Review: TRON: Legacy

As a sequel to a film made in 1982 with a premise that lends itself to be visually and mentally stimulating, TRON: Legacy was guaranteed to be a spectacle. First time feature director Joseph Kosinski certainly makes due on that expectation, but not much else. Looks may not be everything, but in the case of TRON: Legacy, they’re enough to keep you entertained for almost all of the film’s 125 minutes, but beyond that, the only possible way the film will have resonance is through the Daft Punk soundtrack.

When we last left Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in the 1982 film TRON, he’d emerged from the grid and taken over Encom from Ed Dillinger, finally getting him back for when Dillinger stole Flynn’s video game code and called it his own. TRON: Legacy kicks off in 1989. Flynn’s wife passed away, he’s now a single parent to their young son Sam (Owen Best) and Flynn’s strange behavior is creating concern at Encom. Flynn regularly leaves Sam with his grandparents while he works late, but one night, Flynn never returns. Twenty years later, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is 27 and still without a father. After receiving a mysterious page from the phone in his father’s old office, Sam heads over to Flynn’s Arcade to investigate. He sits down at his father’s computer to see what he’d been working on and, much like Flynn over 25 years ago, winds up being transported to the grid.

With no knowledge of where he is, Sam gets a quick wardrobe makeover and is tossed into the games where he must play to the death, or in this world’s case, to the derez. That’s where Sam meets Clu (Bridges), a program created in his father’s image. Flynn originally instructed Clu to create the perfect system, but Clu wound up usurping his maker and building a dictatorship. Before Clu can kill Sam in the games, Quorra (Olivia Wilde) comes to the rescue, saving Sam and bringing him to his real father who’s been trapped in the grid all this time. Together they must defeat Clu before he can gather the intelligence that would allow his army to invade the real world.

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