DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Tron: Legacy - Blu-ray Review

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Tron Legacy Movie Review

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5 Stars

Greetings, Programs!

Ah, the magic of a child with a quarter at the arcade.  You remember.  The sweaty palms.  The seemingless endless GAME OVER and CONTINUE? screens.  The flashing lights.  Journey – fronted by Steve Perry - on the jukebox.  The screams of amazement.  The cheers.  Yeah, those were the days; both innocent and pure.  In 1982, Steven Lisberger’s TRON – the first computer animated film – effectively captured the romance and the imaginative joy that video games bring the youth.  The movie might have been inspired by the general greatness of Pong, but it went beyond the game’s Atari qualities and presented moviegoers with a whole new sci-fi world full of lightcycles, flying Identity discs, and something called The Grid.  Now, thirty years later, its sequel – directed by Joseph Kosinski – soars onto 3D and IMAX screens everywhere, maybe not as revolutionary as its predecessor but certainly a film that is nothing short of amazing.

As far as the narrative goes, TRON: Legacy picks up in 1989 and – in true Disney fashion – begins with Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) recounting the events of the first film to his son as a bedtime story.  And then, he disappears for about twenty years.  We know - being the original audience of TRON - what’s happened.  The virtual world of ROM and CLU he built many years ago has “beamed” him back into its virtual dimension.  Yet, Sam (Garrett Hedland) grows up thinking his father’s story of TRON to be a simple childhood tale in the digital world and the reality is that his father has abandoned him.  As a result, Sam has no interest in his father’s company ENCOM – short of pulling acts of domestic terrorism against it from time to time - and the company (including its board members) has no interest in him or in Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner).  They are profiting and that’s all that matters.  Bradley is considered a has-been and Sam is of little interest to them.  Yet, when a mysterious page is received Sam is called into his father’s old haunting grounds and discovers the truth behind his father’s disappearance.

Co-starring Olivia (Über sexy cyber chick) Wilde, Michael Sheen, James Frain, and Beau Garrett, TRON: Legacy is the first, in a long run of sci-fi much anticipated sequels, that doesn’t completely suck.  Far from it, in fact, the film is thrilling and completely engrossing in its spatial exploration of a realm first introduced in the early part of the 1980’s.  This is science fiction Geekdom (yes, with a capital G) at its finest – if you don’t think too hard about what went before.  While the story doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining how things operate in The Grid, the immediacy of the events – thrusting Sam into the games early (in what is nearly a remake of the original game scenes from TRON) – overtake the picture and provide a rush that cannot be unlike a swift ride upon a lightcycle.  Yet, for every minute detail left unexplained are a number of things the absolute sense of adventure behind TRON: Legacy gets right.  Even the 3D is mind-blowing exhilarating.  Balanced with a sort of half-and-half appeal, the world of TRON is in glorious 3D, while the real world is thankfully rendered in 2D.  You will be encouraged to keep your glasses on, but know there is no earthly reason to do so in the real world scenes of TRON: Legacy.

Lots of creative hands have tinkered on the script, but ultimately its bottom-lined credits lie on the shoulders of Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.  Thankfully, they cover some of their dialogue shortcomings – especially with the role of Sam - with heartfelt sincerity in storyline and emotion that outweighs anything negative and nitpicky I could point out about the script.  There are also tasty bits of humor thrown in to help ease the problematic areas concerning what gets left unexplained.  The music – provided by Daft Punk – is tonally fitting and not as Hans Zimmerish as some critics would lead you to believe.  This is a synth-like world and the synth-like mood is entirely there thanks to this majestic club-drawn duo.  This is a landmark score not to be missed by the like-minded enthusiasts out there.  Euro and otherworldly, this pairing of music and cinema was the right decision to help fuel this picture with.

Sure, the virtual CLU (young Jeff Bridges) might appear a little rubbery and artificial, but within the context of TRON: Legacy it absolutely works.  CLU has taken over and is searching for the real Flynn at the film’s beginning and it is up to Sam and his father to make things right again.  The flashbacks – telling the story within the missing years since last we were exposed to the digital world of TRON – are effectively rendered through a stunning use of CGI verisimilitude that even George Lucas would envy.  Seeing Boxleitner back in the title role of TRON again is also a cinematic kick.   His dueling ID disc skills are still on display and the Bridges/Boxleitner team-up (during the flashback) is certainly fun bit of cinematic nostalgia.

