Wednesday, January 26

Review: Tron Legacy

I think it's fair to say that when the original Tron was released in 1982, no-one would have ever imagined that it would get a sequel almost 30 years later. This was probably mostly due to the fact that the original Tron just wasn't all that good. It was a run-of the-mill action film, with a cool early turn by Jeff Bridged (of Big Lebowski fame) but not really much going for it otherwise. Well, except that it looked like this:

The premise of the movie was that it basically took place within an arcade game, and (as was to be expected) the nerds went absolutely crazy over it. What makes 2011 different from 1982 is that nerds now rule our shit. Smartphones have become musthaves, Apple has become trendy and the acne-ridden nerds of then are now edgy. So a sequel was devised out of an old cult movie that only a handful of  people remembered. And lo and behold: it's an improvement on all points.

A large part of that is due to the fact that Legacy isn't strictly a sequel so much as a remake. Which would probably have been the best way to go: the storyline of Tron was a bit of a mess anyway, and a direct sequel wouldn't have made it any easier on new viewers. The movie starts off with Kevin Flynn, the hacker-hero of the previous film, gone missing. Years later, when his son Sam is an adult, his old friend from the first film gets a page ("you still use a pager?") from Flynn with the phone number of his old office. When Sam goes out to investigate, he accidentally gets sucked up into "the Grid", a futuristic cyberspace where he finds his father imprisoned by the very software he wrote.

The story might sound a bit complex, but it's really not. This is, first and foremost, a visual movie, and it must be said: it looks downright fantastic.


The whole movie has a very clean, spacey feel to it, something scifi movies seems to have been snubbing lately. Which is a shame, because the movie is an absolute blast to look at. Add to this the awesome score by Daft Punk (who'd ever guessed these guys could actually compose?) and you've got an absolute killer in the appearance department. This is the kind of films it's actually worth going to the cinema for. The performances are also generally solid: Garrett Hedlund is a bit bland, but Jeff Bridges is just as good as you'd expect him to be, playing a sort of cyber-hippie who seems like a mix between a Randall Munroe and The Dude. Michael Sheen also pops up for a moment, and proceeds to go absolutely goddamn nuts. I'm not really sure what his characters is supposed to be, but the way he plays it (like David Bowie on speed) is so entertaining you won't really get hung up on the fact that he doesn't really matter for the plot.

The only real issue with the movie is that a lot of very interesting ideas are hinted at (especially in the beginning), but never really explored. A sequel seems almost unavoidable, however, so we'll see what Tron: Genealogy brings to the table. In the meantime, this is a solid piece of eyecandy that's exactly the kind of mindless fun you'd expect of it.


Ye know what's cooler then Daft Punk? Hot Chip.

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