TRON:LEGACY is a visual miracle of modern filmmaking telling a deceptively simple story with panache and energy, reconnecting to its origin story 28 years later with mind-blowing imagery and a plot flawed by human imperfections, just like the digital world it depicts. Saying you’ve never seen anything like it is both true and false, since it bears strong and sometimes ironic resemblance to its 1982 progenitor film TRON yet demonstrates a stunning mastery of design and effects which make it iconically unique. Buckle up, programs, this game is on!
Heartache was the legacy left to young Sam Flynn when his father, genius programmer and ENCOM figurehead Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), disappeared in 1989. Now 27, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) still retains his majority stock holdings in this father’s software company but shows little hands-on interest in ENCOM save for his periodic cyber-hacking attacks against its runaway corporate greed: a son’s attempt to keep his father’s altruistic spirit alive. When Kevin’s former business partner Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) tells Sam he was paged by his father’s old office above Flynn’s Arcade, Sam investigates and unwittingly gets laser-digitized into the virtual world of Tron still running on Kevin’s private computer server. Now trapped on the other side of the screen, Sam is rescued by a program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) who aids him in finding and perhaps saving his father from the virtual reality he created but no longer controls.
A bold, audacious and fantastically believable vision, Joseph Kosinski and cast achieve top-end visual splendor and some admirable philosophical yearnings in this long-awaited sequel, though it remains to be seen if audiences’ hunger for future world speculation matches their digital desire for wall-smashing Light Cycle action on the game grid. There is definitely room for both in TRON:LEGACY which delivers on all these fronts, though on some more effectively than others. The superb, sublimely integrated original score by electronic duo Daft Punk adds sonic depth and emotional resonance to this 3D visual feast and earns a nomination as a top film score of 2010. Enjoy it for the spectacle and return to mine its more subtle depths which may get overlooked amid the epic IMAX hoopla.
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