Despite the lamentable reviews, Tron: Legacy totally and unapologetically delivers. I was psyched to see it and soaked up the hype (young-again Jeff Bridges! Music by Daft Punk! 3-effing-D!), and I blame the lukewarm response from the critics for my usual movie pals’ reluctance to come with me (thanks for finally coming around, LBC!)
I admit that when Tron came out in 1982, it wasn’t really on my radar, but a recent Netflix rental helped me understand its importance not only to the special effects lexicon, but also to computer geeks. Sure, with Jeff Bridges playing a Dude-forshadowing womanizer stuck in his adolescence who finds morality while saving the world from inside the grid, it was cheesy. But, from my 2010 perspective, it was a cool story that, with its premise of users and programs, was surprisingly current for those of us who have been spending most of our time in front of a computer screen, long before it was cool. Plus, the special effects were so forward-thinking, I thought for sure I had a remastered DVD (I didn’t).
Still, I couldn’t ignore what a lot of people were saying about the sequel. Even my fellow nerds gave it a “meh” when I pressed them for their opinion. I was worried on my way to the theater, but I shouldn’t have been. I remembered that the allure of Tron is its cheesiness, its way-more-than-necessary computer wonkiness, and its embarrassingly form-fitting but totally kick-ass glowing costumes. The sequel delivers on all of those counts.
Sure, some of the action sequences border on Transformers-style ridiculousness, but these are lightbikes on the grid, not alien machines from outer space. I can forgive the father-son estrangement schmaltz if it means Jeff Bridges gets the Benjamin Button treatment. The visual effects are the icing on the cake; the fact that we live in an age of truly breathtaking 3-D effects and revolutionary computer programming makes this the perfect movie to be made right now.