Review: Joseph Kosinski's 'Tron Legacy' Sequel is All 0's & No 1's

December 22, 2010

Tron Legacy Review

To be fair, you can't take the special effects away from Disney's Tron Legacy (playing in 3D in theaters now), and you wouldn't want to. It seems to be the only thing the film has going for it, and the new digital age the sequel 28 years in the making finds itself in seems to be the perfect one on which to unleash itself. The world of CG has grown tremendously in the past three decades. So, too, have the worlds of screenwriting, plot pacing, and film making as a whole though you wouldn't know that judging from this colorful and digitized monorail wreck.

The film is really the perfect follow-up to 1982's TRON. The legacy, per se, of that film is one born out of nostalgia. It is nostalgia for a film that is mostly style and very little substance. If the people behind Tron Legacy wanted to amp up both, they can give themselves a nice pat on the back. The style is grander, and the lack of substance has dwindled to the point of absolute nonexistence, as if the 1s in the binary code of the film's narrative and story structure, which has an effect on the film's excitement level, have blinked out, and all that are left is a string of 0s the entire width of the Grid.

Tron Legacy's story definitely has more potential than its predecessor. It opens in 1989. Jeff Bridges' returning Kevin Flynn is telling his young son, Sam, a bedtime story about The Grid, as well as his and his friend Alan's avatars within that digitized world, Clu and Tron. Kevin leaves the house and disappears without a trace.

21 years later, Sam, now grown into Garrett Hedlund, is the majority stock holder of ENCOM, the company of which his father was a programmer and eventual CEO. Sam spends his days doing what all young billionaires might do. Racing the cops on a Ducati. Base jumping from the top of a skyscraper. Sam also has a yearly knack for playing a prank on ENCOM, whether that be releasing their latest software update to the public for free or uploading cute images of his dog to their boardroom monitor.

It's on the evening of one of these pranks that Sam has a visit from Alan, once again played by Bruce Boxleitner. Alan tells Sam he has been contacted by Sam's father. Hoping to be reunited with his father, Sam goes to his father's arcade, where he is subsequently transported into the Grid. Disc wars, light cycle races, an extremely hot Olivia Wilde, an evil avatar bent on taking over both the digital and real world, and a very Zen Jeff Bridges ensue.

It isn't so much the lack of substance found within Tron Legacy's story that hurts it so much. That is an element of film that could be easily overlooked for the sake of excitable entertainment. Sadly, first-time director Joseph Kosinski can't even provide that. The film's opening moments, those showing Sam in the real world, build the possibility of being engaging. The board room meeting, actually a reshoot done on the fly just a few months ago, is downright interesting and built on reasonably strong dialog as well as a surprising cameo. Unfortunately, Sam is transplanted into the computer world far too soon.

From there, there are the gladiatorial games that have made the TRON video game such an entertaining pastime for nearly 30 years. Sadly, those, too, disappear all too quickly. Before we know it, Sam finds his father, and the robed Jeff Bridges who is more Dude-like than usual (a notable chuckle emits every time he calls his son "man") begins the onslaught of expository dialog. Seriously, for a CG-laden film that cost upwards of $200 million, you might be surprised when all the talking begins. You'll be even more surprised when that same talking doesn't seem to want to end.

There's an understanding, of course, to how the film needs to play out. The story developed here revolving around Flynn's avatar, Clu, breaking away from his user and becoming the evil tyrant of the Grid as well as a new life form that manifests within that world that could change everything requires a lot of explanation. They essentially have backed themselves into a corner with this story. To get their point across to the audience, you know, so we're not completely confused as to what is going on, they rely on characters explaining everything away. It's a poor choice, one of many Tron Legacy makes, and it ultimately does the film a disservice, turning what could be a dumb fun movie into boring lecture that feels like it's trying to be smarter than it is.

A few moments arise from the muck of exposition and idiotic pacing. Michael Sheen as Castor, a nightclub owner within the Grid, gives a raucous performance decked out like Ziggy Stardust whited over. The gladiatorial games near the beginning are a welcome return to fans of that element of the first film as well as an upgrade in the speed and style with which they are presented. There is a chase scene near the end that almost builds the film's climax to something approaching exhilarating. Daft Punk's electrifying score thumps and fuzz basses its way all the way throughout.

However, for every good element found within Tron Legacy, a dozen poor or odd elements arise. As mentioned earlier, the CG through the film is impressive save for one, major element. Flynn's avatar, Clu, the villain of the film, does not age. He does not share the same craggy and weathered face of the Jeff Bridges of 2010. That's fine, but the execution of mo-capping Bridges' face and putting it onto a stunt double results in one of the worst cases of dead eyes and poor CG characters in history. Nothing about the effect is life-like, and it's made even worse when the character has to talk. The mouth just doesn't work. It is unbelievable to think someone approved of this, a horrid use of motion capturing that is utterly distracting every time it shows up. It's the worst part of a film that seems to thrive on bad decisions.

