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TRON: Legacy 3D(2010)
Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the digital world of Tron where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant Quorra, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey of escape across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.
For more about TRON: Legacy 3D and the TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray release, see TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 26, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain, Beau Garrett
Director: Joseph Kosinski
» See full cast & crew
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray Review
Refined simplicity helps make "Tron: Legacy" a winner.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 26, 2011
In there is our destiny.
In 2011, Tron might look more than antiquated. Released at a time when the merging of computer effects and cinema was only in the beginning stages, the film might have visually dazzled a few decades ago but to say it looks rough by today's standards is indisputable. Still, movies like Tron and The Last Starfighter not only pioneered the effects most audiences take for granted anymore, they also did something that many of today's films fail to achieve: build the effects around the story, in these two cases stories with great characters, quality scripts, and a fair bit of heart. Those values carry a movie more than any other element, whether a film hails from the silent era; is one of the early talkies; was filmed in black and white; dazzles with stop-motion special effects; or now, is constructed on hard drives and computer screens. When, nearly 30 years after its release, a sequel to Tron was announced and subsequently hit theaters, interest was piqued but expectations were uncertain. Tron was a pioneering film, a picture with an important place in cinema history but also one with a unique look and feel that's so simple it might not really translate all that well into 21st century standards. How could the filmmakers possibly ramp things up and keep the world of Tron looking clean and simplistically efficient while still taking full advantage of the horsepower of today's films and, just as important, keep the storyline going and re-capture the essence of the original? Somehow, they accomplished all of it; Tron: Legacy is one of those rare special effects films that can have its cake and eat it too. The picture is a dazzling tour-de-force of visual wonders, but it's also a good bit entertaining and, more important, finds a soul that grounds the entire thing in basic human emotions, even in a world where the heartless digital reigns supreme.
It is the year 1989, and since his adventures inside the digital "grid" in 1982, technology guru/video game developer/entrepreneur Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges, True Grit) has built up his technology firm ENCOM to astronomical heights. He's also settled down and is now father to a young son named Sam. One night, Kevin vanishes, leaving no trace of his whereabouts behind. Now, in the year 2011, Sam (Garrett Hedlund, Country Strong) has grown into a young adult, a man who's strong and smart but uninterested in leading his father's company. ENCOM is on the verge of releasing new software and seeing its stock traded all over the world; Sam has some digital fun at the board's expense, his way of paying them back for their bastardization the company from what it once was under Kevin's leadership. When ENCOM executive Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) reveals to Sam that he recently received a page from Kevin, Sam ventures to his father's old video game arcade, discovers a secret door, and is inadvertently pulled into the digital realm. Sam finds his father but discovers he's become a tyrant over cyberspace. He's challenged to a light cycle race against his father but is rescued by a rebel named Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who reveals that the man Sam believes to be his father is only a digital recreation; his real father has been on the grid but hiding since a coup rendered all the good Kevin had worked for null and void. Now, it's up to Sam and his long-lost father to reclaim the digital realm to ensure their future in the real world.
Tron: Legacy has a Christopher Nolan Batman Begins/The Dark Knight sort of vibe going on. The picture is incredibly dark, and it manages to construct a kinetic pace reinforced by slick visuals while also keeping things somewhat low-key in terms of raw spectacle. The world of Tron: Legacy, in those scenes that take place both in the real world and on the digital "grid," is one of darkness, mystery, an absence of clarity. It's given a visual and thematic darkness that translates into emotional import, a dangerous feel, a subtext that always suggests something that's not as it seems or should be. Daft Punk's score, too, carries over the picture's visual feel, playing with a reserved yet deep and heavy tenor that reinforces the sense of danger and wonder and darkness rather than give the movie a more generic high-flying Adventure/Sci-Fi sort of feel. Maybe it's a bit overplayed given that the story, ultimately, lacks much in the way of raw thematic purpose -- it's built more on special effects and human emotion more than anything else -- but the picture's darkly reserved but nevertheless high energy style gives it a unique flair that works incredibly well. If nothing else, Director Joseph Kosinski's visual and tonal façade give the movie a somewhat original appeal, but the primary reason this structure works so well, it would seem, is that it allows what are ultimately Tron-inspired basic but jazzed up special effects to work in context of the entire movie.
Indeed, Tron: Legacy just would not work were the special effects so far removed from the original picture that it became a sequel in name only. It wouldn't work, either, if suddenly the new movie looked like a hybrid between the future vision of Blade Runner and the juiced-up ridiculousness of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The way the effects artists and production design team have progressed the cyber world of Tron can be described as nothing less than sheer visual perfection; this new picture retains the same lines, shapes, textures, and general visual style from the first film, only refining them, giving them a more polished -- but not radically altered -- appearance. Along with its seamless 3D visuals, the "grid" now has a greater sense of space than did its predecessor, but not a radically different technological foundation. The world of Tron: Legacy is unmistakably an advancement from that of the original, but not at the expense of the concept. Fundamentally, the pictures are the same, primarily separated only by time. What should feel old, feels old; what should feel new, feels new. Tron: Legacy is a case study in the effectiveness of reserved visuals; sure it was a necessary approach to keep the sequel in-line with the original, but the way the visuals have been updated, polished, and refined, and done so with respect for the original and in the context of the smartly reserved structural tone gives Tron: Legacy a look that's out of this world.
