When the original “Tron” came out in 1982, I was three years old. I was enthralled, amazed and became an instant techno-geek.
To be fair, it does not take much to captivate a toddler. The movie has been touted again and again as a box office flop, but even today, watching it is like watching other “niche” geek films, like “Logan’s Run.”
“Tron: Legacy” fills the void for movie geeks that we have been missing for decades. The story line is ok, the imagery is ok, despite the 3D showing, but it was a movie that anyone who loved the first one had to see.
The story is that 25 years ago, Kevin Flynn, an inspiring and forward thinking programmer finds a way to travel back and forth between reality and a virtual world known as “The Grid.” During one visit, a virtual civil war takes place, based on the premise of a cold, calculating program begins trying to “take over the world,” which traps Kevin Flynn in the virtual world.
The movie starts in the present where we meet Sam Flynn, Kevin’s son and majority shareholder of his father’s computing company, Encom, played reasonably well by Garrett Hedlund. After the disappearance of his father, he grew into a rebellious young man who visits his company once a year to wreak havoc. In this year’s iteration, he breaks into his company to steal the latest release of an operating system and release it for free on the internet.
Things change for Sam when his father’s friend and co-programmer, Alan Bradley, visits him with a message. A page was sent to Alan’s pager (which doesn’t go without a quip from Sam) from Kevin Flynn’s office, a derelict arcade that has been shut up for 25 years. When Sam goes to investigate, he is pulled into the Grid where he is confronted by CLU 2, the villain program that is bent on domination.
Eventually Sam is reunited with his father, played by Jeff Bridges, who seems more like The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” than as a father who hasn’t seen his son in 25 years. Then the classic science fiction race to the finish begins in a bid to save the world. While father and son work together, they are joined by Quorra, played by Olivia Wilde, who is a program written by the operating system rather than a human user. Quorra adds a bit of covert sexuality to the trio, but the presence is not a necessary component to the story, other than she meets the unwritten requirement that all sci-fi movies must have beautiful women in skin tight clothing. Thank you, unwritten rules, thank you.
This movie is destined to do the same thing that the original Tron accomplished. Create a moderate showing in box office receipts, and then captivate a new generation of closet computer and sci-fi geeks. There is nothing wrong with that, but know before going that this is not a movie for people who are not computer geeks. My wife would be asleep in the first ten minutes. This is not a date movie; this movie has two specific purposes. One purpose is to allow us to geek-out appropriately, and the other is to introduce future geeks to science fiction and be in awe.
I recommend this movie, but only because I have been addicted to Tron since I was three.