The original Tron was a seminal part of growing up nerdy for me. I actually saw it in the the theater back in the day and loved the (to me, anyway) oh-so-cool visuals, music and jargon, and I still enjoy it today on DVD. Sure, its a little less impressive now that I actually know about computers and electronics (you could imagine my disappointment upon finding out what a Logic Probe actually does) but it’ll always have a special place in this nerd’s heart nonetheless. Minor spoilers ahead, though nothing too major.
Tron Legacy picks up a few years after the events of the first movie. Kevin Flynn is enjoying his “happy ever after” running Encom and spending time with his son, Sam. Kevin suddenly falls off the map and we catch up to Sam years later being a typical rebel wihout a cause, albeit one that is a 1337 hacker, rides motorcycles like a madman, and apparently does BASE jumping.
Sam gets a sign that leads him back to the “Flynn’s” arcade of the first movie where he finds his father’s secret lab and gets zapped into the Electronic World (now called The Grid) just like dear old dad.
I was disappointed with the look of The Grid, the exteriors looked like the real world with a neon coat of paint, and the Recognizers were a let down. I mean, sure, they were more ‘realistic’ but come on, did they really need to have jets? We’re inside a computer, people!
Unlike the original, Legacy dives right into the action. Sam has barely had enough time to get comfy in his new neon duds when he is tossed into a disc duel and a lightcycle battle. The vehicles (Recognizers nonwithstanding, yeah I know, I’ll let it go now) look more “Tron-like” than anything else and the action sequences are easily the highlight of the movie.
Sam soon escapes and finds Kevin with the aid of smexy program Quorra and they all race to escape The Grid and stop a nefarious plot from unfolding before the door to our world shuts again.
I thought Tron Legacy was a fun ride, the action sequences were exciting and visually breathtaking. There were plenty of clever in-jokes for geeks and for fans of the first movie. Some of the dialogue appeared to have been lifted word-for-word from the original, and the technical stuff made a bit more sense this time around. For example, in an early scene, a programmer stops a hack with the Unix kill command.
While there are some philosophical statements sprinkled throughout about free software and the pursuit of perfection, they play second fiddle to the action. I was a little disappointed in the climax which felt a bit ‘deus ex machina’ to me, but to be fair, so was the climax of the original.
I enjoyed Tron Legacy; much like the original, it isn’t going to win any awards for its story, but the acting is good and the visuals and music are great. I think other fans of the original will like it, but it’ll be a toss-up for newbies.
4 out of 5 Identity Discs.
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