The acting within the film is hit and miss. Bridges isn't turning up the thespian level in his scenes, but he brings the Dude-like charm to the Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque character well. Hedlund stumbles his way through the film with only a few moments here and there of teasing something better. It's nice to see Boxleitner returning even if for only a few scenes, and he does a fine job passing the torch to the new kid on the block.

Having said that, though, it remains to be seen whether Tron Legacy is a launching point for a new franchise, something Disney was surely hoping for. There is room for continuation based on where the story ends. However, if the legacy of TRON is to continue, something has to change. The pacing of the next film has to be more charged, the story has to be simpler to explain to its audience, and it just has to entertain.

Tron Legacy's biggest annoyance (other than that awful Bridges' face) is that it is simply boring, a $200-million series of two-shot conversations. By the time the excitement actually presents itself, you're too bogged down in exposition and downtime to even really care. The source code in the film is bulky and presented with a resounding thud where it should have felt slick and moved with the speed and grace of one of those light cycles. Instead, this film about a digitized world seems to be pulling itself along in a wooden cart with one, stone wheel. If that's reinvention, I'll take something tried and true.

Jeremy's Rating: 3 out of 10

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Apparently, you're more interested in talking about how much money was spent than how fun the movie is. All of your complaints just sound like coming from someone who was so over-hyped that you'd never be pleased. Finally, Clu looks computer generate... because he was made by a computer. He's not a real human being. Plus he predates everyone else in the entire world... excluding Tron. So, he should look like old technology. Enjoy being a contrarian... it's easy.

Alex on Dec 22, 2010


^ And that ladies in gentlemen is a fanboy.

Alex T. on Dec 22, 2010


^Amen to that. This film was a fun time visually and audibly but that doesn't excuse some of the atrocities that Jeremy pointed out. Great review sir. thanks

Jared Padalech on Dec 22, 2010


Alex T. - way to generalize. I've never seen the original Tron, never played a Tron game, and have never dressed up and cosplayed. I guess that makes you a fanboy of stupidity.

Alex on Dec 22, 2010


This is a very cruel and completely unfair review. It's funny that your main complaint is that this film is too slow and dialogue-focused. Perhaps it never occurred to you that Tron isn't supposed to be some kind of moronic shock-jock entertainment vehicle. The story and its world are very important: new audiences need to hear these conversations, and old fans want to hear them.

zephr on Dec 22, 2010


The original movie had something this one did not: heart. You could feel the emptiness of each scene despite the promise of something more engaging from the opening "heist" sequence. I really felt nothing for the characters. Even old Kevin Flynn felt that he had to do nothing and it really showed that that was the whole movies theme. Nothing. I really wanted to care for these characters but, in the end, I kinda hoped they would have died in the end... just to make me applaud. That aside, I fully enjoyed the CGI. Was it enough to justify this sequel? I'm not entirely sure.

pixelblink on Dec 22, 2010


If the target audience were only fan boys then I'd say this movie was pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie (aside from clu's face) but I can definitely see where I might be in the minority. Still think the review's a tad bit harsh though, but then again, I went in with low expectations for the story side of things. I'm gonna go see it again just for the eye candy.

phillip on Dec 22, 2010


this is why i generally ignore Jeremy's reviews

Jericho on Dec 22, 2010


Not adding anything new to the conversation other than SPOILER ALERT...... It was awesome to see the actual Tron in this. CG Boxleitner rocked. And for the sake of not spoiling any further I will squash my criticism on the treatment of his character.

Duane on Dec 22, 2010


Lame review is lame. That movie was a blast and looked and sounded amazing. Stick to pretentious Woody Allen movies or something.

Geoff on Dec 22, 2010


Please keep your comments on topic in this. You can obviously disagree with this review, as I do myself, but please argue intelligently and maturely - thank you!

Alex Billington on Dec 22, 2010


Thank you! I was hoping I wasn't the only one who couldn't wait for this movie to be over. Granted the effects were great, but everything else was horrible. It started out well in the real world. They did some planting for later payoff. For example Sam racing on a bike in the real world, but then later in the movie he encounters his father's white super awesome bike and you think, oh they must do something amazing with this awesome bike! right? Wrong... He just rides it into town and gives it away... Maybe a cool chase scene? Oh not wait they already tried to cram 20 minutes of bike scenes in the beginning so they can just leave the awesome white bike story behind. How does Tron all of a sudden decide "I must fight for the users". And how is he even alive? Didn't he die before? The only thing this movie was lacking was maybe a massive rave scene and cheesy romance. In this day an age where movies can make use of amazing special effects, why not spend a little on some decent screenwriting?

V on Dec 22, 2010


I agree with Jeremy's review and #12. I keep hearing so many people say how "fun" they thought this movie was. Fun!? That's the last thing I would call this film. It was everything but. As beautiful as it was to watch, I was bored out of my mind. And the insipid dialogue just made it worse.

Film Fan on Dec 22, 2010


Actually, I disagree with the reviewer and those who didn't like the movie. Then again, I didn't go into it hoping for anything more than entertainment. That's what this movie delivered, in my opinion. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I won't bash anyone for not liking the movie or thinking it lacked something, and I don't expect anyone to bash me for enjoying it for the basic entertainment it was. 'Nuff said.

