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dvd news

DVD Review: Tron Legacy

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Upon second viewing of Tron Legacy, Disney's follow-up to the first CG film made 27 years ago, I find myself forgiving some of the movie's flaws in favor of what it provides upon casual viewing: nice eye candy.

My problems with Legacy remain pretty much the same as when I reviewed the movie last December. Much of the film lacks the ability to make the viewer care much for the estrangled father-son relationship between Jeff Bridges' Kevin Flynn and Garret Hedlund's Sam Flynn, and I suspect that may be due to director Joseph Kosinski's shortcomings. He was wrestling with a technologically complex and expensive movie as his first studio film, and I suspect that he focused on getting an adequate performance out of his two leads but would up concentrating on making sure that all the processing power and rendering time was getting put to good use. Again, I cite Olivia Wilde's Quorra as the only character that made me give a damn about who they were. Bridges' second performance as the master of the digital domain came second but still felt stiff and forced at some parts. Cameo appearances from Michael Sheen, Bruce Boxleitner and a blink-and-you'll-miss-him Cillian Murphy were better received.

Still, I will say that Kosinski and his Disney backers are trying to make us care about seeing a Tron franchise get birthed. After spending $200 million on Legacy, Kosinski was far thinking enough to include two shorts that serve as bridges to a proposed third Tron movie. The first, "The Next Day", is unembarassedly aimed at the old school nerds like myself who remember the original Tron and the character of RAM, played by Dan Shor. Ram may have died in the first film and Shor's movie career with his digital alter-ego but I commend Kosinski for hiring the original actor to play Ram's user in this short film. This piece of fanboy love could easily have been struck from the marketing budget but wasn't, and as a fan of the original Tron and a guy that's wanted to see a Tron sequel for twenty years, I've gotta give props to Disney and Kosinski for making this.

The other film bridge is one that doesn't use any actors but instead lets your mind fill in the gaps. Likely David Warner was asking for stupid money to reprise his role as the evil CEO Ed Dillinger so the Legacy DVD marketing team found a smart way to get around that problem by having the father and son's computer chat recorded and played for us to read.

The film looks spectacular in Blu-ray. The lightcycle race, the disc wars battle, Castor's nightclub, Clu's battle cruiser, all look fantastic. The melding of Legacy's digital world with today's improved graphics and live-action look better than the crude black-and-white technique done in the original Tron, but that's what almost 30 years of technological improvements get you. And I'll say it again, Daft Punk's electro-synth score for the film is one of the best soundtracks for an action film in the past decade.

Unfortunately there's no audio track and I would have liked to have heard Kosinski and Bridges talk about their experience watching their movie. We do get a couple of featurettes that are worth their time to watch including a look at the infamous Comic-Con debut of the Tron sequel proof of concept video and a making of examination. For those that want to see more of what happened between the time Kevin Flynn got trapped inside the computer to the arrival of Flynn's son there's a preview of the animated Tron Uprising series coming out next year.

Included with the 5-disc set is the original Tron. A new print was made for this set and it's a marked improvement over the 20th anniversary disc that I own. If you're on the fence between buying Legacy or kicking that extra $20 to buy the original Tron 5-disc set, my advice is to go for the upgrade if you're a true fan of the '82 film.

The 3-D version of Tron Legacy? I saw it in theaters. I don't own a 3-D Blu-ray. I can't review that disc but it comes with the 5-disc set if you get it.

My original score for Tron Legacy still stands. If you want to rewatch the film again, you'll likely have the same feeling that you had after seeing Legacy the first time. This isn't a sequel that lives up to the original's nolstalgia, but then the original Tron had some unavoidable faults as well. How much replay value you get is up to you, program.

Review Score: 63 / 100

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