I was in a mild state of anger when I saw the original Tron at one of the base
theaters on Mchord AFB in 1983. I was in the Air Force Reserves, had just finished a
UTA (Unit Training Assembly) and my ex made me mad about something (forgotten
what). So, before going home that night, I went to see this new movie which involved
computers, although I was not that computer literate at the time. I was so angry about
whatever, I don’t even remember if I enjoyed it or not. But eventually I bought Tron on
vhs and have enjoyed watching it every now and then ever since.
Nearly thirty years later and a bit more computer literate, I was quite elated
when Disney announced they were doing a sequel to the 1982 original. Steve Lisberger
returns as producer along with Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprising their roles as
Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley. Tron Legacy would not even be worth watching without
these two primary characters.
It would be advisable for those who are totally unfamiliar with this cult classic,
to check out Disney’s Tron from 82 on either vhs or dvd, and if possible, read the two
part graphic novel Tron: The Betrayal from Marvel. Published just before Legacy’s re-
lease, Betrayal covers the 28 year period of Flynn’s life after Tron right up to the point
where the sequel begins.
Twenty-seven year old Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the extraordinarily tech
skilled son of Kevin Flynn, who without any prior notice or warning, vanished 20 years
ago leaving Sam and the prosperous Encom company he helped to become the world’s
leading video game and media empire. He’s also kind of a rebel, ripping up the city
streets on a motorcycle and causing havoc at Encom by downloading a certain piece of
money making software, then releasing it on the web- for free.
When Bruce Boxleitner’s Alan Bradley, now an exec at Encom, receives a page
from Kevin’s number from the old arcade, he manages to salve Sam’s radical behavior e-
nough to convince him to investigate. Sam does, and like his father 28 years ago, is
zapped into the same computer world. Only much more advanced and dangerous. Unlike
Kevin’s chaotic, digitized ride through circuitry and processors in 1982, Sam’s journey is
instantaneous, which is rather disappointing considering all the high tech special f/x.
Essentially, Tron Legacy is much more character driven than it’s predecessor,
which to some may seem boring. Director Joseph Kosinski carries the story forward
dramatically as well as visually, coupled with a few interesting twists as Sam locates
his dad via a beautiful, soldierly Iso program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and un-
fortunately encounters Kevin’s renegade program Clu, who, like the MCP (Master
Control Program) of 1982, has commandeered the “Grid” for his own purposes. There’s
also the added attraction of British actor Michael Sheen as the duplicitous Castor, the
Grid’s barkeeper whose clean white garb belies his personality.
Three dimensional viewing, like rock n’ roll, is here to stay. At this writing, there
are over 30 movies scheduled for a 3D release in 2011. Exciting for some , nauseating for
others. In Tron Legacy’s case, a clever “Wizard Of Oz” technique was used by saving the
3d portion for the Grid only; a nostalgic throwback to 1930’s Technicolor.
While it probably won’t win any special awards for acting, directing, writing or
even best picture ( not even a nomination), Tron Legacy serves as a strong reminder that
like Independence day, a sci-fi movie can have a good story as well as good special ef-