Review: 'Tron: Legacy' isn’t required viewing

Legacy is weakened by banal writing which manifests itself in everything from dialogue to breaches of logic in the narrative.

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Film: Tron: Legacy (3D) (U/A)
Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund
Rating: **1/2

Following Ed Dillinger’s ouster as CEO, Kevin Flynn takes Encom Corporation to a whole new level. Swearing that programming can better the human condition, Flynn mysteriously vanishes in 1989.

Sam Flynn (Hedlund) is a rebellious, irresponsible loner who has never really got over his father’s disappearance. After meeting Tron’s creator Alan Bradley (Boxleitner), Sam is whisked away to the grid which resembles a thriving subterranean megalopolis.

He encounters Clu who was created by his father in his own likeness. Being assigned by his maker to usher perfection into the grid, Clu does his job a little too well by purging out the mysterious free-will-manifesting ISO life forms that he perceived to be an aberration. This deplorable act causes a falling out between the program and his user. And ultimately Flynn is held captive within the system.

Since he acquired demiurgic might, Clu proves to be more formidable a foe than the dreaded Master Control Program. Sam is rescued from a sticky situation by his father’s protégé Quorra (Wilde) and he meets the reluctant old man and shakes him into pro-activism.

For fans of the original film, the grid may prove to be a cold, unfamiliar place. Gone are the blue and red circuit suits. In their stead, the revamped programs don sleek black bodysuits. But that’s the least of it.

The grid itself is a vibrant and advanced environment which completely shows up the animation of yesteryear. While there are some brilliant sequences like the gladiatorial match and the (quite literally) path-breaking Light Cycle sequence, the film is largely unsatisfying.

Legacy is weakened by banal writing which manifests itself in everything from dialogue to breaches of logic in the narrative. Hedlund isn’t the most dynamic leading man, but Bridges, as the elder Flynn who leads a hermit-like existence in the world he built, amusingly making him resemble the "Dude" Lebowski, is solid in his performance as an obsessed inventor who realises that whatever he had been looking for was right in front of him all along.

Wilde, playing the pixie-like ISO Quorra who longs to experience life as a human being, does a reasonably good job. Clu, who is the perpetually young version of Flynn (as seen in the 1980s) is pulled off considerably well by advanced CGI techniques. The effects, while breathtaking, make the film an overblown affair.

The film’s orchestral/electronic blended background score isn’t out of place. But be forewarned: the use of 3D is restricted to select sequences such as the Light Cycle battle, and not the film in its entirety.

Yes, the film is dazzling in patches, but beyond good special effects the film does little for you. Unfortunately there isn’t much convincing character and plot development to support the story apart from the token sentimentality that is raked up from time to time.

For those who haven’t experienced the first film, this one would be nearly unintelligible, but for those who cherish the first one, there are certain nostalgia-inducing references and allusions like the ‘End of Line Club’, but that’s where all familiarity ends. The eponymous character, for example, plays a near negligible role.

Ultimately, Tron: Legacy isn’t required viewing unlike its predecessor. Watch it if you want to. Going in with no expectations may help.
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