well, but not a main draw.

Overall the movie was entertaining.  Not original at all and clearly an attempt to build a franchise for Disney, the movie is worth the $10, but soon after you’ll quickly forget what you watched.

Direction: Kosinski handles the fast paced and quiet moments quite well and the digital world doesn’t come off as that.  It instead feels like a really world with sets instead of green screens.  None of the acting is amazing and there’s only a few moments that I wondered why something was included.  The movies flows and keeps pace, and that’s about it.  I do have to respect a director who recognizes a movie’s flaw and readily addresses them in interviews.  For that Kosinski earns my respect.

Acting: All the players are entertaining enough.  We’re not talking Oscar performances and Bridge’s Flynn comes off as a bit annoying at times with his pot smoking/hippy tendencies.  Hedlund is ok, but somewhat forgettable.  Wilde plays her computer program quite well though, and her doe eyes and clueless blank face comes off quite appropriate.  None of the acting is amazing, but none is really distracting either.

Plot: The plot is where I have issues.  Bridge’s Flynn comes off as Obi-Wan with Hedlund filling the Luke Skywalker role.  The story touches on technology, information and data and how it can free a world, but instead of a deep philosophical debate on these topics like the Matrix, we’re given glossed over Cliff’s Notes.  The movie could have been topical and instead is clearly dumb down for the kids.  It is possible to achieve both of these paths in one movie.  Also, we live in a digital age.  Why hasn’t this digital world reached out to the real world in any way?  There’s a lot of plot holes that baffled me.

Overall: The movie is the bridge between a cult classic and what’s clearly being set up as a franchise.  And it comes off as I’d expect, pretty empty, no depth, visually impressive and entertaining in the end.  This was two hours of turning off my brain, and that’s all I wanted.  It achieves it’s goal and only the future will tell where it all goes from here.

Grade: C+

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