I’m actually old enough to remember when the first TRON movie came out, I never saw it in the theaters, but remember watching it when it came on television. Of course all I cared about then were the cool effects which were, at the time, groundbreaking. Then there was the video game which I spent hours and dozens of quarters on. The story didn’t mean that much to me, but the story itself was groundbreaking for it’s time also. The concept is one we’ve seen time and time again since the first TRON, with maybe the Matrix pulling off the idea of people living inside of a world that’s actually all code and bits as the best example. But the world of TRON Legacy comes a pretty close second to the execution of such a concept that the first movie pretty much originated.
Tron Legacy, at its heart, is basically the story of a son’s search for his father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the hero of the first film who created the world of living programs and users in the first place, who has been missing for two decades, and the fact that his father has been gone has left the son, Sam (Garret Hedlund) incomplete, even if he doesn’t know it. It’s not until he finally finds his father that Sam begins to understand who he is and what he’s truly capable of and is complete. Of course the father son relationship is the core of the movie but there’s more to it than that, as the two, along with Kora (Olivia Wilde), an ally of Kevin’s, try to stop C.L.U. from succeeding in his plan (which I won’t get into). C.L.U. (the bad guy whose played by a younger version of Bridges thanks to some CGI) was a creation of the elder Flynn, intended to make the digitized world a utopia, of course C.L.U.’s version of perfection and Flynn’s are entirely different.
The story itself is pretty straight forward and you really don’t need to see the first one to understand what happens in this installment. It’s pretty much laid out for you in the opening seconds of the movie and in flashbacks later on. I’ve heard and read commenting that so much more could’ve been done with the story and premise that this film presents. How it could’ve delved deeper into the subjects that it brings up, philosophically, religiously and scientifically. But it seems whenever films such as this try to take it to a deeper level, the same people who complain that there needs to be more depth are the first ones claiming that film is trying to be too deep. The Matrix trilogy comes to mind as an example of this. I think the story as it’s set is fine. Trying to add complexities to it would’ve threw the film off balance in my opinion.
And then there’s the visuals. How can I even come close to comparing this movie to its predecessor visually? Think of the original Tron as an Atari 2600 (those of you who aren’t old enough to remember those, look it up) and think of this film as an Xbox 360 or PS3. That pretty much sums it up. It’s beautiful to look at. I mean beautiful, more so than even Avatar. The colors are dazzling and would pop off the screen with or without 3D. Speaking of which, much like Avatar, I think the makers of the film had it in mind that the 3D would help tell the story visually instead of just adding cool things to look at as they fly by your head. And much like Avatar, if you must see this movie see it in 3D, and see it on the biggest screen you can for this film was made to be seen big.
Again, speaking of which I watched this on IMAX. It was my first time seeing a film in the IMAX format and while it was certainly nice, even awesome in parts, I wasn’t blown away by it. I’ve always heard that it’s an awe inspiring experience, that the screen almost envelopes you in its enormity. I don’t know about that. Maybe if you’re unfortunate enough to be sitting in the front rows (God help you if you do) it wasn’t this spectacular experience I thought it would be. I’m not complaining, mind you, just not floored by what I saw is all. It is very good, it’s big, and for movies like this, this format was made for it.
The visuals are big and the sound even bigger. The bass reflects felt like a kick to the chest a couple of times during the film. On this, IMAX is head and shoulders above the rest in its awesomeness. It also helps that the soundtrack to TRON Legacy helps make this movie what it is. Whoever had the idea to include Daft Punk in the creation of the score is a genius. The marriage of the visuals and the music is perfect, and is probably one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a while. The music just fits where it supposed to in each scene.
All in all, TRON Legacy, as a whole, may not be the best movie of the year, or even of the season for that matter, but visually and sonically you won’t be able to find anything better. It’s a good time and a lot more entertaining (provided you see it in a good theater) than a lot of what’s out there right now.