TRON LEGACY [2010] review

December 17, 2010 · Print This Article

TRON LEGACY is a horribly boring movie.   I have never seen a movie with more exposition than this one.  It really felt like the movie was 70% exposition, bookended by two action scenes, of which only the one in the beginning was worth putting on screen.  I watched TRON [1982] recently to get educated on the TRON universe.  I liked that movie, but really could tell that 2010 special effects would greatly enhance that world.  Now, I feel like that is not true.  2010 special effects were sometimes awesome to look at, but also sterilized that same world.  Lower your expectations greatly if you have not yet seen TRON LEGACY and were stoked by the first movie and the potential for what a modern sequel could be.

The character of Sam Flynn, the son of the original Flynn from TRON, creator of the grid, etc., has none of the charisma that Flynn senior had in the first movie.  That same Flynn senior, played again by Jeff Bridges, is in TRON LEGACY and seems like an actor not really wanting to be there, or not really knowing what to do with junk material.  Sam Flynn played by Garrett Hedlund was a horribly wooden performance (to my HORROR I see he is cast to play Dean Moriarty in ON THE ROAD, no way he can pull that off).

Due to the poor performances in part, I did not care at all about a single character.  I had no personal connection to them.  Also, there was no real sense of being trapped in the grid.  No real sense of danger as I guess modern CGI removes from most movies.  The world was also really dark, you could hardly see anything.  The original TRON was well lit.

Here is an example of the inferiority of TRON LEGACY as compared to TRON:  In both movies the respective Flynn is digitized into the grid and immediately sorted and told to be in the “games.”  In TRON you meet some of the other people (programs actually) who have played the game, and can see the fear and dread on their faces at having to play again.  That tells the audience there is real danger.  Flynn is given some tips on how to play and told he would be giving training (though I do not recall ever seeing that scene).  He also is shown in his small room waiting, which builds up the tension.

In contrast, TRON LEGACY immediately puts its Flynn into the games, giving the viewer no chance to appreciate or understand the danger involved.  It attempts to do this by having Flynn’s opponent show off with moves from the Matrix.  Then Flynn fumbles around with his disc to show that he is just learning.  Throughout all of this, there is no sense of danger because Flynn is totally glib, the plague of the modern action hero.  For sure, 80s action heroes had glib one-liners, but that was at the end of some serious bad-ass action.  00s actions heroes are glib from beginning to end.  I never felt that Flynn was in any danger because he was always goofing off.

I also felt there was no time to just enjoy being in the world of the grid.  Despite massive, massive exposition, I am talking so much exposition that it makes the infamous Architect scene in MATRIX RELOADED seem like a one-minute school boy book report, most of this talking is constricted to two locations.  At Flynn senior’s hideaway (in a direct line of sight from his enemy’s abode no less!) they literally just sit around waiting doing nothing.  Flynn senior as a hippie does not mix with the super high tech world of the grid at all.  It was just another preposterous and out of place element of the film.

I thought Olivia Wilde looked stunning in the trailers, with her large, bright eyes.  I imagined a prettier version of Trinity.  Well, that lasted for only a few minutes before it was revealed she is a type of being that has the personality of a young child, thus neutralizing her beauty and appeal.

The much anticipated light cycle action sequence?  It was pretty good, and looked awesome, but I could not tell much of what was going on.  Since I had no connection at all to Flynn junior or the others on his team, their de-resolutions had no meaning to me.  Of course Flynn was glib as hell through all of this instead of thinking, “holy shlazzle I am in a grid world on some motorcycle that spits a deadly light wall and all kinds of people are trying to de-res me, whatever that means.”

After the marathon of exposition and nothingness in the middle two thirds of the movie, the end we get is preposterous and nonsensical to the max.  The actions of Flynn senior are totally random and not necessary.  The final battles steal way too many visual elements from Star Wars, compounding all the other stylistic queues stolen from the Matrix earlier.

I have to share one line from the movie toward the end, that was amazingly unintentionally funny.  I can assure you this spoils nothing.  Flynn junior says to a character, “You were right.” (already a cliche bit of dialogue).  The other characters replies, “About what?”  Flynn junior, “Everything,” and then just walks away.  Ha!  I guess it was good for that character to know she/he was right about everything!  Just a final laughable exclamation point on the most disappointing movie I have seen in a long time.

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