Jim on Dec 22, 2010


NO the movies was not deep .. but it was entertaining. is it going to win an oscar.. no .. di i come out of the movie thinking i enjoyed the experience you bet. is it for every one.. no but i thought is was fun

gloval on Dec 22, 2010


I like how you complain about the fact that the gladiatorial games are over so quickly and never come back. hmm let's review the original movie - kevin gets sucked in plays Jai alai with Peter Jurasik, then lightcycle race which he escapes with Tron and Ram. then spends the rest of the movie on the run never to play any of the games again. some minor fights with identity disks and the final Tron/Sark battle. This time you have the Disc Wars (much longer and amped up than jai alai), Lightcycle game (to draw out Kevin and his allies), End of Line Club battle, a little of the breaking into the command ship to recapture the identity disk/free Quorra and the final light jet battle and somehow that was not enough for you? @V as for Tron Clu repurposed him into Rinzler when Kevin thought he was killed during the coup. at the end he had lost both his identity disks and saw Kevin face to face during the light jet flyover. This reset his base programming and he returned to "I fight for the User Mode" I think it was visually stunning movie that needs to be seen in IMAX in 3D. The 3D is subtle and adds a layer of depth like some of the themes of the movie that I think most critics missed when they call it an incomprehensible plot. Unlike Pocohontas in space last year the plot didn't hit you over the head with the themes (Last year it was pretty easy to follow Greedy white man invades kill natives, Military bad, Ecoterrorism good) On the surface it is the typical Joesph Campbell Hero's Journey: reluctant Hero (sam) gets a message(page to Alan Bradley) to set him off on his quest, meets wise old wizard (kevin) and mythical creature (Quorra) on the way to defeat the baddie (Clu) and save the kingdom along the way a lost warrior returns to the light to redeem himself. But deeper it is the primal story mix of Lucifer trying to overthrow God and rule the kingdom of heaven and Hitler trying to rule the world with his perfect solution. Clu is not some cookie cutter mustache twirling villain at his base core he is the illegitimate son trying to win the love and respect of his father and know he did right. He does what he does fanatically because he is limited by his program, he can't think outside the box and hates the Iso because they now have God's love (who also have free will like Man) Have we solved the uncanny valley with Clu (Bridge's deaging) not completely but at the same time we know he is a program limited by that programing code so the fact he looks a little off actually works for me. definitely go see it in the theater, the acting is not Shakespeare, but did anyone compare Mark Hamill in Star Wars to Laurence Olivier? Tron has always held a special place in my heart as that is about the time I started programing (BASIC on a TRS-80) and it showed the wonders of the inside of computer. Tron Legacy is the next evolution has us question what is digital life, with all our social and virtual interactions of cyberspace these days does our cyberself represent us or something more.

mike I on Dec 22, 2010


I love how all the critics think this is such a horrible movie. Yet, myself and all of the people I've talked to put it in the top 2 of the year with Inception. People love epic scale, visually astounding movies and Tron Legacy delivers on those fronts. I actually loved the story and sat with friends afterwards and talked about the story and came up with theories based on it. That makes it good in my book.

Eric on Dec 22, 2010


What theories could you possibly sit and discuss about TRON LEGACY? I could sit and have longer discussions about the roller coaster IMAX films then I could about TRON LEGACY, that statement is laughable.

Scott on Dec 22, 2010


I think people who dislike the movie probably disliked it before even seeing it. It's a two hour theme park ride and a fun one at that. I thought the CG Jeff Bridges looked damn good and hard to tell from the real thing in my opinion. You said the story needs to be simplified? It's impossible to not know what's going on in the film. It's disney for pete's sake. Story wise If the Matrix was a senior in high school. Tron would be like a middle schooler. The story wasn't too complex or deep. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fun. Like a them park. Sit down, strap in, and enjoy the ride. Sometimes I wonder if you guys post these negative reviews just to get people to talk. You had to know the majority is gonna disagree with you. I thought it was fun, cool, and worth the money. That's it.

BBQ BOB on Dec 22, 2010


@Scott - Yeah, it's real hard to think about theories about a movie that deals with humans entering digital space and vice versa. It's a completely original idea for a film, especially in 1982. If that's laughable to you then you have no imagination and should steer clear of all sci-fi or fantasy films.

Eric on Dec 22, 2010


The critic of this film is envious.

Mark on Dec 22, 2010


mike, thank you for a much better review. This Movie, while not perfect (what movie is?), has a depth that I think was lost on many people. Need I mention, Scott (#18)? There is no arguing with that point of view since it has a blindness that cannot be changed by mere discussion. Was it a great movie? Probably not. But it was very well done. and much better than the original. My 6-11 year old boys loved it and were riveted, as was I. That is no small thing.

Peter on Dec 22, 2010


I really enjoyed the film and saw it twice in IMAX 3D. Critics like these love to tear these types of films to shreds. They absolutely live for it. They are the same elitist indie pricks that are responsible for giving movies like "The Kids Are Alright" such high tomato meters. Nothing against that movie though, Ruffalo was great in it. I'm just saying TRON LEGACY deserves better.