Bridges, continuing his Big Lebowski-acid trip as The Dude, loves this pseudo-science stuff and reveals it with “far out” dialogue and moments of meditation.  It might be a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge to what went before, but Bridges’ modern-day take on Flynn is like gravy on a big pile of sweet mashed potatoes.  It’s certainly very real and very hip and, thanks to Bridges, all about The Dude.  Sheen, in a role that can only be described as Bowie-esque in the most glammed out way, is also a scene-stealer.  I’m sure some will fault Sheen’s performance as being too Rocky Horror, but his role as a nightclub owner – where Daft Punk plays – named Zuse is hysterically a quality performance.  It’s overblown and campy and completely in spirit with the neon business of the film.

That’s why TRON: Legacy works.  It’s lighthearted and fun and not to be taken too seriously – unlike Cameron’s holier-than-thou Avatar.  The movie occasionally spikes its gel with some B-movie dialogue, but never dissipates in its smattering of glossy fun.  Yet, when it comes to its computer graphics, it is a film not to be missed seeing and enjoying in theatres.  From its moments of Star Wars: A New Hope aerial gunning to its Blade Runner-like atmosphere, TRON: Legacy honors what went before in the world of sci-fi and transports its audience into a new one – all shimmering and bold and completely neon.  For a sequel some naysayers said would never happen, TRON: Legacy is certainly worth the effort; worth the waiting; and worth your time and money.

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Tron Legacy Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer
: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
Cast: Jeff Bridges; Garrett Hedlund; Olivia Wilde
Genre: Sci-fi | Action | Adventure
Tagline: The only way to win is to survive.
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Memorable Movie Quote:
"Alan, you're acting like I'm going to find him sittin' at work, just, "Hey, kiddo, lost track of time.""
Theatrical Release Date: December 17, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
April 5, 2011.

Synopsis: TRON: LEGACY is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that's unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winner Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world's leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn's Arcade—a signal that could only come from his father—he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe—a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape. Presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and scored by Grammy Award®-winning electronic music duo Daft Punk.

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{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Tron: Legacy - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 5, 2011
Screen Formats: Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy; BD-Live
Packaging: Slipcover in original pressing

Reveling in the magnificent beauty of its two worlds, Tron Legacy is a stunning release of HD beauty.  Disney’s 1080p/AVC-encoded Blu-ray transfer will keep eyes glued to the screen as the scenes shift from the real world of San Francisco, USA to the digitized zip code of The Grid.  The colors are perfect and illuminating with their determined neon decadence and artistic pop.  While there are minor beefs with the sudden change between 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratios during the film, Legacy holds its strength in the delicate beauty of its details.  Never before have such levels of exactness been released onto the public.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track produces enough sound to swallow its audience in.  If you didn’t appreciate it then, you will absolutely love what Daft Punk did with the score here.  Both in sight and in sound, Tron Legacy dazzles.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Unfortunately, there is none.

Special Features:

Boy, is this release ever a smart one.  Inside the 4-disc set, you get the 3D version (playable only on #D television screens), the blu-ray version, a DVD copy, and the original Tron (also on blu-ray).  Quite a release there in itself, but that doesn’t even cover the special features.  ‘The Next Day’ provides those with video game skills to unlock this interactive feature which smartly leads Tron fans to witness what might be the basis for the next film.  There’s also a peek at the animated series coming from Disney XD.  And numerous looks at the film’s glossy special effects which seamlessly tie in the original film with the new one – including a look at how Old Jeff Bridges became young Jeff Bridges all over.

The complete breakdown of special features is as follows:

  • First Look at Tron: Uprising (2 min)
  • Launching the Legacy (10 min)
  • Visualizing ‘Tron’ (12 min)
  • Installing the Cast (12 min)
  • Disc Roars (3 min)
  • Daft Punk Music Video (3 min)
  • The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed
  • Disney Second Screen
  • Digital Copy
  • DVD
  • Tron (1982) Blu-ray

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