The original Tron was a very important moment in cinematic history. It employed the first use of computer graphics in a motion picture and inspired a whole new way of filmmaking - and included in the tidal wave of inspiration was John "Pixar" Lasseter. However, looking back on the original flick just recently, the script is a bit iffy. It's filled with cringey computer jargon that feels thrown in for the sake of it, and the plot - that essentially boils down to 'computer programmer's games are stolen by somebody who clearly doesn't look like a games maker at all, ends up regaining his intellectual property by accidentally ending up inside one of his creations, only to win and become the boss man' - wasn't all that great.
What was great was the world of 'the grid' itself, and that has been the reason for the enduring power of this out-of-the-blue 1980s milestone.
This sequel came as a little bit of a surprise on one hand, but on the other - considering the current, advanced state of CGI technology that the original movie set in motion - it makes total sense. What's more the plot is much more interesting than that of the first - even if certain areas could really do with some beefing up - being that it's essentially a son trying to find his father after a two decade absence.
Fortunately, after hearing a bunch of reviewers go on about a "disappointing plot", I was pleasantly surprised to find it actually much fuller than I'd been led to believe, albeit with some shading and definition left undone. However, Tron Legacy does two things very well - the looks, and the sounds.
Building on an already iconic look established in the first movie, Legacy finds us in a world of cool blues and threatening oranges - a maze-like world of neon glow and glassy surfaces. The visuals of the movie as-is are so strong in fact, that they totally over-ride the use of 3D. I saw it in 3D and suffice to say I barely noticed. This will partly be down to the overpoweringly good visuals of 'the grid', but also because you don't often get a sense of planes of distance - the very thing that provides 3D with its ability to make stuff poke out of the screen.
So despite disappointingly unnecessary 3D (the 3D previews were far better in that respect), the look of the Legacy clearly marks it as the visual experience of 2010 without a shadow of a doubt.
Moving on to the aural experience, and Tron Legacy boasts a superbly suited soundtrack from Daft Punk - something which has had the internet giddy with excitement since the announcement. The marriage of Daft Punk's electric orchestra sounds with Legacy's awe-inspiring digital vistas and cityscapes is perfect. Suffice to say that as soon as I left the cinema I bought a copy of the soundtrack CD.
So, all-in-all, it's a truly impressive and memorable visual and aural, with a plot that could use some extra shading - but which was nowhere near as flimsy as I'd been led to believe - and featuring solid performances from Hedlund and Bridges. Speaking of which, it's cool to see the elder Flynn after all these years, chilled out zen talk and all, with Hedlund successfully depicting a junior Flynn who is every bit his offspring, and every bit the modern day extreme sports playboy that you'd imagine he would have been all along.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this again on Blu-Ray ... in 2D. Here's hoping we get a quality package to go along with this thoroughly enjoyable techno-flick.