Fight Film Friday: TRON: Legacy

Posted: December 18, 2010 in fight film friday
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TRON: Legacy
USA, 2010
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Dystopia
127 minutes

Sam, the son of missing programmer Kevin Flynn, unwittingly finds his way into the world of TRON, where not all is right with the world his father built.

The sequel to the cult hit TRON, this story takes place more than twenty years after the events of the original film. It’s a passable sequel, although it feels as though only fans of the first movie will really walk away from this one with anything. There are numerous referenced lines, visuals, and other chatter that would be completely meaningless to those walking into the franchise for the first time. Still, whether working with the original or standing alone, the story is a pretty flat and predictable ride through a cyber-techno police state, with cliché heroes and villains, and a very typical character arc. Newer viewers will be bored with what’s presented while old fans will be demanding something more from the sequel. The actors do what  they can with the script, and kudos to Garrett Hedlund for his small injections of snarkiness to an otherwise bland hero. The material reaches high to inspire with lofty themes of free information and the dangers of too much control, but ultimately comes off as contrived, leaving the audience with only somewhat entertaining characters in a story as two-dimensional as the computer screens in the film.

Visually, TRON: Legacy is very impressive, updating the feel of the original with spiffy new CGI graphics. Granted, everything does take a sort of video game sheen to it, but that’s to be expected given the subject matter. However, the select use of neon lighting and high contrast shots results in a very dark film in some areas, making it very difficult to actually see the tension on screen, especially when watching it in 3D, which dims everything further. On the other hand, the sense of scope and wonder they bring to the artificial world is breathtaking, complemented by the driving beats of Daft Punk, who contributed the original score. Fans of the French music duo will quickly get their money’s worth from the movie, who lace their tracks under moment of low and high intensity alike. As a piece of pure aesthetics, this can be an incredible film for its stunning sense of style, but these things are ultimately brought down by the more mediocre aspects of the story and thematic elements.

The action is as digitized as you would expect to be, and then even moreso. However, unlike movies set in our world, the CGI explosions contribute to the overall flavor of the film, playing up the unrealism of the crash. The fights themselves, using both the signature lightdisc and more conventional weapons, are mostly a combination of digitally enhanced acrobatics and the sci-fi visual flair. The choreography is basic and executed decently by the non-stunt people, but it’s definitely not a highlight of the film. Overall, TRON: Legacy might be worth a watch for those familiar with the original, or those with an open mind about the universe it creates. It’s a generally fun ride through a different world, and will definitely appeal to at least a very select audience in theaters.

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