I had read quite a few negative reviews for Tron Legacy before seeing it myself. They ranged from critics with a superiority complex nitpicking plot details to people who barely attempted to hide their disdain for every element of the film. So despite Daft Punk’s boner-inducing soundtrack, I was understandably cautious when entering the theater. Well, having now seen it several times, I think the verdict is clear: Olivia Wilde will be my bride and critics are whiny crybabies. But more coherently, the film is a fantastic sci fi adventure that maintains an interesting plot while still incorporating that famous Disney polish/censorship.
The plot is mainly the journey of Sam Flynn, son of the first film’s protagonist . Sam was abandoned by his tech genius father when Kevin Flynn disappeared off the face off the earth. Now a cynical adult, Sam is drawn back to his father’s arcade by a mysterious pager message and finds himself in a new virtual world. Now I won’t go through the whole plot but I do have to say that between all the insane environments (Legitimately gorgeous given all the negative space) and chase scenes are some very interesting points to ponder. The idea of gods and their role in our lives is explored, how an all powerful figure can polarize individuals into those who venerate and those who rebel. There is also some legitimate light shed on the motivation for dictatorship, a desire for perfection that can be fanatical even when it is logically unobtainable. Aside from these points, the plot falls very close to Star Wars: A New Hope. There is a specially empowered individual who survived genocide, a desire by the antagonist to obtain a piece of technology and the same archetypal characterization (wise sage, brash apprentice, a figure “twisted” by corruption.) The acting is fantastic, with Wilde standing out as a really good actress who clearly isn’t content skiing by on looks. Hedlund makes a believable orphan out of Sam Flynn, and his comparisons to Sam Worthington are completely uncalled for (Aside from a few bad bits of dialogue, not technically his fault.) Micheal Sheen brings a special mischievous panic to his scenes, and is worth the price of admission alone. And of course Bridges brings his brand of comfort food charisma.
But I did realize something upon leaving the theater. Films that are now cult sci fi classics, films like Blade Runner and Akira would be torn to pieces now at days. Our society is mainly composed of two film viewers. Those who never think about what they are watching and get bored during long bouts of dialogue, and those who think everything no matter how meticulously made is incoherent garbage. And that they, if imparted with the same budget, would make something that wasn’t “plebian baby bullshit.” The former group needs to read more, and the latter needs to get their collectible Farscape maquette out of their proverbial asshole. Sit back and enjoy Tron Legacy, it’s a sci fi adventure with heart that requires a person willing to be part good listener, part thrill ride attendee. End of Line.