Review: Tron: Legacy

18 12 2010

[Man, the way that title reads with the 2 colons makes me sound like a gigantic douchebag, doesn’t it?]

The worst possible thing that can happen to an average movie-goer is a tie between a loud and obnoxious guy in a flat bill hat and a group of snarky and pretentious teenagers that comment on every facet of the movie, especially when the movie is hilariously dumb. With that said, I would like to extend my apologies to everyone behind the first two rows of Auditorium 1 for Tron: Legacy at 10:20 PM. Hopefully you won’t happen across a movie containing two groups of snarky nerds at the same time again.

Tron: Legacy is so similar to most big budget Hollywood films that I’m not even sure that I should be reviewing it. The movie was visually stunning, occasionally exciting, and quietly interesting at various points of the movie, which ran about 2 hours. But all the fancy lights and gadgets in the world couldn’t stop me from realizing that this reboot sequel wasn’t anything more than a beautiful joke, and it couldn’t stop the first two rows of Auditorium 1 from annoying the crap out of everyone else in the theater for the entire movie.

The movie starts out with a quick rundown on the basis of the Tron world (Called ‘The Grid’) in the form of a bedtime story that Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), computer genius and creator of the video game Tron/ The Gird, to his son, Sam. After Kevin mysteriously disappears, Sam becomes withdrawn and angsty, just the way I like it. Fast forward 20 years or so, and we find that Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is a 27-year-old college dropout, living in a fancy dumpster apartment with his dog. He introduces himself to the audience by being a douche on a motorcycle and pulling a prank on his dad’s old business, ENCOM, which involves high-tech equipment and base jumping. That’s right, I said base jumping.

Anyways, Sam is told by Alan Bradley of a page coming from Kevin’s old arcade, and he goes out to investigate. Long exposition short, Sam gets zapped into The Grid, and goes on an adventure to rescue his father from The Grid, while also trying to prevent CLU, a program copy of Kevin, from escaping The Grid and wreaking havoc on the real world.

Before I get to the pet peeves from this movie, allow me to give credit where it’s due. The visuals of Tron: Legacy were just as good as advertised. It’s really amazing how pretty gun metal black and a bunch of florescent colors can look. With all of the crappy dialogue that flies around this movie (We’ll get to that later), it’s good to have at least five minutes of silence dedicated to looking at all the fancy scenery.

The action scenes in this movie were also fun to watch. There are around five scenes dedicated to (usually) Sam and Quorra (Olivia Wilde) getting into fights with a lot of evil programs controlled by CLU. While the disc wars (Otherwise known as High-Stakes Ultimate Frisbee), spaceship battles and turret scenes were all cool in their own special way, the highlight of the film was, obviously, the light cycle battles. The high-speeds and vibrant colors really were the best bits of eye-candy in the movie.

Unfortunately for me, and almost everyone else in the theater, Tron: Legacy really faltered once the characters started opening their mouths. Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn was about as predictable a lead character I’ve seen in quite a while. The angsty, bad boy/ playboy tendencies shown in the beginning of the film were almost a carbon copy of Bruce Wayne in the Batman movies, only the dialogue was, well, interesting. Some semi-specific answers include:

My dad’s either dead or chilling in Costa Rica. Possibly both.”

[Fighting his first disc battle] “I’m about to get dunked on.”

“This isn’t happening… Oh man, this is happening.”

And much, much more (Side note: There’s a good chance those first two quotes aren’t exact, but you get the idea.). It was essentially like watching Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars reboots, only a little bit worse. Outside of Hedlund, plenty of characters had their own cheesy lines to give, as well as some hilarious sound effects in the case of the evil programs (Especially the head program, whose angry growl sounds more like a purring cat). You can tell that the writers were just the opposite of quality. Which leads us to the saddest joke I’ve seen on the silver screen in a long time.

Jeff Bridges was bad. Jeff Bridges was embarrassing. Jeff Bridges was so awful, it was hilarious. My friends and I could have spent the entire movie making fun of Jeff Bridges. First of all, the young Kevin Flynn/ CLU, looked horribly out of place. It was like a character from The Polar Express or Beowulf found his way into a live-action movie and decided “Aw, f*ck it. I don’t look that different.” But despite the awfulness that was CGI Bridges, nothing could top the awesomely awful dialogue given to the real Kevin Flynn, in what can only be described as an horribly misplaced tribute to The Dude from The Big Lebowski and Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.

When Sam finds his father with the help of Quorra, he is meditating in a swirl of CGI cubes. From that point onward, he uses hippie phrases like “Touch the sky” and refers to Sam as “man” more often than “son”. He wears a robe that would make any Jedi proud, and provides a lot of wise words and superhuman powers for the remainder of the film. I knew that a lot of people were complaining that Bridges’ character was too similar to The Dude, but I really wasn’t expecting it to be as similar as it was. It was like a strange, acid induced dream.

Outside of the awful dialogue, the last stupid thing to note were strange parables to adventure epics that occurred all over the movie. I’ve already mentioned scenes that feel like they were ripped straight off of movies like Batman, The Big Lebowski, and Star Wars (Heads up: There are a lot of scenes that may have been taken right out of the George Lucas movies. Did George Lucas write this?) , and also movies in the same vein as The Lord of the Rings. The similarites, especially to Star Wars, became so ridiculous during the second half of the movie that I began wondering whether it was a strange tribute or blatant plagiarism.

By the end of the movie, which was also hilarious, it was quite obvious to me (And a lot of other people) that Tron: Legacy was nothing more than a two-hour long joke, albeit a visually stunning and hilarious one. From the opening exposition, in which CGI Bridges tried to look normal in the real world and failed miserably, to the final ten minutes, which were essentially a techno remake of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, Tron: Legacy never ceased to be anything more than a big punchline, especially to Jeff Bridges, who will hopefully gain some respect back from me when I see True Grit next weekend. Once again, I’m horribly sorry to everyone who was sitting in the same theater as me. It’s hard not to go Mystery Science Theater 3000 on something like that.

Final Grade: C




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