"Some things are worth the risk."Save for a few rarities, superhero movies don't always have the best rap when it comes to engaging plotlines. Some of the better ones get by mostly on gnarly special effects alone. But others do have that special combination of a compelling script that's further heightened by superior acting and exquisite effects. Last year's Tron: Legacy is more like the former.
Tron: Legacy is the sequel to the 1982 original sci-fi film Tron, which stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner. Bridges plays ENCOM software engineer Kevin Flynn who, after inventing his newest innovation, gets trapped in its virtual world dimension with no way out. In this current sequel, Kevin's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund)--now 27 years old--is in his father's old chair at ENCOM and embarks on a mission to find his him, at whatever cost.
Jumping inside a virtual arcade where he serves as one of the "toys," Sam is instantly thrust into a game of futuristic dodgeball, of sorts, where he is and his opponent (and a gang of virtual world bad guys, led by his father's archnemesis--an carbon copy--Clu) are pinned against each other to see who can slice the other with a disc. Sam, who rather quickly adapted to this new survival method, learns to navigate through each round by using his newfound abilities bringing him closer to his long lost father. In comes his father's confidante and apprentice Quorra (Olivia Wilde), whose slick moves rescues Sam from the seemingly endless match and brings him to his father. But Sam doesn't realize what kind of wound he opened entering this world and how dangerous it will be to get back, and with his father at that.
It bears repeating that the effects are so smooth it's like you're watching a video game, with you as the peg giving you the ultimate virtual effect. You're so engaged by the several stages of wonderment captured as Sam falls deeper into this realm that you almost forgot there was a storyline. Well, so did the director apparently. Bridges provides a heavy amount of dialogue well past the half hour mark in the movie, while also providing a more sentimental tone that it was missing before. But his ramblings and sentimental notes are often lost amidst a barrage of liquid-like effects as the audience at that point is far more invested in that instead. So instead it weakens the pace of the movie.
It's worth noting that Olivia Wilde is pretty badass in the movie. Her awesome, Matrix-like moves kicks can be added to an impressive list of female superhero characters who can hold their own--whether it be in a neck and neck car chase or a mano a mano physical fight. Too bad the script was too weak to further vitalize her character. In fact, the plot was a bit stringy throughout the entire movie and didn't properly elevate the talent of the cast. Tron: Legacy is a fun popcorn flick if you had the opportunity to catch it on the big screen, but with the digital effects downsized on a DVD format what's good about the movie doesn't emit as much of an effect.