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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #560 (Vol. 11, No. 51). This edition is for the week of December 13--19, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"TRON: Legacy"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"TRON: Legacy"  by Mike Smith
Time Warp Toy Box 2010  by ED Tucker
The Simpsons Christmas Special 1989  by Chris Woods
Death Note  by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Merry Christmas .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Walt Disney Pictures     
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Rated: PG
Running Time: 2 hour 7 mins

My fondest memory of the original film “TRON” was the sweet video arcade game that it inspired. When it came to throwing discs or racing my light cycle, I had few equals. Not really pertinent for this review but I thought I’d mention it.

1989. In his bedroom young Sam Flynn is getting ready for bed. His father, Kevin (Bridges) is telling him a story from his past. A story about TRON and Clu and getting “on the grid.” In a nod to the marketing of films, he is illustrating his story with “TRON” action figures. With a promise to show Sam the grid the next day, Kevin heads off to his office, never to be seen again.

20 years later. The company Kevin Flynn founded, ENCON, has maintained its status as the world’s number one creator of new computer software and games. After a meeting of board members Sam (Hedlund) is called aside by his father’s closest friend, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, joining Bridges in reprising his role from the first film). It seems that Alan has just received a page from Kevin’s office phone. A phone that has been disconnected for decades. When Sam investigates he finds himself drawn into a world he had only heard about. A world unlike any he has even seen.

Normally when Hollywood makes a sequel, it follows the original film within a few years. As an example, next summer will bring us the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film in eight years. Of course, there are exceptions. There were 25 years between “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money.” 23 years between this past fall’s “Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps” and the original “Wall Street.” And 16 years between “Godfather II” and “Godfather III.” I mention this because it’s been 28 years since the word “TRON” has been on a theatre marquee, which makes me wonder if its target audience has even seen the original film.

Full of enough bright lights to make Clark Griswold jealous, “TRON: Legacy” is an entertaining film that tries to make up for its lack of substance with some pretty impressive action set pieces. Many of the familiar tricks found in the first film return but, thanks to the advancements in technology, they come off much smoother. Whereas in “TRON” the computerized world was very stilted here, when it’s allowed to, the world comes alive. The visual effects are top notch, and do an able job of keeping your mind off of the plot. I’m not sure if the writers were thinking “let’s cross “Bladerunner” with “Star Wars” and see what happens” or not, but with four writers credited to the script there should be more of a coherent story. I get the feeling they were trying to be philosophical about the use of technology but that could just be me.

Bridges does well in a dual role, playing not only the older Kevin Flynn but his early TRON character Clu. But there is a sense of creepiness about the performance because director Kosinski has used a motion capture version of Bridges that makes him look like a young Alec Baldwin, but with creepy eyes. It’s very unsettling at first to see a 33-year-old Bridges on screen, especially when I just saw the 61-year-old version in “True Grit.” However, Bridges handles both men capably. Hedlund is earnest as Sam and Wilde, who according to Google is the 96th most searched woman on the Internet, is also well cast as Kevin Flynn’s assistant. Director Kosinski, making his film debut, tries his best with the material he has. Next up: his remake of Disney’s other sci-fi story from the past, “The Black Hole.”

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “TRON: Legacy”  

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. This week's movie review of "TRON: Legacy" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.