Did you see the original Tron released by Disney in 1982? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. Hey, even Steven Lisberger (original creator of Tron videogame) wasn’t sure how he was going to get the concept into a movie, but lucky for us 80’s computer nerds, he teamed with a smart movie executive to give his creation life in motion picture form. The original was inventive, smart, and remarkably applicable to the computer terminology and concepts that pervaded the 80’s tech scene. The sequel, Tron Legacy, is a great expounding of the story and just a delightful 3D visual to boot. For all its technology, it displays humanity in much more abundance.
Being an old computer geek I loved the original, and when the ComicCon footage of the lightcycle solo match teaser for Tron Legacy hit the web two years ago — I was hooked. It jolted me, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up — I watched it repeatedly. Sadly that footage is not in the film (but can still be viewed HERE in High Definition), but it was an amazing teaser of the technology in use for this film. Stretching the bounds of how animation is filmed, special effects and CG rendered, and even live action sequences are shot – it manages to blaze a surreal and stirring playback for the eye.
Of course there are those who opt for 2D and the bells bangs and whistles of 3D become meaningless and the plot takes the foreground to any cool on screen Tron death matches. So here’s the story:
Tron Legacy picks up just a few years beyond where the original ended. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges — Iron Man) the young charismatic CEO has disappeared and left his loving son Sam, an idolizing 9 year old, to deal with the fallout of a missing CEO blamed for the hit the company’s stock takes when he disappears. Sam grows up smart but jaded on the belief that his father simply left him. Twenty years later, as the company Flynn presided over is prepared to make its next huge software release, elder Flynn’s internal creation, CLU prepares a major release of his own — a trip out of the digital realm and into our world. Sam is drawn into the computer world to help his dad fight CLU and restore the free society that he created. Unknown to Sam, inside the digital realm are remnants of his father’s greatest creation; a digital solution which could end disease, alter religious beliefs and change the world.
For all its glitz and electronica, what you really see in Legacy is humanity. The original just brushed on the concept of a functional life within the machine, Legacy gives it full vision. The seedy nightclub is just one example of details used that would appeal to humans (and check out Daft Punk on the wheels of steel in the club), not necessarily to computer programs (a lamp in a room, fake apples as decorations, major eccentricities in characters). Even the TRON battles evoked thoughts of a human desire for violence. In Legacy, the matches aren’t just watched by an evil overarching computer system — there are literally thousands of computer programs that show up to watch and cheer and rave — there’s something odd about that. Perhaps it was the filmmaker’s way of giving prudence to the concept of the character Quorra (Olivia Wilde — upcoming Cowboys & Aliens). She represents a unique and different type of program than anything Flynn has ever created, and her mannerisms, strength and nobility are both human and programmatic.
If you enjoyed the first film, you’ll love the second, 3D effects aside. If this is your first foray into the Tron world, you’ll be treated to a great storyline, and a stirring depiction of our humanity even when ensconced by some pretty amazing feats of filmdom with CG.
4 Stars Out Of Five
Tron Legacy is rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action, violence and brief mild language.