TRON LEGACY (Joseph Kosinski)
It has been about three decades since the first TRON came out in theatres; I just saw it some couple months ago for the first time, and it got me excited about the sequel.
Last night I saw TRON LEGACY alone, surrounded by some 20 people in a cinema that seats 300, a month after its first showing, and all my expectations were met. TRON LEGACY delivers the goods.
TRON LEGACY picks up 20 years later, with a short premise informing the audience that Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) already has a young son. Shortly thereafter Flynn goes off to work, and that is the last time anyone ever heard of him.
Present day. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is a rebellious, adrenaline junkie on a mission to make a statement at ENCOM, the company of which he is a major stockholder. He rides his Ducati at full speed, and cops are all over his tail. The ensuing chase sequence set to the tune of Daft Punk's electric house soundtrack is arresting.
Meanwhile, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), Kevin Flynn's business associate and a father figure to Sam informs him that a strange call came from Flynn's old arcade. Sam reluctantly checks it out, and voila we are barraged with rocking themes by Journey and Eurythmics as a reminder of the 80s period in which the first film was set.
Just seeing all those beautiful vintage arcade games and the recreated arcade set is thrilling, especially for those who loved the first film like me.
Sam noses around and suddenly he gets warped to The Grid. He gets involved in the dangerous sport involving those "light rings" only to be exposed as a "user". He faces the leader of The Grid, CLU (also played by Jeff Bridges) whom Sam mistakes for his father at first.
Pitted in another dangerous race game, Sam is rescued by Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and taken to the real Kevin Flynn who is imprisoned in the digital world.
The movie then revolves around the three trying to escape and CLU desperately trying to enter the human world.
In the visual effects department, nothing can be said. All sorts of dazzle and spectacle have been dished in front of your eyes. The game world is breathtakingly near reality, almost close to the touch. The set construction is impressive. The races are all worth-watching.
The soundtrack by Daft Punk booms throughout the film. The French music duo even appears as DJs in a club run by Michael Sheen, who plays Castor, a duplicitous character.
Basically a rehash of the original TRON's story, TRON LEGACY succeeds as a worthy sequel only because of the dazzling audio visual effects, and the need to just give a conclusion. The story of LEGACY isn't commendably original, but at least it wasn't NARNIA 3 which was reportedly so alienating if it wasn't for Georgie Henley who plays Lucy, it could have been as well another movie.
Jeff Bridges still got it. He is most effective playing CLU, Flynn's digital alter-ego, but when he is Kevin Flynn he sure does know how to make an entrance. Move over, X-MEN.
The ending of the film is genuinely heartfelt;. as Sam and Quorra thread on, a piece of the digital world is preserved, and Kevin Flynn's dream may be realized after all.
Yet another implication of the man VS technology paradox, TRON LEGACY makes us realize that technology is neither good or bad; it's in how we use it, although sometimes shit does happen despite the best intentions.
Oh, and the TRON character from which the title stems from gets a fresh reboot: new look, and surprising character twist.