Tron Legacy

As stated in my review of the GameBoy Advance game Tron 2.0 Killer App, I have never seen the 1982 movie Tron. Being the commercial geniuses that they are, I was quite sure Disney would re-
release the original on DVD and/or Blu-ray in time
for the sequel's premiere.

Guess what didn't happen. The good news is that you don't need to see the first movie in order to enjoy the second. Some bits and pieces may be a little vague, but as a whole, Tron Legacy is a stand-alone picture.

The Belgian release date is 26 January 2011, but a special avant premiere was hosted on 22 December 2010 in order to gross money for Music For Life
(a cause that tries to help out AIDS orphans). As such, ravishing linguistic talent Marianne De Voecht, glorious director Arne Keustermans, graphic design genius Dimitri Sakelaropolus, intelligent doctorate-
to-be Pim Verhulst and yours truly had the chance to experience Tron Legacy on the big screen a month in advance.

In 3D, no less. Sure, I saw some 3D in the past (e.g. the fantastic Captain EO in Disneyland Paris), but I had never seen a so-called "digital 3D movie". There's a substantial difference between the old and the new process - a difference I won't explain here. After seeing Tron Legacy, I don't understand what the current 3D-hype is all about : nothing ever "popped", I got a headache after a mere 10 minutes and the picture was very dark. I took off my glasses at certain points during the movie and discovered that the whole screen was a lot brighter without the 3D-glasses.

In short : the spectacles didn't deliver much spectacle. So what about the movie?

It's a mixed bag. The visuals are truly marvelous, outstanding and gobsmacking eye-candy. I have said it before and I'll say it again : Jurassic Park set the benchmark and few movies have equalled the excellence of the 17-year old dinofest. Jumanji, the Star Wars prequels, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull etc. all failed in the special effects department. Tron Legacy, however, once again shows how incredibly cool sfx can be when used in a proper way. This is a movie that can't be made with models or opticals, it truly demands the computer to achieve what's on the screen. And it rocks, it truly does. See it in the cinemas or on the biggest screen possible to be blown away. The Blu-ray will sure be a reference demo disc.

The music, courtesy of French duo Daft Punk, is equally stunning and perfectly accompagnies said imagery. Chapeau!
The cast, led by the ever reliable Jeff Bridges, doesn't disappoint either. Garrett Hedlund proves himself to be a worthy leading man and Olivia Wilde - I had never heard of her, for I have never seen House, M.D. - holds her own.

But, but, but ... the story? The screenplay? The suspension of disbelief? This is where the movie falters. Sure, it's a family flick (and a Disney one at that), but that's no safeguard for crappy writing. A little more finetuning story-wise would have been welcome.

In closing, Tron Legacy is a must-see - and I stress "see". You will not see a more visually impressive, engaging, rousing, bad- & kick-ass, testosterone-filled movie this year (or in 2011, for that matter). I dare say it's an entertaining and fun movie. But a "good" movie, it ain't. Which is a little sad, since they had 28 full years to come up with a proper sequel.

And please, avoid the 3D-version like the plague.

Julian De Backer, 23 December 2010