Frankenreview: Tron Legacy

It's been 28 years since the last Tron film, enough time for movie reviewers to build up a healthy amount of indifference to its sequel, Tron Legacy. But some movie buffs enjoyed portions of the newest Tron. Let's find out who!

The general consensus on Tron Legacy, opening this week, is that the Joseph Kosinski-directed sci-fi fantasy film is visually and aurally rich, but emotionally empty. What did the critics think? Read on for six takes on Tron Legacy and the only time (promise) I'll put myself on a list with Roger Ebert.

Peter Debruge, Variety Visually light-years ahead of the 1982 original and yet strangely old-fashioned in the story department, "Tron: Legacy" plays like the world's most impressive screensaver - a flashy, fetishistic showcase of what bikes and bodysuits might look like in a future designed by renegade Apple employees. While 21st-century effects and a cutting-edge dance score make this a stunning virtual ride, the underlying concept feels as far-fetched as ever.

Owen Glieberman, Entertainment Weekly As long as it's engaged in light-hurling bouts of force, or motorcycle chases through a landscape so ominously enveloping it looks like Blade Runner after gentrification, TRON: Legacy is a catchy popcorn pleasure. The movie has a seductive, percolating, what's-old-is-new-again musical score by the French electronica duo Daft Punk, and for lengthy swatches of it I grooved on the look and the atmosphere. Joseph Kosinski's direction is just intriguing enough to leave you hoping that when Sam finally locates his father amid all those irradiated bytes and bits, the story will really take off.

Betsey Sharkey, LA Times

But with everything awash in all that lovely light, it's hard to feel that Sam, or anyone else for that matter, is in real jeopardy. And you wonder if the actors were blinded a bit too. They move through their paces with an OS X efficiency, but not nearly enough heart.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The artificial world is wonderfully well-rendered, building on the earlier film's ability to bring visual excitement to what must in reality, after all, be slim pickings: invisible ones and zeroes. I soon topped off on the thrill of watching Frisbees of light being hurled, but some of the chases and architectural details are effective simply because they use sites and spaces never seen. And the soundtrack by Daft Punk has such urgent electronic force that the visuals sometimes almost play as its accompaniment. It might not be safe to play this soundtrack in the car. The plot is another matter. It's a catastrophe, short-changing the characters and befuddling the audience.

Manohla Dargis, New York Times

The concluding showdown follows the usual action beats, a disappointingly generic turn, particularly given that voluptuous programs called the Sirens suggest that the screenwriters Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were out for more. Although the story pivots on Sam's search for his father, the power struggle between Kevin and Clu indicates that the writers, both veterans of the television show "Lost," were interested in creating a computer-world mythology in which users (humans) and the programs they have created play the roles once performed by gods and men.

Me, Kotaku

Tron: Legacy offers plenty of thrilling action, breathtaking people and places to gawk at, as well as a rock solid score from Daft Punk, but doesn't engage with a particularly meaty tale. Legacy delighted the eyes and ears, but its players were forgettable, disposable, shiny plastic things that you can't take your eyes off of.


Comments

    I liked it. As a guy who used to have childhood fantasies of living in such a world where you could be projected into a digial world, where the limit was your imagination, as well as liking a movie that was released years before I existed, and playing my fair share of TRON 2.0 and Armagetron advanced, I'd say I'm not disappointed in this movie.

    I guess some people didn't understand the gravity of the ISOs as they might think AI isn't such a big deal in this time, and the movie didn't really elaborate on that point. Some elaboration into the finer parts of the digital world would help it.

    One thing I didn't like though: Where did the bits go? :(

    I liked the movie but yea i agree the story was a bit lacking. But i will say something about the 3d. That was my first ever 3d movie and i doubt i will see another. It sucked. It nearly completly destroyed the movie for me cause it annoyed me having to wear the glases and it gave me a headache.

    I love stories, so it's a shame about the plot. But emotionally empty? Please. It's like every high horse reviewer wants "deep, meaningful characters they can relate to" in everything. Fuck relating to anything in a visual feast where its main appeal is an alien world like TRON's.
    /rage

      yeah they want film festival stuff.

      When the majority of the public is fine with lowest common denominator Television, so i'm not sure what the deal is.

      one of the many reason's i normally steer clear of the reviews. But i'm bored on the way home :(

    There's really only a spattering of action scenes and even less real drama, but it didn't matter. I was held captive by the ambiance, tied together with the special effects and one of the best sci-fi scores ever created.

    I think people are forgetting that the original is void of emotion, and hurried along far too quickly. Both of those qualms meet some level of resolve here, but don't expect that sterile feeling to have completely disappeared. Things may be forgettable, disposable and plastic, but I think these characteristics has a deserved place in the Tron universe - intentional or not.

    I loved this movie and am going to see it again tomorrow with some more friends. Visually it was beyond anything else in my eyes. Daft Punks score(which I am listening to right now) is amazing and adds so much more to the movie and in turn the visuals boost the feelings you get from the "digital" tunes of Daft Punk.

    Story wise. Was it the greatest, Nah. What it good enough, yes. Sure it was a big budget picture and I guess they could've done a bit more but considering they shot it in 63 days and the rest of this time has been CGI work clearly they were tight on time. I'd reccomend this movie to anyone.

    Because I'm greedy I do want a third.

    Visual - 10
    Sound - 10
    Story - 7

    I kept telling myself this movie was gonna suck, but I was definitely surprised that it was not bad in the slightest. The visual was so good, so gripping. It's like you're seeing some fantastic place that you don't ever want to LEAVE. The minimalism helped a lot as well, it just had a really pleasing style.

    Story-wise it's not gonna win an Oscar for sure. But who cares? It's an effin PG-rated family movie for crisp's sake! Sam wants to find his dad, went to a fantastic world, met some quirky people, have a blast with disc fight and lightcycles and had a teary moment towards the end. I was surprised at the lack of 'cheese' moments in the movie actually.

    Music wise, it's Daft Punk, I think that's testament for it enough.

    In short, I LOVE this movie. And to those who hate the 3D for reasons other than getting dizzy, puh-lease. I'll take this subtle 3D over gimmicky Shrek-3D anyday.

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