Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.
TRON: Legacy was visually stunning but ultimately not very exciting due to a dull story and even duller actors.
Sam Flynn has grown up rich, but fatherless after the disappearance of Kevin Flynn, the man who revolutionized the gaming industry in the 80s. Leaving behind a multi-billion dollar company in Sam's name, no one has any idea where Kevin is and Sam has taken his money and done virtually nothing with his life. One evening, Kevin's old partner Alan gets a page from Kevin's old phone number. Sam goes to investigate and ends up inside the computer world where his father went decades earlier. Now Sam must do whatever he can to get his father out, before the 'person' Kevin created in his own image, Clu, takes his army and invades our world.
I wasn't that big a fan of the original Tron so I wasn't really sure why they needed to make a sequel. Were people really clamoring for it? On the other hand, I could see the wisdom in it... Here you'd have a movie with a built-in audience of people who loved the first one, and if you market it really well, it could be a great movie for the current generation. My fear however was that they would concentrate everything on the visuals and forget having a decent story. And that fear came to life. First off, the visuals were outstanding. This is the first movie since Avatar that really needs to be seen in 3D and if possible on the IMAX. The graphics are eye-popping throughout, and when they get into action sequences, it's like being on a ride at Disney World. Early in the movie, after Sam enters the virtual world, he is quickly entered into a life or death game where avatars are attacking each other with discs. The game takes place on multi-levels and if you get hit, you could easily die. Or in their case, sort of break up into little bits. Later in the movie there's the light cycle game, which is what most people remember about the first movie. But in this film it's taken to a whole new level. I could easily see this as a ride at an amusement part. And finally, towards the end, there's a chase scene/fighter plane fight that is equally as engaging. If you're only interested in special effects, this is definitely the movie to see. If you're looking for an even decent story, it's not worth it.
The story is virtually non-existent. Clu wants to enter the real world to take it over, yet how is he to know what would happen if he left the virtual world? How does he know anything will really work out there? And for someone who was built to create a perfect universe, why is killing people part of it? And that's pretty much the story. Clu wants to get out, so Sam and Kevin need to do everything they can to keep him in. Again, if you don't care about story, then it's not a big deal. But if you're looking for something to hold your hat on, there isn't much. Kind of like Avatar actually. And then there's the acting. To steal a line from a friend of mine, 'For a 3D movie, there was a lot of one-dimensional characters.' Garrett Hedlund, who played Sam, was about as wooden as an actor can be. He had almost no emotion and seemed to be reading his line from cue cards. Olivia Wilde added some eye candy, but she was also rather dull and kept in a body suit the entire time. Her character was born in the virtual world but had a strong interest in the real world, so she was more like a child than anything else. And Jeff Bridges, who I've never really liked as an actor, played a pseudo dual role in the film with the real actor playing Kevin, but a virtual Bridges, looking 30 years younger, playing Clu. It was very off-putting. The virtual Jeff Bridges was very cheesy looking and rather distracting. We still haven't gotten to a point in animation where we can fully replace actors because they still look fake. If all the other virtual characters had looked the same, I could have understood. But everyone else was played by a real actor so Clu looked even worse. They're close, but still not quite there. The one actor/character who stood out and actually looked like he was having some fun, was Michael Sheen as Castor, a club owner who may or may not be one of the good guys. He stole the show, as far as acting goes, and I was sad he was only in a small part of the movie.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought TRON: Legacy was one of those films that should be seen in 3D (and preferably in real IMAX) because it is a visually stunning film, but it's not a very good movie. Take it for what it is.