Tron: Legacy looks sleek, glossy and twinkles in all the right places — and that’s even before Olivia Wilde comes into the picture. But for all the pretty visuals, I actually preferred the moments when no one spoke a word and the pulsating sounds of Daft Punk’s awesome score was left to dominate the soundtrack. But even then I just felt like I was watching a really expensive music video.
The film picks up almost 30 years after the original Tron, one of the first successful experiments in CGI. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund of Troy and Friday Night Lights) finds a secret passage into the arcade world of Tron, where his father (Jeff Bridges) has been trapped for the past twenty years. He’s the lone human life form (a “user” in their terms) in a world filled with programs. And they first thing they have him do is participate in a lethal frisbee showdown. Naturally, right? You quickly learn that things aren’t explained in Tron, they just happen.
The same can be said for the next development in the “plot,” a motorcycle battle that made me feel like I was watching someone play a high-resolution game of Snake. At least it gives Olivia Wilde an opportunity to inject herself into all the madness. That girl wears a crooked haircut better than I could have ever imagined. She’s a well-designed program who leads Sam to his father.
The film’s biblical themes are aplenty, but none of them are particularly compelling. It turns out the elder Flynn was betrayed by a Clu, a clone he created to help him develop the world of “the grid.” Clu leads a rebellion of the programs against their creator, thus exiling Flynn from society and locking him inside the grid. Get it? Clu is like Judas. Now, aren’t we clever?
This script is just plain embarrassing and the plot is so incomprehensible it makes Inception look like a cooking show. They should be just as ashamed about the X-Box caliber graphics on their reverse aged Bridges, especially considering what David Fincher was able to do with Benjamin Button two years ago. His face never moves with any sort of natural flow.
Hedlund, though the writers didn’t do him any favors, has no clue what tone he should be playing. He constantly wavers from cocky and sarcastic to somber and angst without any change in the mood of the story (if we must call it that). The majority of his lines are pathetic one-liners he utters to himself, and it’s impossible not to cringe when he delivers such gems as “now this is more like it” or “this can’t be good.” I’ve played real video games with more original writing — and I haven’t owned a game system since the original playstation.
He’s a good actor who’s surely going to be slapped with the “bad actor” tag, much like Hayden Christensen after the Star Wars prequels, because this will become all the general public remembers him by.
His father practices zen, wears a futuristic bathrobe and is an all-around righteous dude — if for no other reason than the fact he’s played by Jeff Bridges. His lines feel like a bunch of leftovers that didn’t make the cut for The Big Lebowski.
There’s really nothing left after the initial effect of the bright blue and orange lights against the slick black backdrop wears off. First-time director Joseph Kosinski is such a one-trick pony that every time a new character appears he uses the exact same shot of them slowly tilting their heads up. Even if they’re wearing a plain black mask. Seriously.
You can polish a turd, but in the end it’s still a turd. Tron: Legacy is just a really shiny one with a few neon streaks lighting up the toilet bowl.