Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tron: Legacy (2010) Review:

In 1982, the mouse house released a film that I think not many at the time would have thought been possible. Tron (1982) was not only visually intriguing but also opened up the doors to new possibilities in film, involving computer generated images (CGI). Because of this, not only did it gain traction in becoming a cult classic but it also had a strong fan base that began to grow and demand that a sequel be made. I liked Tron, its visuals were great, it had a fair origins story and likable characters. However, I did not understand some of the characterizations, which led me to believe the writing was uneven. But I also did not mind if a sequel was to be made. So when fans found out the second Tron film would be hitting theaters in 2010, people were excited and why blame them.

The newly improved recognizer =O
This long awaited installment continues the story of the Flynn family but this time focuses on the son of Kevin Flynn. As I've stated in other reviews, stories the involve "passing the torch" to the next generation is risky. Everything must be picked out correctly so that no one from the original will be upset with various contents being left out or being changed. And for the most part, the continuity is fairly strong. I'm not saying it’s totally there though. I will get to this at the end.

But, throughout the movie, fans will get their fill of references that owe tribute to the first film. The director, Joseph Kosinski, even hints at another favorite Disney film of his own experience - The Black Hole (1979). Another thing that stood out was how Kosinski was able to revamp the whole world of Tron. Not only is everything slicker, but this universe in general now contains weather too. The entire direction is fascinating and that's just one part of the film. Wait till you see the vehicles. My favorite was the Recognizer. Originally in the first movie, they were big and bulky. Here they are just massive, almost terrifying.

As for characters go, it was great to see Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner back in their main roles. It's almost like they never left the set. Garrett Hedlund as the son of Kevin Flynn was not a bad choice either. Perhaps his acting could be improved a little; he did show emotion every now and then but for the most part he plays stone face. Making things more questionable was that the son of the villain (Edward Dillinger) from the first movie had a brief role as well. Will there be a use for him later? We will see.

Quorra (Wilde) & Sam (Hedlund)
Introducing Quorra (Olivia Wilde), was a nice touch because it gets very interesting as the movie ends. Not to mention, that she plays a strong female lead. Even the director of the first Tron (1982), Steven Lisberger, has a very, very, quick cameo which was fun to see. Another impressive aspect was the digital rendering of a younger Jeff Bridges as C.L.U. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the easiest thing to accomplish. Lastly, the character that I found the most mysterious was Rinzler. The character of Rinzler reminded me of Ray Park because of his acrobatic skills and flexibility. Funny thing is, it wasn't Park. The man behind the mask was Anis Cheurfa. Good job Cheurfa, you could have fooled me if they didn't credit you!

The last thing I found great about this sequel was Daft Punk's score to this film. It is certainly not like their usual electro-pop tunes but they did a great job at bringing out emotion when it was needed, tightening high tension scenes and making a reoccurring theme for the franchise. This also leads me to believe that any band, no matter what genre they place themselves in, can make a film score. Although maybe not as well received, Mastodon did the same for Jonah Hex (2010), which I enjoyed as well. This should become a trend because so far, it has worked well.

The couple of things I did want to point out that I don't think worked like they should, were the continuity and the story itself. The writers of this picture seem to leave various parts of the story left unresolved. For example, it was never explained to where Cindy Morgan's role went from the first movie, or for that matter, Barnard Hughes. Would it hurt for the writers to add a small explanation to why they weren't in the picture? Come on guys. And as for the story in general; yes it does work. But by the end, it feels like an entire set up for the third Tron film. Instead, there could have been some type of subplot that could give audiences something to look for and not just sit through 120 minutes for all the pieces to finally fall into order. That's just me though.

Tron: Legacy is well crafted with a good cast, mind boggling eye candy and an energetic score provided by Daft Punk. Now if only those screenwriters could match that kind of quality.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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