Movie Review: 'Tron: Legacy' as artificial as the virtual world it's set in

Dec 21, 2010

Hey, I'm Ryan Michaels, a 14-year-old writing movie reviews for Heritage Newspapers. I've been doing it for three years, and enjoy it a lot. Here's my review of "Tron: Legacy."

On paper, it doesn't make much sense. Who would willingly green light a $170 million sequel to a 1982 cult classic that failed at the box office?

Believe it or not, Disney has done exactly that, and the product is the latest souped-up blockbuster, "Tron: Legacy." The original featured Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer, Flynn, who accidentally became stuck literally inside one of his computer programs, called "The Grid." The program was visualized as a vast city with neon blue lights and deadly enemies that he had to fight to survive.

"Legacy" very much follows that basic plot outline, but instead casts Flynn's son, Sam, in the lead role, and the villain as a digital replica of Flynn's younger self, named Clu. Clu has some ridiculous plan to carry his million-strong army over into the real world, and it's Sam's job to try and stop the guy. Sam is also after his father Flynn, who supposedly has been stuck in the "Grid" for the last 20 years.

Where "Tron: Legacy" really shines, where you can tell the filmmakers poured every penny they could is "The Grid." They craft such a cold, vast, but-ultimately-beautiful world, and seeing that come to life is the movie's greatest achievement.

Director Joseph Kosinski crafts a lot of really cool action sequences that take full advantage of the unique environment they're set in -- a highlight being the awesome "light-cycle" chase sequence. Bottom line, the people who made this movie knew they had a really cool concept to toy with, and they often take advantage of precisely that.

Both Flynn and Clu are played by Jeff Bridges, once again, and it's pretty cool to see one of my longtime favorite actors in the lead role of a mega-blockbuster.

As Flynn, Bridges is solid, given what little he has to do. A recurring joke of the movie is that he'll use very "Dude"-like phrases, in reference to his role in the 1998 classic "The Big Lebowski."

His digitally de-aged performance as Clu, on the other hand, looks god-awful -- not because of any of Bridges' efforts, but because effects artists' attempt to make Bridges look like he was 40 makes him look clay-like, almost zombie-like. It's both a spectacularly bad and slightly disturbing goof-up. After all, if computers can suck the life out of one of Hollywood's most expressive, lively actors, what can't they mess up?



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