Great CGI fails to save movie

2011-01-03 00:00

JEFF Bridges is one of the coolest characters in Hollywood. Even in Tron Legacy, this abysmal sequel to the 1982 version in which he plays the lead character, he’s enjoyable. The film, however, is difficult to sit through, particularly on New Year’s Day when you’ve only had three hours’ sleep.

Having said that, Tron Legacy is a CGI masterpiece — worth seeing in all its 3-D glory on a big screen. But as cool as it is, it comes across as a re-rendered version of The Matrix and Speed Racer in the visual sense. This year we’ve been introduced to more advanced conceptual ideas of the computer/virtual realm, such as The Social Network.

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the 27-year-old son of the famed visionary inventor Kevin Flynn (Bridges). The elder Flynn vanished on the verge of a big discovery two decades before, and Sam has long since given up hope of his return. But a sudden communication with the parallel computer universe brings Sam to probe his father’s disappearance.

He is transported into the world — “The Grid” — that his father invented. Here in cyberspace he immediately undergoes a gladiator-type contest involving the high-tech, super-speed frisbees (as in the first Tron). And here Sam is a “user” (human) as opposed to a program (machine). He survives (despite his corny one-liners) and is brought before the leader of the world of machines — the evil Clu (played by a computer-enhanced Bridges looking essentially as he did in 1982). He escapes from machine captivity with the help of Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a potential love interest.

The story then begins stalling and not rebooting along the way, with an appearance by Michael Sheen as an androgynous club owner and a few other weird moments.

There are look-alike sequences from Star Wars and Blade Runner in here, but unlike all the landmark films it refers to, Tron Legacy is not a film you’ll be citing in years to come. **

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