“TRON: Legacy” (2010)
The original music from Daft Punk, which magnificently combines the pounding adrenaline rush reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s scores for “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” and the techno synthesizer rhythms of the ’80s, is not only the best part of “TRON: Legacy” but arguably IS “TRON: Legacy.” The movie, directed by Joseph Kosinski, is a triumph in sound and visual design, a movie rightfully playing to the pleasures of the eyes and ears more than the mind.
The digital world Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) enters to find his father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who disappeared inside for 20 years, is shimmering in glossy blacks lined with neon-colored lights. It’s sleek, sharp and has an electronic liquid texture from the programs’ suits and helmets to the path of light a zooming lifecycle leaves in its wake during an exhilarating duel. It is a world wonderfully rendered with the use of CGI and great style, and the movie is clever in the way it sucks you in.
At the movie’s opening, a message appears on the screen stating how some portions of the film are deliberately presented in 2D. Now just as you might be thinking, “Well, what does that mean?” you’ll know exactly when to use the 3D glasses. The opening and closing sequences take place outside the digital world. Enter the world, put your glasses on. Otherwise, leave them off. It’s simple and a totally innovative way to use the technology along with a smart way to get the audience to feel like they themselves have been plugged in. The dimness of 3D is actually an advantage when viewing the digital world because blacks become darker and the neon colors pop more creating even more contrast. It works to wonderful effect.
Jeff Bridges plays two characters who are essentially the same man: one is Kevin Flynn while the other is Clu, the digital version of himself he created in order to assist him in expanding his virtual frontier. Clu, however, doesn’t age and is a much younger Jeff Bridges. Seeing him is a blast from the past compared to when we’re introduced to the haggard and grey Jeff Bridges we know today who we’ll soon be seeing in “True Grit.” The motion capture technology used to make Bridges look younger is convincing, and he’s also convincing when arguing with himself.
Meanwhile, Michael Sheen shows up as a David Bowie look-alike spinning around a glowing cane and chattering madly with a stark white grin.
Now, I’ve gone this far without even mentioning the plot. Why? Well, it kind of sucks. It’s entirely hokey with some of the most pivotal lines delivered in an equally hokey fashion. It isn’t so much bad acting as it is actors dealing with such preposterousness in the only way they know how: straightforward. I have no familiarity with the original “TRON” (1982) or what this sequel means for the franchise and for Disney 28 years later.
But I know I had fun. I had fun with Daft Punk’s soundtrack as the movie acted like a backdrop playing to their beat to the point where the French electronica duo makes a cameo at a futuristic nightclub. “TRON: Legacy” is completely devoted to its look and sound, but why wouldn’t it be when it looks and sounds this good?