At the time, the original ‘Tron’ was a relatively fantastic visual achievement. It was 1982 after all. Nearly thirty years later, that story is revisited, picking up some time after the original events. This revisitation is known as ‘Tron: Legacy.’

It has been twenty years since anyone has heard from Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) the CEO of ENCOM International, a massive software company. His son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) has no interest in the company. ENCOM executive Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) visits Sam and tells him to explore Flynn’s abandoned arcade. Sam quickly discovers his fathers laboratory and is sent into the Grid, the virtual reality world created by the senior Flynn.

After a few minutes, Sam is captured and forced to compete for his life in arenas. After he is identified as a User, he is taken to CLU, the Grid’s ruler which is physically based on a younger version of Kevin. Before any harm can befall him, Sam is rescued by Quorra (Olivia Wilde). She turns out to be the apprentice to Kevin who lives in solitude outside the confines of the CLU’s reach. The reunion isn’t under ideal circumstances, though. Sam was lured into the Grid by CLU so the pathway between the worlds would be open and CLU could unleash a swarm of nastiness upon the real world.

How to stop this from happening?

Right off the bat, the film starts cheating thanks to technology. The film opens with a flashback to 1989. Jeff Bridges is 61. They turn back the clock on the actor by computer animating his face to make him look younger. It’s awkward, on par with a close up in a video game cut scene. Actually, there is a lot of computer-animated young Jeff Bridges throughout. It makes a bit more sense in later scenes, but it’s hard to get past how stiff and lifeless it looks at times.

Daft Punk not only crafted the music for the film, but they also briefly appear. They are so useful, when people are being attacked while they are playing music at an upscale shindig, they make the bold choice to change the song to suit the melee. It’s strange little decisions by director Joseph Kosinski that make you wonder every so often, ‘why did we need this little flourish?’ Most of the time, it’s probably an attempt to be cool, but many of these just aren’t cool. What is effective works as it does with most big budget popcorn flicks. The absolutely ideal way to see the film is in theaters or on a Blu Ray disc on a huge 1080p television as there is a lot of eye candy going on. It’s an understatement to say that technology has come a long way over the last few decades.

The story itself isn’t anything that will shock you. Things happen in a structured way that is commonplace with crowd-pleasing summer blockbusters. The ebbs and flows of up and down, action and exposition is note for note what you would probably expect. That isn’t to say that it’s completely unsatisfying, because it certainly isn’t.

As the rating indicates, the violence is highly stylized and in true Disney fashion, is acceptable for the whole family. In fact, once you get down to it, there are only a few reasonably extended action sequences with a few very abrupt ones mixed in. A lot of the run time is devoted to CLU scowling and Kevin apologizing to Sam for not being there.

Hedlund is predictably vanilla as the lead. Not a good thing. Bridges as Kevin Flynn is very good but as CLU, his likeness has been addressed already. Olivia Wilde is a real treat to watch. It’s also nice to see Bruce Boxleitner again after all these years.

Special features on the one disc edition includes: a look at the Disney XD ‘Tron: Uprising’ animated series, the visualization of the movie and the cast talks about their experiences.

‘Tron Legacy’ isn’t the most necessary movie in the world. On the bright side, at least it isn’t a remake and it builds upon the already established story of the original. It’s just trying to reach a new generation of movie-watchers through something that is already established. That’s a decent thing for younger viewers and some ‘Tron’ fanatics. Many of them won’t be excited about this, though. As a neutral observer, it’s an alright, but ultimately forgettable experience.

Rated PG                  126 minutes           2011

This post was written by:

J.J. Ellis – When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!

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