Matlock on Dec 22, 2010


I was not a fan of the movie, but I will say it is a movie that has sparked many discussions amongst my friends. I personally don't think the movie needed to be simplified as much as it needed to not be so vague. Many ideas were brought up that were never explained. I get the whole "Clu is part of the old system" argument, but you would think he would upgrade himself. Wasn't he able to build an entire world? He should be able to make himself better than as well right?

NateCSZ on Dec 22, 2010


uh...skipping the jeff bridges face, the movie's first half was a delight. i almost came in my pants. BUT THEN...the "dude" stuff (lebowski in tron...), the olivia wilde "i wanna hump you USER" look (she distracts me from the plot MAN), Clu acting like a dumb retarded villain, bad ex-Tron acts like a pussy. what else...oh yes, the story beyond that got confusing ...i really didn't understand anything beyond the father-son encounter. i just sat there, eating my delicious popcorn, drinking my bubbly soda...and saying.."what the hell dude, with all this potential they came up WITH THIS STORY"...omfg noooooo. i was really, really looking forward to this, i can't say i didn;t enjoy the effects, the music, Beau Garrett (omg omg omg), Olivia Wilde too...Michael Sheen :D. teh rest? not worth mentioning. the ending? pff...crapzor. the first one from '82 was more entertaining vis a vis the story, the plot, the character depths bla bla. anyhoooo...good review Jeremy. you weren't harsh enough :))

frostie on Dec 22, 2010


Harry’s Aint It Cool News review is the best that I have seen. I always love reading his reviews:

Matlock on Dec 22, 2010


Haven't seen this yet, but it seems like a lot of the problems with the movie I have heard stated might stem from the fact that this was made by a FIRST-TIME DIRECTOR! Who was the genius in the Disney board room that okayed that? If you are re-launching a franchise, why not bring in someone with more experience? Of course, that would not have guaranteed a great movie, but it would have improved the chances of success a great deal, I think.

kitano0 on Dec 22, 2010


ohmygod, thank you. THANK YOU for not giving this a fanboy review and seeing this flick for the actual muddled peice of poo it was. I was thoroughly unimpressed and applaud this site for posting this review. Brains and Balls, thats what this review gives. Absolute Kudos for presenting a sound arguement as to why this movie failed and that a "fun" movie is by no means a "good" movie. I also i thought the effects for Clu/Young Bridges SUCKED to the point of creepy, abnormal and ultimately distracting)

Voice of Reason on Dec 22, 2010


@NateCSZ: CLU could only destroy or repurpose programs. He could not create anything.

Matlock on Dec 22, 2010


i love that people complain about the cg for clu, the reviewer says "the execution of mo-capping Bridges' face and putting it onto a stunt double results in one of the worst cases of dead eyes and poor CG characters in history", uh, can you give me ONE instance where this has been done before? having a character like flynn recreated almost 30 years later? this was amazing and yeah the mouth got weird, but its not like they have the fountain of youth to set bridges back.

krztov on Dec 22, 2010


RE: Jeremy Kirk - A contemptuous, whining, poorly developed little movie review program that would have never made it through the first round of the game grid in the original TRON. Any and all other reviews from this ignorant, witless conscript will be immediately de-rezzed - END OF LINE.

TronRocquea on Dec 22, 2010


WOW... just WOW... LOL. Jeremy must of got up on the wrong side of the bed. Overly agressive review. Movie was great, deep and meaningful story of a father son relationship with super duper FX.

JayC on Dec 22, 2010


WOW! Did we see the same movie? I saw this opening weekend and thought it was brilliant. I just thought they did well on updating the original movie, adding some EXCELLENT technical effects, unbeliveable score, and good premise. Was it "The King's Speech"? Nope, nor did I expect it to be. But it is the first movie in years that I would have gladly paid for to sit through again. You are stupid to miss this one, especially in 3-D. But, perhaps you need to go see The Black Swan or The Fighter if you want to.... Just sayin'.

theorbitofme on Dec 22, 2010


RE: TronRocquea Jeremy Kirk - A contemptuous, whining, poorly developed little movie review program that would have never made it through the first round of the game grid in the original TRON. Any and all other reviews from this ignorant, witless conscript will be immediately de-rezzed - END OF LINE. Jeremy would have been defeated by the fat accounting programs let alone Sark or the MCP.

Matlock on Dec 22, 2010


I concur with #17 and..... @Jeremy Kirk - "However, if the legacy of TRON is to continue, something has to change. The pacing of the next film has to be more charged, the story has to be simpler to explain to its audience, and it just has to entertain." Ummmmm, people could have watched the original to understand what was happening in this one and if I'm not mistaken - it DID entertain! I've seen it twice in IMAX 3-D, and thought it was a great time. Yes, the C.L.U. cgi was bizarre at first, but upon the second viewing I realized why and was fine with it. I'm just sayin'.

Brian on Dec 22, 2010


I could not wait for this to end so we could go grocery shopping. And I hate grocery shopping. I am a huge fan of retro Sci Fi movies and even a Jeff Bridges fan. Just add Disney to that equation and I should know not to buy tickets. From the CG to the 3D, I was not impressed at all.

