There are dazzling, bright lights everywhere and you’re having enormous amounts of fun, but every twist and turn is anticipated from the moment you sit in your seat and that familiar bar securely places itself over your lap to ensure safety.
This isn’t because you’re a genius when it comes to roller coasters – it’s simply because Space Mountain is not your first one and – with the rare exception – most tend to be pretty much the same.
This is precisely what the “TRON: Legacy” experience is like in IMAX 3-D.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. Sure, it’s highly predictable, but it’s nevertheless fun and extremely enjoyable. You’re thrust into a world of bright lights, charming story and amiable characters. There’s a simplistic innocence to it all topped with the energetic eye-candy glare of the cybernetic grid, and it’s quite the ride.
It functions as a sequel to the original “TRON” of the ‘80s, with Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) all grown up and the CEO of the extraordinarily successful ENCOM, raising his young son, Sam (Owen Best) and furthering his technological empire, while working on a series of assignments in the grid that would unlock secrets in science and philosophy.
And then he disappears and the years pass. Now the heir to the throne is a 27-year-old angst-ridden layabout, who re-enters the story as a hacker Robin Hood, gifting ENCOM’s most expensive program to the users at large by sneaking into the main office, uploading it to the internet, and base-diving off of the ledge.
Not a bad way to suggest stubborn disinterest. Neither are the apparently regular trips to the local jail.
But Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is forced to follow in his father’s footsteps when Godfather Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) receives a mysterious page from Kevin’s arcade – from a number that has been disconnected for twenty years.
As expected, our young protagonist makes it onto the grid, participates in all the requisite games and meets the mysterious Quorra (Olivia Wilde), whose origin one can all but scream upon expansion on the central theme, but is still intended to be wrought with the heavy tension of surprise at the end.
Then again, it is a kid’s movie.
But a fun one – filled with dazzling lights, sporadically amusing dialogue and an impeccable score – by far the best aspect of the film.
Daft Punk, the French duo known best for their unconventional dance beats and music videos, lend their marvelous talent to make “TRON: Legacy” an auditory ecstasy. They even have a cameo in the film, as well, as the DJs in Zeus’ (Michael Sheen) lounge.
Marvelously crafted, the music is a perfect accompaniment to the tension, elation and occasional wonder. The most compelling, despite its simplicity, has to be “Fall,” which strikes an appropriate chord of urgency during the story’s darkest hour.
Otherwise, everything simply works.
The acting’s good – especially by Bridges, though that’s to be expected – the plot flows seamlessly, if somewhat unoriginally and the characters are charming.
The elder Flynn even took up a form of Eastern meditation evocative of the Tao, though at the height of the climactic tension, he admits that his son is “messing with [his] Zen thing.”
It’s a fun sci-fi flick adapted for a modern audience.
It’s a tried and true roller coaster with every twist and speed-bump firmly ingrained in the brain. It’s probably exactly what you expect.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.