Greetings again from the darkness. My guess is that you either really want to see this movie or you have no interest at all. Either way, you are probably making the best decision. It’s been 28 years since Tron hit the big screen. It became kind of a geeky cult film and never totally fell off the face of those in movie land. Tron‘s special effects awed us and the story was a bit creepy … could a computer actually suck us into cyber-space (or whatever we called it then)? It was a time when computers were a bit mysterious. We knew they were powerful, but weren’t yet sure if the “experts” were good or bad. Maybe we still don’t know (hello Julian Assange)!
Usually sequels are met with lackadasical dread. Especially those 28 years later. However, the advancements in computer graphic technology gave this one a shot. The new film opens with Jeff Bridges‘ Kevin Flynn still lost on the grid, his old company in the hands of the greedy and not-so-nice, and his son living a bit of a reclusive, rebellious life.
The other familiar face to return is that of Bruce Boxleitner (Tron/Alan Bradley in the original), who tracks down Flynn’s son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) to inform him that he received a page from his dad’s old shop. Of course, Sam checks it out and stumbles onto dad’s old secret office/lab. Next thing we know, Sam is right there on the grid being drawn into gladitorial games of digital death. He is a very bright kid and quickly draws the attention of the ringmaster – CLU. CLU is also from the original, but has turned to the dark side and now has his sights set on world domination … REAL world domination. And of course, CLU tricked Sam into finding him to open the portal back to the real world.
Confused? None of that really matters. Not following the story details is almost expected. What really matters is the visuals! Light-cycles may be the coolest thing ever seen on screen. For all I know, this effect may have been the single driving force for the sequel. If that’s not enough, watching a 30 year old Jeff Bridges as CLU square off against a 60 year old Jeff Bridges as zen master Kevin Flynn certainly makes the film worthy of a couple of hours for me.
When Sam and Kevin are reunited, it’s thanks to Olivia Wilde as Quorra. She is not “real”, but Kevin has been her adopted parent so she is quite loyal and well schooled on all things human – especially Jules Verne! The other performance worth noting is that of Michael Sheen (who some now mistake as the real Tony Blair). Sheen, as Castor and Zuse, runs the bar/hang-out for CLU. Sheen certainly leaves nothing in his bag and the best way to describe his character is a glam rock cross between David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Mick Jagger. He is Ziggy Stardust with a greedy side. Pretty funny and clever. Also fun to note, the DJ’s in Zuse bar are actually Daft Punk, who are responsible for the thumping electronic techno soundtrack that adds its own stamp to the film.
Typically I wouldn’t have much to do with a movie that provides so little substance to the story, but that’s just not what this one is about. It provides a nice bookend to the original and is a statement on just how far special effects have come and also a glimpse into where things are headed. My guess is the effects won’t play so well on the average living room TV screen, so if you have any interest in this one, it’s probably best to catch it during the theatrical release.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you saw the original Tron and somehow remember it OR you want to see how special effects might replace actors in future films
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: True Grit has just the right amount of technology for your tastes OR you might get mad you didn’t ask Santa for a light-cycle