Roy McAvoy on Dec 22, 2010


Expectations for "Tron Legacy" were through the roof for many fans of the original as tidbits, trailers, images and information rolled out by director and stars graced Comic-Con for three years in a row...a record in fact for any one film's promotion at that event. Now the movie is finally here. Does it live up to everything we've been hearing about since news first broke? For the most part I say YES!! SPOILER ALERT!!! There are a number of plot details revealed here so BEWARE!! I am a HUGE "Tron" fan, going back to the very beginning when I saw the movie in theaters in 1982. 28 years later, and after Disney made a number of attempts to find the right tone to pick up the story and concept once again, director Joseph Kosinski has brought his commercial sensibilities to the big screen for the first time and does not disappoint! I've always been a strong believer that if you're going to make or remake something that must pay tribute to it's origins, you must sample the right chords in all the right ways. In "Tron Legacy", love for the original is very, very strong. The concept is fresh and easily accessible for the casual moviegoer, yet filled with wonderful little nuggets for worshipers of the 1982 classic. A few examples; listen carefully right before the first light cycle game begins in the movie. If you've ever played the "Tron" video game you'll recognize three familiar tones that signaled the start of the light cycle level. As Sam tries to break into Encom he approaches a rather large orange colored security door. As the door opens once the security code is broken, he glances at the size of it saying, 'now that's a big door', the same line Kevin Flynn utters while attempting a similar break-in during the first movie. The method by which we're in new territory has been really well devised. The electronic world is not the server at Encom we saw in the original film. At some point after taking control of the company, Kevin Flynn copied data from Encom's server and brought it, along with the laser aparatice, to his basement office at Flynn's Arcade. So what we're seeing in the new movie is a offshoot world of that original landscape. This aspect allowed the writers and filmmakers to create a story that has a clear starting point after the events of "Tron" for people who are coming in for the first time, and an opportunity to change things up a bit more. Another smart move was to not make this server connect to our present day internet or server networks. Making references to things like Facebook, YouTube, or any other current applications used on devices like the iPhone would only date the movie even a year or two down the road. Keeping The Grid as a pure computer oriented, electronic device was absolutely the way to go. The movie begins in 2D (a very nice "Wizard of Oz"-like touch) with Kevin Flynn telling his son Sam about the world he encountered in the first film and that they'll be heading to the arcade the next day. Unforunately, Kevin never returns and Sam presumes his father died or just left. Now 20 years later, Sam is told by Allen Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) that he should check out a message which came from his father's old arcade. Sam finds the basement workstation and the laser which, of course, can and will transport him into the computer world he was told of as a boy. At this point the movie switches to 3D as Sam finds himself in the very digital world he'll learn his father disappeared into. Here is where the film kicks into high gear as Sam finds himself transported to the game grid and fighting for his life in a disk tournament. These games are far more brutal than portrayed in the original "Tron". Crazily ellaborate with amazing fight choreography that's very, very cool! Suddenly I became aware of what would be one of the best aspects of the movie; sound design. Recognizers roar overhead as my my pant legs flutter. The sound of disks activated cut through the air like a knife. Light cycles hum beautifully as they glide along the grid. On a visual effects side, the first thing I noticed was how seamlessly the actors were integrated into this digital world. The arena scene is definitely one of the buzz clips of the movie, heightened that much more as the disk battle quickly turns into an incredible light cycle game and chase. This goes way beyond the hard rights and lefts the original light cycles took during those games in "Tron". Now we get tricks and turns and flips like never before! Whatever the rest of the movie brought, at this point I was so 'IN'!!! Garrett Hedlund totally works as Sam, son of Kevin Flynn. Olivia Wilde brings the sexy Trinity angle very nicely as Flynn's right hand girl, and Jeff Bridges extends his gamer/hacker persona from the first movie into practically a God-like figure in the digital world. Yet he still retains a bit of the cockiness that made him so likable in the original "Tron". Bruce Boxleitner is, of course, back as well not only portraying real world Allen Bradley, but as his computer alter ego, Tron. And to round out the cast, Michael Sheen plays the questionable owner of the End of Line club, gleefully channeling Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. I spoke about Daft Punk's score for the film at length in a previous post, but after having seen the music against the film I have absolutely doubled my appreciation for it. Since downloading the soundtrack on December 7, I've actually listened to it five times from start to finish. This is an extreme rarity for me because I usually check out only a bit of any movie's score prior to seeing it in theaters. After hearing some of the tracks, especially 'End of Line' at Comic-Con in 2009, I couldn't resist hitting play to take the whole thing in right away. Needless to say once again, Daft Punk have created a masterpiece that enhances and gives perfect signature to the incredible images that fly at and by you during the course of the movie. I'm also very glad that "Derezzed" was not just a stand alone piece intended for the end credits. It pops on with smile-inducing energy during a crucial fight scene at the End of Line Club. And of course it's very cool to see them as the DJ's at the establishment! Here are my only two issues with the film. What, you didn't think I'd have any? When I first saw the digital de-aging that had been done on Jeff Bridges for his portrayal of CLU and his younger self in the late 1980's, I felt like maybe we weren't seeing a completely finished version of the effect. Even though I'd seen months-early CG effects for films like "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man" at Comic-Con realizing the same was true with those, I turned out to be wrong regarding "Tron Legacy". What we ultimately get in this movie is sometimes incredibly real-life accurate and sometimes just O.K. The lesser of the two tends to look a bit rubbery. But because the rest of the movie is just so damn cool, you kind of forgive a little here and there. The other issue I had was in the amount of screen time the character of Tron actually gets, not to mention the lack of any major re-introduction I felt he should have received. We hear about Tron from Flynn telling his son Sam what he experienced in the computer world. In actuality, and not to give too much away, Tron is present much more than you initially suspect. A simple marking on one of the "Tron Legacy" character publicity stills online clued me in to how Tron might be involved in the story on a grander scale. And I think when I see the movie a second time this coming weekend, my qualms about wanting more of him visually may disappear. A number of critics are berating the real lack of story. I recognized a lack of anything too weighty or more expanded over the course of the movie and understand some added story aspects were cut due to time constraints. That's not an excuse for some elements getting a little short changed, but when you watch this movie you realize the story doesn't have to be filled with multi-level subplots. There actually is an emotional core here and a moment during the climax that's touching and even sad in it's realization. Above all else, "Tron Legacy" is a ride just as the original was back in 1982. Future movies (and you know they're planning the next one as we speak) will certainly address larger story ideas, since this movie seemed to be designed to get the franchise back off the ground and re-introduce it to a whole new audience. With that in mind, check out Cillian Murphy's uncredited role as Edward Dillinger, son of Ed Dillinger as played by David Warner in the original "Tron". He appears at the Encom board meeting right before the company's new software is released to the public. Rumors are that this is a villain set-up for the next film. I personally love Cillian Murphy and can't wait to see what he brings to this world, both real and digitized. Yes, like many fans had lobbied for before and during the making of the film, I too missed the presence of Lora / Yori as played by Cindy Morgan in the first movie. I'm still kicking myself that we couldn't attend Wondercon in San Francisco this year because she appeared as her character alongside Bruce Boxleitner's Allen Bradley in a special promotional event staged outside the convention center. Boxleitner (as Allen) introduced her as his wife, so we know they did end up staying together after "Tron". Very nice touch! And yet I still wanted to see her somewhere, even just in the real world greeting Allen as he came home from work, in the new movie. A couple of interesting questions arise as we roll towards the films climax and epilogue, and HERE'S WHERE THE SPOILERS REALLY FLY...!!! What happens to Kevin Flynn when he merges with CLU and is he really gone forever? Does Sam hold what's left of the world his father created around his neck which also contains the now-revived and obviously still-active Tron? Bottom line: "Tron Legacy" is an incredible ride with truly dazzling effects and sound, a seriously cool soundtrack by Daft Punk, and all the right elements we, the fans of the original "Tron", can connect to with joyful appreciation. Old characters that bring remembrances of a time when "Tron" was a groundbreaking movie experience. New characters that wonderfully expand how we hoped that world of 28 years ago would evolve into the 3D digital frontier of today. BRING ON THE NEXT MOVIE!!!

