Not learning a thing from the Wachowski brothers The Matrix sequel disasters, Disney decided to push a TRON reprise through the holiday movie portal and with options to view it in three dimensions or two.
Here’s the premise. In 1982, Sam Flynn’s dad, Kevin, was an adventurer into newly discovered cyberspace. One day, he just disappears.
A couple of decades later, Sam is led to Dad’s long-abandoned video arcade. He figures out the code to break into Master Control Program and gets sucked into the portal.
Jeff Bridges reprises the role of Kevin Flynn. He got trapped in his creation and for two decades was forced to watch his non-aging look-alike, former ally and now megalomaniac, Clu create a police state.
Clu’s goal is to conquer the real world.
TRON: Legacy is not a good movie. It’s not even close. Visually stunning. Yes. The mostly black and white, glow-in-the-dark effects — especially in three-dimensions — are a mind-blow.
Most impressive is how first-time director Joseph Koskinski handles Bridges as the ageless Clu. The character is a meld of Bridges real face, some plastic and putty, computer-generated airbrushing and a look-alike body.
The result is creepy with a capital C. However, Bridges is a great-looking villain with nothing to do. TRON: Legacy is a common chase movie couched in $170 million of spectacular effects.
Blame four TV writers. Their plot quickly hits filmdom’s version of a firewall. The attempt to continue the once-original premise has so many glitches that the web-driven concept crashes.
In 1982, the best place to play a video game was at an arcade. Some of the games were impressive. Personal computers in every home were few years away, and the Internet was a total mystery. That’s why the outstanding graphics, special effects and TRON's unique story blazed a new path.
Since then, we have been inundated with web-based sci-fi and horror with now-commonplace special effects. All of them deploy nifty digital tricks, and these days one pretty much looks like the next.
Once in awhile, one comes along that reinvents state of the art. That is what happened with last year’s effects intensive Avatar and may be the case of TRON: Legacy.
Other than superior graphics and terabyte upon terabyte of effects, the sequel is about 26 years too late. And this isn’t that special.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG for mature themes and some violence. It opens Friday, Dec. 17 at the Carmike 12 and the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.