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A Movie a Week#13: Tron Legacy

If Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was the colourful, fond memory of retro gaming, then Tron Legacy is its dark neon-tipped shadow. With movie making technology on the cusp of a groundbreaking new frontier, it seems the conditions are perfect to revisit Tron. After all, it may have under-performed at the box office, but it was a celebration of gaming and computer graphics and lets face it, we’ve come a long way since the days of pong.

The belated sequel picks up on the trail of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of missing computer genius Kevin (Jeff Bridges) who spends his days protecting his father’s legacy from the now corrupt ENCOM suits.  After a tip off from his father’s old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) about his dad’s whereabouts, Sam soon finds himself zapped into a now very different version of The Grid.

Turns out, Kevin, with the aid of Tron and Clu, (a programme version of Kevin) were about to create the perfect system, that is until The Grid spawned Isomorphic Algorithims or ISO’s – its own programmes.  Going a bit power mad, Clu exterminated the ISO’s and kicked Flynn off The Grid in a bid to maintain perfection, stranding him in the vast emptiness of cyberspace and light-years away from the portal returning him to reality. Together with his father and the help of the mysterious programme Quorra, Sam must make it to the portal before Clu and his army of anti-user programmes do. Still with me? Good.

Unnecessarily complicated plotline aside, Tron Legacy takes what made the original so cool and gives it a facelift. And when the fists (or in this case discs) start flying and the Light Cycles are powered up, it’s an edge of your seat experience.

This could be due to the nostalgia factor, but more likely it’s down to Daft Punk’s spot on score. The sounds produced by the French helmet heads – all electronic and verging on distortion, perfectly compliment the movie.  One cyber nightclub scene in particular that plays host to a rave fight may be a late contender for best-scored fight sequence of 2010.

However the film isn’t without its glitches. For every fast paced action sequence there follows the inevitably dull exposition dump. It’s been 28 years (or erm ‘cylces’) since audiences we’re last derezzed into cyber space, so needless to say, there’s some explaining to do.  And unless Cillian Murphy’s brief appearance in the opening sequence is set up for a potential sequel, then that’s one glaring, un-explored plot hole.

Negativity aside, Tron Legacy is sort of like Jeff Bridges’ digitally de-aged, uncanny face – not 100% perfect, but pretty close.

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