The son of a technology prodigy is brought into a computer program where he looks to bring back his father and take down the Master Control Program.
With the highly-anticipated release to the sequel of the 1982 cult classic, I decided to watch the original. It turned out to be much better than I expected, with an interesting story and great performance by Jeff Bridges (as usual). Having seen the original, I was excited to see what an “update” would look like. Alas, I was somewhat disappointed.
First of all, I have to say that it is not Joseph Kosinski’s fault – he did a fantastic job dreaming up how this world would look and structured the action scenes with skill. The problems lied within the script, which was spotty at best. The overall concept was interesting, with Flynn’s son entering “The Grid” trying to bring back his father. Once inside the Grid, the story gets a little hazy and loses sight of its goal quite often. While the concepts of Tron tend to be a little more complex than they should be, the writers seem to just have gotten lost here.
Another disappointment was the bland cast. The only actors who attempted to do anything with their roles were Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen. Wilde’s eyes and soft voice tell the entire story of her new-born innocence, while Sheen tears up every inch of screen time he is given – truly bringing the 80s feel back to this franchise. Jeff Bridges is arguably one of the best actors of the generation, but is stuck to being CGI most of the film as Clu. Garrett Hedlund is a surprisingly effective young actor who is notable in the Friday Night Lights film and was the highlight of James Wan’s Death Sentence. Unfortunately, his character is severely underwritten once the film enters The Grid.
I saw this film in 3D and realized something…I do not care for 3D. After a while, I completely forget that I am watching something in 3D and am just left with nausea. The cool thing about the film is that while in the real world, it is shot in 2D, then enters 3D once entering The Grid. With the film running in over two hours, it is much to long to watch in three dimensions.
While it may seem like I hated this film, I cannot say that I did. I loved the first 20 minutes or so where the audience gets a chance to learn about the disappearance of Kevin Flynn, what his son has become, and what has happened to his organization. We also get a few good cameos from Bruce Boxleitner and Cillian Murphy – that’s right, Cillian Murphy. The action scenes in The Grid were amazing but very much left me wanting more. Visually, the film is amazing; intellectually…maybe not so much.
Overall, while it is a disappointing sequel to the original, it steps up the visuals and action with style and intensity. The acting is sub-par by most of the cast and story is less than memorable. See this film for the visuals and action sequences (and Olivia Wilde), not the story. I am sure this will be a very cool movie to watch on Blu-ray, depending on the film’s aspect ratio.
Rating: PG – for sequences of action violence and brief mild language
Runtime: 127 minutes