[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B009S0V15Q][/pullquote] In the late 1970s and early 1980s computers were designed for home use and games were created to appeal to children and teenagers. Video arcades were filled with an entire generation who would come to see the personal computer become a staple of home life in the same way the television had a few decades earlier. So when TRON was released in 1982, it was the first time that a film had attempted to recreate these virtual worlds on the big screen. It was not a commercial or particular critical success, but it has obtained a cult following amongst kids of that era and it was only a matter of time before somebody thought to do it again using the spectacular special effects of today. 2010’s TRON: Legacy is the sequel that fans of the original wanted to see.
Set twenty years after the original, TRON: Legacy sees Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) sucked into the same virtual world as his father had and put through a series of trials whilst trying to find out why his dad never left the world. Along the way he meets CLU (a virtual copy of Kevin but still looking as he did in 1989) who desperately tries to use Sam as a way of getting to his father’s disc, which he hopes will provide him a way out of the virtual world and into the real world.
The first thing that is noticeable about TRON: Legacy is the retro 1980s soundtrack, which immediately provides the audience with a sense of nostalgia for the original. For the first hour it is a delight to be dragged back to the decade that introduced us to Kevin Flynn in the first place and clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into recreating the same mood and experience as the first film. There are little nods to the original throughout, but everything still feels fresh and innovative. The special effects provide a visual feast and it is incredible how far we’ve come with the technology to allow Jeff Bridges to still remain as young as he was 28 years previous, even if it struggles to accurately represent speech. There are light-cycles and disc battles and even a return of the eponymous TRON, which all help add to the sense of fun.
It’s a shame that TRON: Legacy loses its way and tries to do a little too much, which causes it to really drag in the final third. By the time we reach the final scenes we’ve had enough of everyone and a more brutal cut would help to have removed about 20 minutes of action and also helped to speed the action along at a sprightlier pace. Sam, CLU and Kevin are all nicely cast, and special mentions to Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and Castor (Michael Sheen) who both deal with the subject material with class and humour.