One of my earliest cinema-going memories was seeing Tron in 1982. Already a burgeoning sci-fi fan, viewing its computer generated imagery was a dazzling spectacle for my nine year old imagination. It seemed I wasn’t the only one impressed as it went on to become one of the most influential films of all time. Despite howls of derision from critics saying CGI-reliant films would never work, Tron has had the last laugh with its sequel proving just as innovative as the one I saw seemingly a lifetime ago.
Twenty years after his disappearance, Kevin (Jeff Bridges) still haunts the dreams of his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund). When Kevin’s old friend Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) asks Sam to investigate some strange happenings in Kevin’s old computer arcade he accepts. While there he is suddenly transported to The Grid, a digital world where his father is trapped. Helped by soldier Quorra (Olivia Wilde), they attempt to escape and evade the deadly machinations of CLU 2 (a de-aged Jeff Bridges) a hacking program determined to keep them in the realms of cyberspace.
Although Tron’s visuals were stunning, to be honest its story was somewhat risible. It was essentially a children’s fabled dressed in techno-hardware. Tron: Legacy is more adult in approach with an involving story and striking look blending perfectly. Whilst this doesn’t always work – the pacing occasionally drags with too much exposition – for the most part Tron: Legacy is a wild ride whose scope is only limited by the writers’ imagination. Importantly it maintains the ‘wonder’ of its unique world whilst updating for modern audiences.
Chief to its success are great action sequences fully embracing its concept. Anything can suddenly happen – which it does – thereby keeping viewers on their toes. This is superbly highlighted by Daft Punk’s amazing synth-heavy soundtrack which enables Tron: Legacy’s cyber-scenery to come spectacularly to life. The actors manage to mostly withstand this sea of CGI effects to provide some good performances even if it’s unusual seeing an older Jeff Bridges going to battle against himself! Two of them means twice the acting gravitas of course with his co-stars gamely attempting to match his range.
Tron: Legacy is a more than passable sequel to a memorable film. It’ll be very interesting seeing how it travels in the following years and whether it carves out its own reputation in an industry reliant on the CGI wonder it bravely pioneered.
Movie Review Rating 7 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Tron: Legacy released in Australia on Thursday 16 December 2010.
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.