'Tron' makes you feel trapped in the Grid
Hugely high-tech and forward-thinking in its day, 'Tron' now looks cheesy and quaint in retrospect, with its blocky graphics and simplistic blips and bleeps. The original film from 1982 was all about the possibility of technology and the human imagination, and the adventures that could result from marrying the two, but only now are the computer-generated effects available to render this digital world in its fullest potential.
Hence, nearly three decades later, we have the sequel 'Tron: Legacy', which is in 3-D (of course) but is actually best viewed in IMAX 3-D, if that option is available to you. The whole point of the story and the aesthetics are that they're meant to convey an immersive experience. We're supposed to feel just as trapped inside this challenging and dangerous electronic realm as the film's characters.
And at over two hours, we are indeed trapped -- there is no justifiable reason for such a lengthy running time, especially given that the original got in, did what it had to do and got out in about an hour and a half. While director Joseph Kosinski's feature film debut is thrilling and cool-looking for about the first half, its races, games and visuals eventually grow repetitive, which only draws attention to how flimsy and preposterous the script is from Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
'Tron: Legacy' is a mishmash of pop culture references and movie rip-offs, Eastern philosophy and various religions, and one insanely cute, strategically placed Boston terrier. And with the return of Jeff Bridges in the lead role, there's plenty of Dude-ishness for you fans of 'The Big Lebowski'. (At one point he complains, "You're messing with my Zen thing, man.") It's all giddy, ridiculous fun for a while, set to an ideally integrated techno score by the French duo Daft Punk. But a little of this goes a long way, and eventually you realize there's not much "there" there, no real point beyond exhilaration.