More Options

Review of Tron: Legacy

Voice in the Dark (theater)

LaRae Meadows

January 5, 2011

Chock full of glamour and lacking in substance, Tron: Legacy is all sizzle and no sausage.

A digital reunification of father and son may save two worlds—and a legacy. Tron: Legacy, the sequel to 1982’s Tron, imploded when an uninspiring plot was crushed under the weight of an unrelenting and desperate attempt to be visually interesting.

After Sam Flynn’s (Garrett Helund) father disappears, he is left to figure out the world on his own. That is until his father’s (Jeff Bridges) partner Alan Bradly (Bruce Boxleitner) gives Sam a sign that his father may still be alive. Following the clues found in his father’s old arcade, Sam finds his father and a whole new world.

Getting me—an abandoned child myself—to cry about family reunifications is easier than tying shoes. When the movie started, I thought I was in for an evening of tear-stained cheeks. That was not to be. I can’t remember caring less about the characters in a movie.

Garrett Helund did nothing to break through to me. His performance was shallow, boring, and unbelievably trite. He couldn’t be bothered to express any energy. No matter the circumstances of the story, he had all the emotional expression of a person taking their mid-night pee. I suspect it would have put him out to ask him to emote in front of the camera.

Jeff Bridges was even worse. Not only could he not act in this film, the effects used to make him look young in some of the scenes made him look like a clay-mation figure, a comical farce of himself. Bridges inability to make his mouth move naturally, compounded with the atrocious animation, made it impossible to watch without wishing someone would kill the character so he would not return on screen.

Screenwriters Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis did both Helund and Bridges a disservice by formulating a plot that neither offers nor asks for any emotional investment from the audience. The characters are distant, offering nothing to relate to, and unrealistically written. As I mentioned above, when Sam should be scared or confused or tired or happy, the character seems to be an emotional vacuum. The plot too shallow for even babies to drown in. Extraneous characters, motivations that make no sense, events that are mentioned and then not explained, and awkwardly placed comments leave the audience members scratching their heads.

Tron: Legacy absolutely, positively, and undoubtedly requires viewers to have seen the previous movie, Tron. Technically there is a complete plot for Tron: Legacy on its own—although it makes little sense in its own context. Few things chap my hide more than filmmakers mandating homework in order for me to see their movie. If I have to pay ten bucks to see a movie, it better be ten bucks’ worth of movie.

I suspect the only thing that kept moviegoers from leaving Tron: Legacy twenty minutes in were the visual effects (except for the awful one used to make Bridges look younger) and the skin-tight clothing. I admit, I wasn’t disappointed to have to watch good-looking people in tight light-up outfits. The scenes that take place “on the grid,” or inside the digital city, are sparkling and clean.

The fight scenes were exciting but only because of the interesting lighting and aforementioned tight clothing. The fight choreography itself, with the exception of one scene, is unexceptional. The fight scenes take place in an arena in which the characters play a game that, in essence, is death-match Frisbee. Frisbee is fun, but it is really hard to imagine it as a source of peril. Could you imagine how dangerous the beaches of California would be on a sunny day?

Tron: Legacy is a superficial experience that is as satisfying any other superficial experience. Chock full of glamour and lacking in substance, it is all sizzle and no sausage. I walked out of the theater two hours skinnier and hungry.

LaRae Meadows

LaRae Meadows is bent on investigating important topics, contorting herself to discover new views, and sharing her discoveries. Her dangerous lack of self-preservation makes writing on controversial topics fun for her. She has a background in legislative and policy advocacy for foster children in California and owns a small business.