- Running time:
- 125 minutes
- Jeff Bridges -
- Kevin Flynn/Clu
- Garrett Hedlund -
- Sam Flynn
- Olivia Wilde -
- Bruce Boxleitner -
- Alan Bradley/Tron
- James Frain -
Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) hasn't seen his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges), since 1989, when the powerful computer tech businessman disappeared without a trace. Eleven years later, a mysterious signal lures Sam to Kevin’s rundown arcade, where the son follows his father into a parallel digital world known as the Grid. Sam’s adventures lead to Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a disciple of Kevin’s who facilitates a family reunion and helps in the fight against Kevin’s megalomaniacal alter-ego CLU 2.0 (also Bridges, with special effects technology making him looking over 20 years younger).
The buzz: The original “TRON” was a special effects landmark back in 1982 thanks to its extensive use of computer animation and effects. Even though it wasn’t a tremendous success critically or creatively, its influential cult following kept sequel chatter alive for years. It wasn’t until a 2008 Comic-Con presentation featuring test footage and an appearance by Bridges that the talk started to become reality. Now the goal for the feature debut of commercial director Joseph Kosinski is to create a box office frenzy that lives up to recent 3D mega-hits “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
The verdict: Sleek but not so sophisticated, “TRON: Legacy” arrives pre-programmed to deliver the visual goods without ever replicating genuine human emotions. On a pure design level, the movie is stunning. Without ever equaling “Avatar’s” awe-inspiring immersiveness, “TRON” still creates a uniquely inviting techno-world built from clean, cool uses of light and dark. It’s the perfect foundation for a series of strong action set-pieces including a dazzling motorcycle fight and epic bar brawl, further enhanced by Daft Punk’s dynamic and seamless original score.
Unfortunately, the movie isn’t satisfied luxuriating in sensory pleasures, it also aims to tell a meaningful father-son bonding story. Easier said than done with flat dialogue and emotional beats plucked from generic TV dramas, but the cast members do what they can. Although the faux-human look of CLU 2.0 is distractingly creepy, Bridges’ Flynn is a special effect all by himself. The great actor is relaxed and entirely natural in an unnatural environment, tossing off quirky one-liners and commanding the screen. Co-star Michael Sheen has fun with a flamboyant character part, while Wilde and Beau Garrett manage to make the key female characters alluring for more than just their looks. They all easily overshadow the colorless Hedlund, a problem since Sam is the story’s true central figure. So it goes in “TRON,” a movie with beautiful bells and whistles that’s hollow at the core.
Did you know? Despite the original “TRON’s” reputation as a breakthrough in visual effects, it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar in that category, which the filmmakers claim as a bias at the time against computer effects. That year’s impressive nominees were “E.T.,” “Blade Runner” and “Poltergeist.”
“TRON: Legacy” is also playing in select IMAX theaters. Find local showtimes here.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Tron: Legacy 3D in Reno.
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