New Release Spotlight: Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language

Ever since the original Tron debuted in 1982, diehard fans of the cult classic have been wishing and hoping for a sequel. For years, there had been chatter at Disney to make a sequel, possibly even doing it through Pixar. It wasn’t until almost 25 years later that Disney finally gave the greenlight by hiring screenwriters. Then, in 2008 at the annual San Diego Comic-Con, Disney and first-time feature director Joseph Kosinski unveiled a visual effects concept test, revealing the updated world of Tron that would be the basis for the upcoming movie. Fanboys everywhere exploded in excitement, especially with the reveal that Jeff Bridges would return as Kevin Flynn. Now, the long awaited sequel is available on VUDU to own and to rent in SD, HD, and HDX! Tron: Legacy is available to own and rent in both 2D and 3D versions.

In Tron: Legacy, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) has all but given up hope of finding his father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who has been missing for 20 years. With his father gone, Sam is the majority shareholder in his father’s company, ENCOM. Dissatisfied with how ENCOM operates, he continuously pulls pranks on his company, hoping to reinstill the values and the way his father wanted to do things. When his father’s former business partner Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) tells Sam he’s received word his father might be back, Sam goes to his father’s old arcade to investigate. When he arrives, he finds a secret door leading to his father’s computer lab. When he attempts to access his father’s workstation, a “quantum teleportation” laser takes Sam into the digital world of The Grid. There, he meets Clu (Jeff Bridges), a digital program created in his father’s likeness that has taken over control of The Grid. Clu forces Sam to play deadly games to show his superiority over Users. With the help of Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a program, he escapes and is reunited with his father who has been trapped there all this time. Now, Sam, Kevin, and Quorra, must fight against Clu and his army of programs to return to the real world before the portal that brought Sam to The Grid closes.

Tron: Legacy has a sleek and stylized visual style that has never been seen before. The world of The Grid is truly remarkable. Not many films can make the claim that they have something that has never been seen before, but Tron: Legacy can proudly be added to that short list. It is a vastly superior look to what was seen in the original Tron movie. While the visual quality is a vast upgrade, however, it still honors and stays true to the original design of Tron. Admittedly, the de-aging techniques used to make Jeff Bridges look 20 years younger for his Clu character don’t always seem to work, but on a whole, the visual effects team did an amazing job to accomplish this feat. Once you get into the rhythm and pace of the movie and let yourself get absorbed by it, though, you won’t even think about it when you see it.

One of the real highlights of Tron: Legacy is the electronic synthpop soundtrack provided by music duo Daft Punk. It fits perfectly into the digital world of Tron and gets the adrenaline pumping during all the highly-stylized action sequences. There are definitely influences in their work from other classics of the science fiction genre. In particular, there seems to be some homages to the soundtrack work from Vangelis in Blade Runner. When news was made that Daft Punk would be providing the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy, fans immediately approved, knowing that Daft Punk’s style would mesh perfectly with Tron’s world. The soundtrack is indeed electrifying and becomes an instant classic.

Tron: Legacy is an excellent follow up to the original, and not just another flash-in-the-pan overdue sequel. It has all the elements of the original Tron which is sure to excite all the fans who have been waiting patiently for more Tron all these years. Disney did a great job by hiring the people they did, rather than doing a rush job just to get something out there. After years of pre-production, countless visual effects tests, 64-days of shooting, and 68 weeks of post-production on the visual effects, Disney made sure they put out the best possible sequel they could, and the $170 million box office showed their results paid off. Here’s hoping that it isn’t another 20+ years before we get another sequel.

DID YOU KNOW?

The future of the Tron franchise is bright. In the summer of 2012, Disney will premiere an animated series set between Tron and Tron: Legacy called “Tron: Uprising” on their Disney XD channel. As well, seeds for a third Tron movie were set up (somewhat) in Tron: Legacy by introducing Edward Dillinger, Jr. (an uncredited Cillian Murphy). Fans of the original Tron will remember that Edward Dillinger, Sr. (David Warner) was the villain, setting up Dillinger, Jr. to be the potential villain in a third installment of the film series.