TRON: Legacy (2010) Directed by Joseph Kosinski. With Jeff Bridges, Garret Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner and Michael Sheen.
Released in 1982, the original Tron was never what you might call a classic. Yes, it has achieved cult status over the years for its experimental visuals and nostalgic charm, but it has always played as something of an enjoyable mess. Fast forward 28 years – a world in which we’re all plugged into ‘the grid’, and a sequel seems like the best idea since the Sinclair Spectrum.
Sadly, TRON: Legacy isn’t as smart as it ought to be. Where The Matrix was an incisive, wildly entertaining allegory on our day-to-day interaction with technology, TRON side-lines depth in favour of eye-popping visuals. That said, the production design is a beautifully realised updating of the 1982 world-inside-a-world. A place of sleek, clinical efficiency. A place where Jeff Bridges is God.
Director Joseph Kosinski is successful in creating a tone that complements the original vision, but isn’t helped by a wasteful script and a forgettable central performance from Garret Hedlund, who as the hero, is the most uninteresting character in the piece.
The soundtrack, provided by ‘tech-noir’ masters, Daft Punk, adds beauty and depth to the already stunning visuals. However, a nightclub appearance by the pair, in which they are asked by Michael Sheen to up the tempo of the music for an action scene is guilty of clumsy, fourth wall breakage. Moreover, Sheen’s overacting turn has the whiff of a bad Dr Who screen test.
It could be said that TRON: Legacy is a $170m, two hour Daft Punk music video. It’s beautiful to look at, but there’s not enough going on. Olivia Wilde adds a little vulnerability, and Jeff Bridges’ dual turn as good guy and bad lends some otherwise lacking heft, but the hero’s journey feels too generic to thrill. Overall, despite some good elements, it feels like a perfect opportunity squandered. 3/5