By Tessa Stathis
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
"I'm not a program. I'm a user." -Sam Flynn
Over winter break, I was graced with the opportunity to see both "TRON: Legacy" and "True Grit." Although I enjoyed "True Grit" to a certain extent, I really just don't like westerns; giving me an inability to critique them fairly and properly.
From a quick scan on imdb.com, it is apparent that most of the user reviews on "TRON: Legacy" are disgracing this newest installment from Disney. Some complaints are indignant with the departure of the plot from the prequel: others are angry at what they call "unrealistically stupid" dialogue. But what is the truth behind "TRON: Legacy," and is it worth up to $13 at the Regal Carousel theatre?
In "TRON: Legacy," Sam Flynn (played by Garrett Hedlund) is entranced by stories his father, Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges) tells him of a special world within the computer that lives on a landscape called the Grid. With the help of a digitally copied version of himself (CLU) and a computer program named TRON, Kevin rules and keeps peace and order on the Grid. One day while Sam is still young his father mysteriously disappears, leaving him the heir to the multi-million dollar computer company ENCOM.
Flash forward years later to 29-year-old Sam, who is childishly rebellious and refuses to take responsibility for his father's company, which has become corrupt under rich share holders. One day Sam receives a page from his father's office "“ a telephone line that has been disconnected for twenty years. Nostalgically upset, Sam enters his father's office and examines his old computer, looking for the files that his father had been working on before he disappeared. However, as he types in the correct code a portal opens up which transports him into the computer world of the Grid, where he finds out that all of the old stories his father used to tell him are true.
As someone who didn't see the original "TRON," I cannot offer my opinion to whether "Legacy" equaled the standards set by the first "TRON." However, I am an avid 3D fan and will always shell out the extra cash to view movies in all of their three-dimensional glory. Among the ones that I have seen are James Cameron's "Avatar," "Megamind," "Monsters vs. Aliens," "Toy Story 3," and "Alice in Wonderland." Clearly, the best of these is "Avatar," which won three different Academy Awards and entranced the general public with its eye-pleasing graphics.
"TRON," a full year after "Avatar" was released, offers moviegoers the same kind of cinematic experience felt in the Cameron masterpiece. Astonishingly visually appealing, the 3D sequences (which only begin when Sam enters the world of the Grid) seem to leap up and grab the viewer, helping him/her to feel surrounded and overwhelmed by this strange new world. However, the Grid is a striking contrast to "Avatar's" fantasy land, Pandora: instead of seeing a world filled completely with bright colors, the darkness of the Grid is only punctuated by the bright, color-identifying costumes of the characters and their machines of transport. Also unlike Pandora, which is filled so haphazardly with different types of plants and animals that it seems almost chaotic, there is a rhythmic, patterned feel to the Grid that is so inhuman it feels dangerous. The visual eye-candy is intensified in scenes like the light cycle, where Disney shows its knack for presenting violent movies in a very kid-safe manner. Also displaying Disney's prowess at animation is the unique fact that the younger version of Jeff Bridges (both in the beginning and as CLU) was completely digitally animated, but it's startling how real he looks.
Despite the fact that the visual appearance far outdistanced expectations, the plotline of "TRON" seems to fall short. However, that is not for lack of trying; rather, it seems that "TRON: Legacy's" plotline may be too much of a suspension of disbelief for modern day moviegoers. "It was made back in the 80s, when people didn't know that much about computers or that they just run on the numbers 1 and 0"¦ People didn't really believe there was a little world inside the computer, but it was less of a stretch than it is now," said senior Nick Kier. And he may very well be right: at times, "TRON's" plotline seems a little ridiculous and far-fetched; as is the case when Kevin announces that within the world of the computer he found all of the answers to the great unknown questions of science and medicine. However, there are times when the plotline doesn't seem like a complete fail, most notably in the scenes that feature the older Jeff Bridges, whom portrays his character's isolation and deepening madness quite effectively.
If you're looking for something that is a visual delight and has cool, otherworldly action sequences, "TRON: Legacy" is your movie. But if your movie- taste is more tuned to depth of emotion, superb acting, and believable plot line, the Coen Brother's "True Grit" might be more suitable.
3 out of 5 stars