Weekend Review – “Tron: Legacy”

It took 28 years for this sequel to get made. The wait works well, both in terms of plot elements, and in the ability to hit that “Wow” factor in the effects.

Cast and Crew Information

Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn/Clu
Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn
Olivia Wilde as Quorra
Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley / Tron
James Frain as Jarvis
Beau Garrett as Gen
Michael Sheen as Castor
Anis Cheurfa as Rinzler
Serinda Swan as Siren #2

Screenplay by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who share story credit with Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski


After the original Tron, Kevin Flynn procreated and vanished. Now his son has the opportunity to find him.

High Point

This truly is a legacy to the original Tron. It captures much of the tone of the first, including the fact that the special effects break far more ground than the script. Every character is also thinking hard about the legacy he or she will leave behind. It’s thematically consistent from start to finish without losing subtlety. (I don’t think the word “legacy” is ever spoken aloud.)

Low Point

It took TWO DAYS to answer the page?

The Review

This is not original. It’s a sequel, and one that is very much consistent with the original, with a good injection of homages to the final sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey. You don’t need to have seen the original recently to understand it all, although there is one critical moment (involving a laser) which may be slightly confusing to the new fans. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects are excellent. There was a choice to use a combination of 2D (for the real world) and 3D (for the Grid) that harkens nicely back to The Wizard of Oz (1939). Injuries are impressive. The only aspect that seemed a little bit off was Clu’s face. I understand that programs wouldn’t age the way a human would, but a certain amount of flexibility was lost from the faces along with the signs of aging. As those are the only programs with that issue, it’s distracting. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is a little bit more involved than that of the original, but not a lot. Your five year old will not have a problem keeping up, at any rate. Aside from the low point, the logic holds, but the rest works. Even the low point is not so much a contradiction as an unanswered question. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is good. In fact, it’s more impressive than the original. Bridges and Boxleitner have kept working on their craft in the past 28 years, and the younger leads do their jobs nicely. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is very well done. As mentioned, there are references to the original, as well as Kurick’s work (including something I swear was a reference to A Clockwork Orange, but which involves spoilers and won’t be revealed in the body of the review) but these references feel natural, and do not prevent the filmmakers from creating their own look here, which evolves (or upgrades) that of the original. The editing works particularly well; unlike some recent movies, the action is easy to follow. The 3D effects are nice, particularly in contrast to the 2D scenes, but they never become the focus. This aspect was, perhaps, more impressive than the visual effects. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was good. The story was predictable enough to keep me off the edge of my seat, but it was still enjoyable. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid flick. Expect to enjoy it while watching, and then move on, and you’ll have fun. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Tron: Legacy receives 30 out of 42.

7 replies on “Weekend Review – “Tron: Legacy””

  1. I dunno man. I hated it. It reminded me too much of the Matrix sequels, with the hokey pseudo-philosophical jibberish and the nightclub scene with a pompous computer program with an accent. It felt like Jeff Bridges phoned it in most of the time. There wasn’t enough Bruce Boxleitner. I hated the way they made Tron a faceless goon. The pacing was bad. Sure the visuals were nice and the soundtrack was superb, but I feel it took itself a little too seriously.

    • The pacing was reminiscent of all of the 1970s sci-fi era, which was the same pacing used in the original Tron, which could be why I enjoyed it. As for the bit in the spoiler tags, that was my gut reaction from the trailers months ago, but by the time I got to the theatre, I realized the issue: if Tron were active and clear-headed, this situation never would have arisen in the first place. He’s like the Grid’s Superman. To return with a sequel this late with the good, old Tron would mean that the uprising and coup was more recent, in which case Kevin wouldn’t have been missing as long, Sam would have been part of the world for a while, and the entire movie changes gears dramatically. We’d need a completely different sequel, as this particular concept becomes unworkable.

  2. In regards to the lifelessness of the face, I think that was intended. I think the users and artificial life were supposed to be the ones with the most range.

    The problem I had was that the lighting wasn’t quite correct. At one point young Kevin Flynn looked almost like a puppet.

    Fun movie, I definitely enjoyed it.

    • That’s what I initially thought, but then they wouldn’t need to bleed or have markings to be recognized as Iso or User. Also, Castor, Jarvis, the Sirens, etc. showed no such stiffness. It didn’t work for me.

  3. I was getting Star Wars vibes the entire time.

    Lightsabers? Tron gets turned to the Red Side of the Force and then comes good at the last second to save the day? (All the while wearing a mask to hide his face) Flynn, an elder mystic guy wearing an Obi-wan robe. A hand getting cut off, and then fixed up good as new.

    Also if memory serves, when the laser disassembles you, your atoms are suspended in the beam until you come out. So if they took the entire ship + army through, it would have to be reconstructed from Sam’s atoms, and hence would be tiny and probably get eaten by a small dog.

    • Well, I got the impression from the scene from the scene in Kevin’s Mountain Retreat with Clu, and even, for that matter, with the earlier scenes with Quorra, that Clu just didn’t understand humans, and that Clu never underwent the same degree of parenting that Quorra received from Kevin.

      The movie is very much a story about parents and children. Clu and Quorra are both, essentially Kevin’s other kids. However, when Kevin created Clu in his image, as an adult, I don’t think he got that aside from being a Program and not necessarily human, Clu was, to a certain degree, a child, and everything he did was in some way to obtain his User’s love, something that shifted when he thought his User lost interest in him, and what he was told to do after the Iso’s came. With the ending confrontation I kept expecting Kevin to call Clu his son or Clu to call Kevin his father.

      With Kevin and Quorra, my interpretation is that Kevin realized almost everything that he’d done wrong with Clu, and how this had lead to the destruction of the Isos. His original goal, I suspect, was to put himself in exile until Clu was overthrown or a new champion like Tron came to the fore to make things right. Then he found Quorra. Here was a chance for him to make things right – the last of the Isos, alone, in need of help and companionship, and he adopted her.

      Now, this could make the Sam and Quorra relationship slightly squicky since this arguably makes them step-siblings, but it’s not in a genetic fashion, not in a legal fashion, and they weren’t raised together, so I’m cool with it.

  4. I really enjoyed this. I will say, though, that it had a much weaker story than the original TRON. Ironically, I think this is because they tried to pack so much more story into this one.

    In fact, my only real complaint about this one (aside from the fact that TRON wasn’t really in it at all), was that there was so much more it could have been. Basically they took the Generic Action Blockbuster framework and filled it in with great big piles of awesome — but because they were starting with the framework and not the story, we got dozens of elements that would have made the movie incredible if any of them been explored.

    That said, it was a Generic Action Blockbuster filled with great big piles of awesome, and filled successfully. I am satisfied.

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