The Disney brain-trust realized, after 28 years, that technology had finally caught up with the “visionary” notion of hacking humans into computer mainframes. The original Tron, starring Jeff Bridges as uber-computer guru Kevin Flynn and his virtual right-hand clone Clu, “shocked” audiences with the idea of an alternative reality based on a video game, but the true stunner was how badly the movie tanked except among a small cult of proto-fanboys, many of whom likely made a beeline into computer programming with dreams of crossing the digital divide themselves.
But a funny thing happened along the way to Tron and the world at large — virtual reality films progressed from the complete silliness of Virtuosity (early Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington) to the philosophical special-effects game-changing Matrix trilogy and technology ushered in a true digital age that, while still in its infancy, has reshaped the culture and the social network.
So, if the movie did inspire the rush of sci-fi narratives, virtual gamesmanship and the dawn of this new age, did we really need a sequel to show us that legacy, in 3-D no less? The short answer is no, especially if all Tron: Legacy was going to do would be to introduce Kevin Flynn’s grown-up son Sam (Garrett Hedlund), a seriously fake-looking computer-generated version of the young Bridges and the same old dark dystopian alternative world we’ve seen a thousand times before with simplistic allusions to the Star Wars mythos and reheated rehashes of Neo and Trinity trying to get out of The Matrix.
Forget the legacy, much like non-fanboy audiences forgot the original, and embrace the now. Grade: D-
Opens Dec. 17. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.