Thursday, 6 January 2011
Review - Tron: Legacy
After a gap of 28 years, Disney decided to take us back to the world of Tron and his blue comrades. But why? The original whilst achieving moderate box office success and critical praise when released in 1982 had confounded itself to life as a cult classic mentioned only in circles geeky enough not to fear ridicule. However, following test footage fashioned into a teaser trailer shown at a comic book convention the green light for a sequel was given. It seemed as much a financial exercise as a technical one.
The film sees Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his video-game developing father some 20 years earlier. A message from out of the blue leads him back to the his father's old video arcade where he stumbles upon more than just outdated Pong machines.
The world of Tron seems to act as a visual metaphor for the attitude of the big studios towards the modern blockbuster. The cold logic of "The Grid" and the many programmes that inhabit it produce a visually groundbreaking but dramatically turgid 2 hours. That is not to say the film is entirely without merit. The first third of the film is well constructed. It teases fans with knowing nods to the original and builds well to the arrival of Flynn Jnr in the virtual world. The Light Cycle sequence, the basis of the original teaser footage, is geniunely enthralling. The director, Joseph Kosinski, previously best known for his work on adverts for Halo 3 and Gears of War is clearly at home creating stunning but succint pieces of ocular candy. However, the film as a whole suffers from slow sequences in which flashing lights and CGI Jeff Bridges paper over the cracks of a lacklustre and hastily stitched together narrative.
Bridges does a decent job as the elder zen-like Flynn. Though it's hard not to imagine that it isn't The Dude having somehow found himself stuck in a hard drive. To be honest little attention is paid to the nuances of acting when $200m of graphic imagination is flying about the screen.
Fittingly for the subject material Tron: Legacy is much like finally buying a video game having read about it for months. Reading the back of the box on the bus home, flicking through the manual and eagerly awaiting the adventure it holds. Sadly after the initial excitement of the first couple of levels you've found that the game is really dragging and you are essentially smacking the same two buttons for the majority of the time as it plays out in a similar fashion to the games before it.