Editboy on Dec 22, 2010


Now here's a sensible review. I think a great deal of these people went in so prepared to love it that they ignored the numerous flaws and minimal writing. It was pretty, but that doesn't make a movie, only a picture.

MrKelly on Dec 22, 2010


Wow, how long has it been since a movie has generated such intense arguing? My guess is once this hits blu-ray and dvd, and you don't have the 3-D effects or the gigantic speakers blasting Daft-punk, the flaws will become much more apparent.

Craig on Dec 22, 2010


@39 Inception ruffled a lot of feathers, but different points of views make sites like this so damn great! Fun Fun!

Voice of Reason on Dec 22, 2010


@39 I'll enjoy my Bluray of the original and Legacy in 3D and still think this was a perfect follow up to the original. While not eoln begin Most of the haters like this young pup of a critic didn't live through the critique of the original Tron. It is refreshing to see this version get hit with a bit of the same sentiment as the original. It creates the correct moment of nostalgia. GoTo 1982 Time for the contemporary mass consumers to geek out. pun intended end

El Shaz on Dec 22, 2010


Absolutely agree with the reviewer. As soon as the Sam Flynn meets his father, Kevin Flynn, I swear the movie gets downright stupid and boring. I say that as I listen to the soundtrack and just like how the Tron soundtrack has the best songs in the 1st half, and then the last songs in the 2nd half of the sountrack aren't as good, so is the movie. No use of the tanks as we saw in the first one. That would have been a pretty cool add-on. Users in the first one had much much more power to create or build etc. In this one, a user was just a different type of person, but outside of that, there was nothing special they could do. The dialogue was very lacking with no explanation to anything. Specifically the ISOMorphs. Then their attempt to escape to the portal is just crap story. How did Clu get there 1st. And again, how did he get to the portal 1st. Was Clu stronger than Tron? Obviously so since he defeated Tron twice. Which is wierd since Tron was a badass at kicking some serious butt. As the light cycle battle felt very fast paced, the battle in the air felt like it took forever. The music and visual were awesome. Clu looked fake. I hope they come out with a sequel, but I hope they have a more complete story.

