Review of “Tron: Legacy”
I don’t normally review films on this blog, but the last film I saw had quite an impact on me and I would like to do a post about it.
I didn’t see “Tron” when it first came out. I wasn’t gaming nerd or sci fi geek in those days. In fact, I wasn’t interested in sci fi at all until I saw “Star Wars” (which was in late 1982, on video), and after that I could be more accurately described as a Star Was fanatic instead of a sci fi geek.
Anyway, it happened that “Tron” was on TV a few months ago, and the day after we saw it, we went to the cinema to see “Resident Evil – Afterlife” and “Tron: Legacy” was trailered there. So, our interest piqued, we went to see it when it hit the cinemas.
“Tron: Legacy” is part remake, part sequel. Set twenty years on, Sam Flynn, son of the original main character Kevin Flynn, tries to find out why his father disappeared without a trace, and discovers that Kevin was sucked into the ‘net’ – or at least what the idea of the ‘net’ was in the 80’s.
The film makes no attempt to update the computer graphics of the film from the basic pixels that we had in 80’s video games, but it couldn’t really do otherwise, if it wanted to remain true to the original film. The best special effects, I have to say, involve the creation of a CGI Jeff Bridges. The real, aged, Jeff Bridges turns up later in the film and you know the younger version you’ve seen earlier has to be a CGI creation, because frankly Jeff Bridges just isn’t that young anymore. But it’s so real that you do start to wonder if maybe somehow you have gone back in time – and that, in essence, is the spirit behind the whole film.
I couldn’t decide when I saw “Tron: Legacy” whether I liked it or not. It’s a film with one foot in the 80’s and one foot in the 21st century. But this is precisely what it sets out to achieve.
The best and worst parts of this film, to my mind, are actually the same scene. Sam Flynn, in his hunt for his father, returns to the video arcade, Flynn’s, that was featured in the original film. It’s been closed up and abandoned for 20 years, and yet when he turns on the power, all the retro computer games flare into life. I find it hard to believe anyone thought to pay the electricity bill in an abandoned building for the last 20 years.
When the power comes on, however, the juke box starts playing – at an incredible volume – Journey’s “Separate Ways”. This song is so indicative of the 80’s, and so appropriate a soundtrack for the themes in “Tron” – and such a powerful reminder of why Journey sum up the decade of the 80’s – that I was willing to forgive the whole issue of why the abandoned arcade still had electricity.
If you’re an 80’s kid and a sci fi fan, you’ll find things to love about “Tron: Legacy”, in spite its flaws.
This film’s power to take me back to the 80’s is the reason it had such a profound effect on me. The “Separate Ways” soundtrack was part of the impact, and for that reason I leave you with the video – available on Youtube – of this song. Music, outfits, hairstyles – it’s just so wonderfully 80s in every way.