I've never seen the original TRON, so I didn't know what to expect from the sequel. I was hoping for a visually beautiful movie that sounded amazing and gave me those great action-movie adrenaline rushes. I was positive that's what I was going to get when I heard Daft Punk was doing the film score. On that front, TRON is exactly what I was hoping for and met all of my expectations.
The other great thing about watching TRON? It was a pressure-free viewing experience for me. As a geek, it's more often than not that I head into the theater feeling nervous and verklempt and/or I leave feeling frustrated and angry. Always being worried about whether or not a script will do justice to an original film or comic is kind of awful. Having no sentimental attachments to a movie at all was a welcome relief.
|The Dude still abides...|
The film just sort of slowed to a beautiful halt. Everything was still gorgeous, but the plot started to fall into every cliche you could possibly imagine. But honestly...I didn't care. I'm going to compare it to the Tomb Raider movies in that sense. Tomb Raiders are a guilty pleasure. (What with all that time-stopping and shark-punching.)
Whereas the first three Indy movies are set in a world that feels real, the Tomb Raider movies take place in a universe all their own, where anything can happen. TRON is similar. When I was watching it, I was able to let go and realize the movie played by its own rules.
Part of the problem, and this will sound strange, is that Jeff Bridges is such an incredible actor. The intention of the scene doesn't matter. If Bridges is in frame, he pulls focus. In his first few scenes, where he is meant to appear as a strange and out-of-touch guru type figure, he's so good at seeming calm and disconnected from his own humanity that it sucks some of the energy out of the film.
Sam, the younger son character, is meant to be our lead. He's the one we follow and emote with, but let's face it, anytime Bridges is in a scene, I'm watching him. (That sounds creepy.) So if Bridges seems down, the film slows down. Because he's just that good.
Some of the characters' abilities and identities were hard for me to keep track of having not seen the original. But again, I didn't really care because the movie kept me visually and audibly busy. Not only is the score amazing, the sound design is incredible.
And we have a fun new action heroins on our hands here folks, she goes by the name of "Quorra". She's not quite what I was hoping for, because frankly, I'm always hoping for another Sigourney Weaver or Geena Davis...and that may never happen. Also, the very nature of Quorra's character makes her kind of an innocent, so she can't really be the domineering action heroine fans like me are accustomed to.
But her fight scenes are a blast to watch and her costume is going to be one you'll see at cons for a while.
Get to the Point
In the end, despite some minor plot problems, cliches, and mysterious character introductions in the beginning that are never paid off (Cillian Murphy is in the movie for 2.5 seconds and they really focus on him, making you think he will return. He never does.) I'd say this is a thumbs up. If you're on the fence, see it. Every movie has problems, but this movie is so much fun that you ultimately won't care about any flaws.
It's light action fun, it sounds and looks amazing, it's a movie you could take your kids to and not be embarrassed in any way by anything age inappropriate. More than anything else, it has Jeff Bridges and some sweet, sweet 80's nostalgia. There's a scene in the beginning of the film that shows Sam walking through a dusty arcade, kicking on a jukebox that plays some Eurythmics, and it will just instantly take you back to the days when arcade games and New Wave music were cool because they were cool, not because they were fodder for ironic or sarcastic comedians on VH1 clip shows.
That moment is a great metaphor for the movie, kicking the dust off of something most people think is out-of-date or laughable and proving that it still has life. It's fun for anyone who grew up in the eighties, it will be fun for kids, and more than anything else, you can never go wrong with the energetic electronica of Daft Punk.