Review: Tron Legacy

Directed By: Joseph Kosinksi
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde

Displacement of identity via corruption of the soul is the message at the heart of Tron Legacy. On premise alone this film has an incredible opportunity for depth and introspection.

The Grid is a fascist state. Factions are separated via colour; costume differentiating allegiance, either to leader of the regime, CLU, (displaying red or yellow) or Grid dwellers, those passive or awaiting a rebellion (in white or blue). As CLU is fashioned in Kevin Flynn’s own image, director Joseph Kosinski employed cutting edge digital ‘sculpturing’ to ensure Jeff Bridges could play opposite himself aged twenty years younger. For the most part the result is outstanding. Belief in this concept is essential, not only for credibility of the film, but because these characters are the same person. Despite being pegged as the villain, CLU is faultless. He is everything young, perfectionist Flynn intended him to be.

Creator of the original Tron film in 1982, Steven Lisberger, is an unashamed hippie. His idea that a new generation have a responsibility to tame the technological beast he helped conceive is reflected in Tron Legacy’s hippie vibe and optimistic ending. Jeff Bridges plays Flynn as Jeffrey Lebowski trapped inside a bad trip. His dialogue, even his attire, a flowing robe that functions as a Zen update on The Dude’s towelling dressing gown, are seemingly constructed as Lisberger’s mouthpiece.

Yet what this new world of Tron Legacy signifies is explained only by the notion that perfection is imperfection; that impeccably functioning technology is somehow wrong. There are flourishes of brilliance, particularly in score, costumes and set design; Flynn’s neo-Victorian home mirrors that of his son Sam’s in the real world. However this brilliance is often buried beneath messy, disjointed action sequences and a story that fails to make any sense at all.

Tron Legacy is released in the UK and U.S. on 17th December.

© 2010 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.