The original Tron that released in 1982 was a path-breaking, visually stunning film that has acquired cult status over the years, and a legacy of fans who have waited patiently for a sequel that would take them back into Kevin Flynn’s digital universe. The computer effects in that film were remarkable for their time, but appear dated now. And it doesn’t help that they were used to tell a rather clunky story to begin with.
Tron: Legacy, that much anticipated sequel, is an eye-popping marvel of computer effects. But 30 years from now, there’s a good chance it’ll look just as dated as the earlier film. Because they still couldn’t fix the plot!
The new film opens with 27-year-old Sam Flynn (played by Garrett Hedlund) going in search of his father, computer genius Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges), who has been missing for many years. Turns out Papa Flynn is trapped in the Grid, that artificial world he designed. When Sam finds his way into the Grid, Flynns Sr & Jr must work together to take down Clu, Kevin’s digital duplicate who’s gone rogue and has taken over the virtual universe.
The premise itself is over-simplistic and the characters uniformly one-dimensional; yet the film’s dialogue is convoluted and incomprehensible, and packs so much jargon about the digital landscape that there are times you wish you were equipped with a guide-book while watching this film.
What keeps you glued to your seat, expectedly, is the film’s extraordinary visual design. Many familiar elements from the earlier film – those light cycles, glowing Frisbees and solar sails – return in sleeker, more stylish upgrades; and the action scenes are jaw-dropping. A light-cycle chase in the first half is one of the film’s fanciest highlights, as is a futuristic fight sequence in a floating virtual arena.
But Tron Legacy‘s biggest success is its use of 3D. The only film since last year’s Avatar to use the extra dimension with the objective of providing a wholesome, immersive experience, Legacy scores over the dozens of 3D rush-jobs like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender that exploited the technology only for its gimmick value.
I’m going with a generous three out of five for Tron: Legacy. It’s a light-and-sound show like nothing seen before, but if it were much shorter, it might have worked better as a music video!