TRON: Legacy is the long-awaited remake/sequel/mash-up of the original TRON (1982). Jeff Bridges returns to play an older Kevin Flynn and a much younger digital version of himself, Clu. When Sam Flynn (new kid on the block Garrett Hedlund) returns to the video game developer's arcade to discover more about his estranged father's disappearance, he manages to shift paradigms, transporting himself to the same digital world his father created.
This is a sound and lights show. If you understand that and can get over the swirling plot, cardboard characters and average performances - you may just enjoy it. The first TRON was cutting edge in terms of its use of film technology, pushing the bounds of what could be achieved on screen. TRON: Legacy falls into the same box... using 3D to good effect. It's heavy on CGI, which is what you would expect from a movie that took 64 days to shoot and 68 weeks to clear post-production.
Jeff Bridges may be the star of the show, but even an Oscar for Crazy Heart, won't stop you from playing second fiddle to the visual effects of TRON: Legacy. The first movie was dominated by its aesthetic beauty and Legacy carries the torch, paying tribute and exposing a new wave of audiences to the world of TRON. The light cycles, architecture, grid and "frisbee" events are in the style of The Running Man with our hero quickly learning the game. These creations, the ridiculously expensive $13 million wardrobe and near-perfect beings in TRON: Legacy make the experience beautiful and even mesmerising at times.
Garrett Hedlund does a good job in portraying young Flynn as a likable rich kid with daddy issues. He manages well considering the irony of portraying a rather 2D character. Bridges is a talent and a firm favourite, playing several derivatives of his character in TRON: Legacy, but this alien dimension lacks humanity making the film void of emotion and a little blunt in the exchanges between father and son. Olivia Wilde plays the drop dead gorgeous Quorra, whose beauty distracts one from her performance.
The sound comes to us courtesy of Daft Punk, whose energetic electronic beats reverberate through your body. The electronica is so powerful that it almost trumps some of the high-end scenes it carries, making the visuals take a supporting role at times. This is the domain of Daft Punk and who better to create a fitting soundtrack to the dazzling neon light play and dopamine-inducing action? Strobes, smoke, mirrors, beams of light... and 3D, it's a psychedelic futuristic experience and the sound design is quite simply out-of-this-world.
TRON: Legacy fulfills its role as a tribute and reboot. The production values are high and just like Avatar, it's the technical agility, sound and visuals that demand your attention. Unfortunately, the story just doesn't pack the same weight and the characters are difficult to connect with, making this film a big, beautiful yet somewhat sluggish affair. The sound and lights show is a hard two hours and functions better in the action set pieces, but the light show runs its course quite quickly and with very little to fall back on intellectually - the mind tends to wander.
The bottom line: Dazzling.