By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
Tron Legacy is a sequel to the 1980’s Disney sci-fi film Tron, about computer programmers who enter a digital world and do battle with artificial intelligence. I’ve never seen it. Neither has much of the world, so the filmmakers must perform the delicate balancing act of appeasing fans by building on the story and creating a stand-alone film that newcomers can latch on to. Sadly, they don’t manage this feat very well (for an example of how to do it right, see Joss Whedon’s Serenity) and for the bulk of the film’s running time the audience must divide their attention between a by-the-numbers world domination story-line and techno-mythology that has potential, but is under-cooked in its presentation.
The lead actor, Garrett Hedlund, comes across as a poor man’s Christian Bale, his cocky swagger reminiscent of Bale’s character from Newsies or his public facade version of Bruce Wayne. He stays this way throughout the entire film, despite some piecemeal attempts at character development (though this isn’t all his fault, the screenplay lets him down). Olivia Wilde shows enough spunk and emotion to register as more than just a pretty face. Jeff Bridges is better here than the material he’s given and finds nuances to his dual roles to hold the audience’s interest.
Visually the film is stupendous, and the effects, action, and retro musical score by Daft Punk were enough to hold my attention for about half of the film. The speed-bike and disc duels held within the digital world are very entertaining, and there are a handful of decent fights. Given that the film goes to such great lengths to show off worlds created by man and technology, a major theme essentially stating that the natural world and love of family are far more impressive did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by me. It just wasn’t enough for me to recommend that anyone pay above matinee price. Tron Legacy is rated PG. It has no sex or nudity, mild language, and bloodless violence. GRADE: C+
For a better example of standalone sci-fi, check out Joss Whedon’s Serenity!
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.