Nate on Dec 22, 2010


I don't agree that the movie should have gotten a 3 out of 10 though. I think it should have definitely gotten a higher score like 6 or 7 out of 10. I also believe that much of the dislike for this movie is from those who have seen the 1st tron, have some understanding of technology, and were therefore expecting a much better story. That would be my case.

Nate on Dec 22, 2010


BTW - did anyone else feel the scene where Clu is about to take an entire army through the Portal was similar in idea to He-man, Masters of the Universe > < where Skeletor brings a whole army into the real world. The only difference is Skeletor does so to capture something and bring it back to his home world. In this movie, Clu captures something in order to try and send him into the real world. Damn similarities!

Nate on Dec 22, 2010


I love this site for the previews and coverage, but man your reviews are terrible. You guys eat stupid shit like Avatar up (which the only redeeming feature of the movie was the advancement of digital effects made for it). At least Tron had a plot that wasn't ripped off of a children's movie. The 3d in Tron was better then Avatar and the movie was far more enjoyable, yet obviously you expect Oscar quality. Anyone who has seen the original will realize that the plot and acting were the last of the worries.

JTMoney on Dec 22, 2010


I loved this movie! Nay sayers be damned!

John Vinci on Dec 22, 2010


#45 so basically the acting and plot should be excusable? Give me a break. That is ridiculous. You cannot have a good film with just visuals. The original Tron is not a great film and the only reason it has serious clout is because it broke down boundaries of visual effects. The story was silly and nothing special but this film just got ridiculous. You cannot defend a film and claim it to be a good film only because of visuals! And you might want to reconsider the statement you made about the reviews on this site being "terrible." How do YOU define terrible? Just because you don't agree with someone's OPINION, that makes their statement about a film completely invalid and quote "Terrible?" I bet Jeremy disagrees with your opinion but does that make you a "terrible" reader? See the trend here? Give me a break.

Jared Padalech on Dec 22, 2010


TRON Legacy was, in one word, "RAD". Rad is something that improves on something in a drastic way AND something that is incredibly fun. That's what this movie was. RAD. Now shut up and enjoy yourselves. You disgust me.

Jim on Dec 22, 2010


@47 My problem is the double standard. They love films like Avatar which is easily as bad a Tron and yet Tron gets ripped apart.

JTMoney on Dec 22, 2010


I really really wanted to like this film and tried really hard to be forgiving, but the first Tron in comparison was a much better constructed film.

Bob Knobbs on Dec 22, 2010


Please argue maturely? Okay. This review sucks more donkey balls than paris dipshit hilton. Tron is a great movie, it's fun, it's entertaining, worth the money but not worth the retarded 3D shit glasses. It's everything a TRON MOVIE should be. Do not follow this review's lame attempt at justifying the 3/10 score. That score means absolute shit. Go out and watch the movie. Along or with friends, it's worth it.

nem on Dec 22, 2010


@ #49 Not everyone liked Avatar. I bet Jeremy didn't like avatar. And that is totally and completely fine. I Don't see a double standard still. @ #51 Donkey Balls eh? Fanboy

Jared Padalech on Dec 22, 2010


No, not a "fan boy" at all. It's reviews like these that mess with people's minds on what's good and what's bad. Which ultimately decides the fate of future sequels. This site/blog generates alot of visitors who are clueless about what movie they should watch and should stay away from, and the people at FS are--most of the time--biased when it comes to reviews, they know who they are. They'll gobble up shit like Avatar but mock this movie? Pffft, puh-lease.

nem on Dec 22, 2010


I loved Tron Legacy. It will always have a special place in my heart next to the original. I thought the plot was fine, the action was good, the acting was OK, and the pacing was decent. The visuals and music were awesome. I could understand where some folks might think the movie was a disappointment. I wasn't one of those folks.

Tron Legacy Fan on Dec 22, 2010


I was not expecting anything more than a fun and entertaining action flick when I went to see Tron Legacy, but I have to admit that I agree with the reviewer; I didn't even get that. I was bored throughout.

the weatherman on Dec 22, 2010


This has got to be one of the whiniest reviews I've ever read!

Dan on Dec 22, 2010


So the reviewer wanted more action and less talking? I thought people were complaining there was to much action and less talking and story. Go figure!

Robert on Dec 22, 2010


Don't all you fans, yes, even the ones who saw the original, don't you just wish, JUST A LITTLE BIT, that the movie would have actually been centered more around TRON than anything else? I mean after all, the franchise is NAMED after him. The original Tron wasn't even really about Flynn, but moreso about the character TRON himself. He had all of two lines in the movie [Legacy], and didn't really leave much of a 'legacy' behind except for saying that he worked for the users, and showing the audience that he could drown in cyber water all before being obliterated by Flynn at the end.

Tron Observer on Dec 23, 2010


Stop letting Jeremy review the big movies. Make him write reviews for the ones we don't care for. Because honestly, the CG Flynn being not "lifelike"? Uh, hello? He's a fucking Program. He's not meant to show emotion. And even if he WERE. 30 or however many years that have passed (And in TRON world at that, remember how he said minutes in real life are hours in TRON time? Well, maybe a hundred years passed.), you'd have to expect a lack of emotion from Clu, considering his psychological mindset, and being an oppressor / ruler for so long. Ugh, godawful review with no real thought put behind it.

danielvutran on Dec 23, 2010


ok peeps just to set the record straight its just an opinion of one critic no matter what movie you judge not everybody is ganna like it me personally i thought heath did a terrible job as joker and avatar didnt have enough blue lol jk but seriously alot more ppl thought this movie was great then not granted it could have been better but not by much, the only way to make tron legacy better would be to strech it out into a longer film

Michael Porter on Dec 23, 2010


oh and if they would have hired an actor to play clue instead of cgi, they movie would not have been as great and we wouldnt have the set up in the beginning of the film

Michael Porter on Dec 23, 2010


very true jhon this was also his first time directing so now that he has his bearings he can grow

Michael Porter on Dec 23, 2010


Dear Kirk, i am pretty sure u will not read this but still i have to write my opinion down! As i see this review of yours is just a personal opinion about this movie and i can tell this by not being a super doper over educated writer or whatever. I think other Readers agree with me when i say that there are a lot of movies that were uber overrated by you guys because "you just liked it" although they are crappy if you want me to analyze one of your favorite movies to the tiniest bit and find all of it`s flaws then just tell me and i will do so! And i am 100% sure that i will find the same quantity of mistakes and things that will make you fell that you watched the movie for no reason! So please take a brake and be more objective when it comes to "destroying" a movie because in my opinion you do not have this skill, i think you have the knowledge but you don`t put it to use as you should!

peter on Dec 23, 2010


I walked in the theater waiting to be entertained not mind blown by the story and characters. Its a blockbuster not an academy award winning film. Watch Black Swan if you want to see that kind of film. All in all the film was great and in my opinion a lot better then disastrous and overrated Avatar.

I have no name on Dec 23, 2010


I have never seen so many dissenting opinions on a movie in my life. Though, I can see it from both sides. I myself don't fully understand why I want to see it again before it leaves theaters. But... in the end, the nostalgia and insane f/x combined with a visionary soundtrack far outweigh the nit picky elements. As I stated previously, it could have been a truly epic blockbuster, but it was still so good - that even in it's mediocrity, knocked all the others out of my #1 spot of the year (probably two).

bozo on Dec 23, 2010


Ok, since this has become the land of spoilers, I'm gonna spit out the one thing I have yet to see mentioned: CLU's army never would be able to get out of the grid into the real world. In the first movie when they first do the laser test with the orange, they state that the molecules are being suspended in the beam. This movie: Flynn goes in, Sam goes in 20 something years later. That's only enough for two people. Sam and Quorra getting out makes sense with that much raw material. But only CLU and one soldier would make it out, or they'd all be really really small. Thought of that in the theater sadly. So I just enjoyed this film for the eye candy aspect and on that level it was awesome. Hmmmmm...Now if just CLU tried to come out himself, looking like Flynn, taking over ENCOM in the real world...That would be a plot twist!!!

jasonmd2020 on Dec 23, 2010


@66 - Awesome! See its little details like that ... that take no more than a few seconds to point out that truly complete the story. The story had way too many holes, too many ideas that were never really matured. In the Matrix, they introduce to a bunch of new ideas, but they explain each one just enough for people to become raving lunatic fanboys. I wish there had been more detail to the movie. And man the *** SPOILER ALERT *** flying scene at the end just felt slow and boring. It was like watching a slow car chase scene. They do a bunch of loops and flips ... one plane gets hit, and one gets shot down. It just felt like a very long scene and didn't explain how the freak did Clu manage to catch up with them every time. Gonna go now and listen to the soundtrack while I stay upset.

Nate on Dec 27, 2010


great companion to the first film, had so much potential that was utterly wasted by a lousy ending...but it's money whore disney that sets us up for a potential sequel to wrap up the loose ends...too bad

Sportfan3052 on Jan 10, 2011


The only thing poor about Tron Legacy was ............. your review. Did we watch the same film?

Me666666 on Jan 24, 2011


Wow, dude, like smoke a doobie, or get laid or something... 3/10 - seriously? You're no fun! The story is just as silly as the source movie. But as pure entertainment there are many, many awesome moments... You're messing with my Zen thing, man...

tron legacy on Feb 4, 2011


The only reason I came back to this is bc of the mentioning of this review in ur newest "Golden Briefcase"- And I totally agree with you on this review. Id probably bump it to at least a five, just for its technical prowess alone, but other than that I totally agree with you on this one.

Zac917 on Apr 30, 2011


just saw it. finally. it was pretty disappointing, but probably because I went into it expecting something decent. the biggest problem with this film is the pacing; its slow and drags on. the grid itself was boring and lifeless. the original film sparked my imagination. the sequel has put me to sleep.

Jack on Jun 14, 2011

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