Ultimately, however, the success or failure of Tron: Legacy rides not solely on how well the filmmakers can achieve a new-old balance or how well the visual effects artists can slick up a light cycle; what really matters is if the film can find that emotional center, a soul that gives the movie a purpose beyond merely showcasing what modern computer graphics can do for the world of Tron. It achieves that need, too, through a script that might not be as witty and clever as it believes itself to be, but that underneath some of its weaknesses finds a strength of heart and purpose and humanity that ties the film, and the series, together very well. The characters are well-developed, whether returning old favorites or new key players in both the real and cyber worlds. Garrett Hedlund plays Sam Flynn quite well, giving the character a stature that allows him to walk with confidence but not cockiness. While there's a hint of the overly-dramatic, pun-filled, movie hero cliché type of vibe going on, the character fits right into the world; he's one who has both the mental faculty and the physical strength to survive on the harsh digital "grid." The character is well-written, portrayed as a daredevil type but with incredible smarts to back it up and round him into someone who can plausibly survive past the first deadly disc thrown in his direction. Jeff Bridges is excellent, too, aided in part by computer graphics but playing his dual roles with a command of the characters and an understanding of the film's place both in modern cinema and in relation to the old original. Bridges, forgive the pun, bridges the gap between the films, becoming not only the most important carryover character but solidifying the very essence of Tron: Legacy as a picture that continues on with and pays homage to the look and feel of the original film while also morphing into its own entity both in the series and as a standalone movie. Bridges and Hedlund demonstrate fantastic chemistry; the realism and dynamics of the father-son relationship are both palpable throughout, punctuated by the film's best scene that bridges the gap between the second and third acts and features the son in a candid moment sharing what's happened in the world since his father disappeared some years ago.
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Tron: Legacy's 1080p Blu-ray 3D release is a stunner. Though the disc regularly shifts between aspect ratios (2.35:1/1.78:1 IMAX) and 2D/3D content, the transitions are seamless; most viewers caught up in the film probably won't notice the changes. That said, the shift between 2D and 3D content is the more subtle of the two. Though one must leave the 3D glasses on for the duration, the 2D-only images are in no way degraded through the 3D lens prism. On the contrary, there's a seamlessness to the presentation that just makes sense at some subconscious level considering how well it's all integrated. The 3D elements are of the natural kind; the film limits the amount of "pop out of the screen"-style visuals to a few well-implemented effects, generally in the form of discs appearing to fly out of the screen. The image thrives on creating a highly dimensional, very real-looking world; even the overwhelming darkness that surrounds it simply cannot mask the natural shaping of the various landscapes and vehicles. The light cycles, transparent as they may be, still take on a very real-looking volume that does appear capable of carrying a rider. Likewise, other, more solid digital vehicles manage to appear large and voluminous, and even the glass-like remnants of shattered digital combatants take on an amazing shape as the pieces fall into a pile on the surface. Tron: Legacy's 3D elements suit the film well; through far from underwhelming, they take on something of a reserved but still readily-evident appearance that's the perfect compliment to the picture at large.
Just as important, the remainder of the image is incredibly stable and handsome. Although the picture is bathed in an overbearing darkness that emphasizes blacks, blues, and grays, the image still manages to generate some eye-catching color; the white, orange, and yellow neon accents that line on-the-grid clothing deliver stunning vibrancy against the darker backdrops. Fine detail is quite good, though it's sometimes a bit obscured simply due to the film's sheer darkness. That doesn't mean black crush is a problem; the film is simply so dark by its very nature that viewers won't be able to see some of the finest textures generally revealed on the best 1080p transfers. Indeed, shadow detail is excellent and objects situated under better lighting conditions look fantastic. Skin textures are quite good, flesh tones appear spot-on under the picture's favored lighting conditions and backdrops, and it's easy to see the intricacies of both digital CGI and real-world objects when the darkness drifts away in favor of some of the film's brighter backdrops. Some moderate banding is visible around a few very bright light sources, but the picture is otherwise incredibly accurate and free of unwanted artifacts. The source is immaculately clean and looks fresh from theaters in every shot. Disney's 1080p Blu-ray 3D image is a stunner; neither the shifting aspect ratios nor sometimes-on, sometimes-off 3D visuals are cause for alarm, making Tron: Legacy a standout Blu-ray 3D release.
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Tron: Legacy's DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack is of reference-quality in every facet. The track makes continual use of surrounds; whether in support of the fastest and most energetic on-grid action sequences of simply capturing various ambient nuances -- distant thunder, a crackling fire, buzzing insects -- that are so often the overlooked heroes of these sorts of soundtracks in adding the finishing touches to a seamlessly realistic experience, Disney's latest lossless endeavor serves up a perfectly enveloping 360-degree sound-field that remains active throughout. Sound effects traverse the soundstage with ease, whether zipping light cycles, the heavy rumble of larger flying vessels, or the beeps and chirps of Flynn's old arcade powered up for the first time in years. The picture's music is wonderfully robust yet incredibly clear; it flows so effortlessly that the speakers melt in favor of a practically transparent audio presentation that perfectly integrates with the picture. The track's many lower notes belt out some tight and aggressive bass that's of the good old ribcage-rattling type, but it never morphs into a sloppy mess of heavy sounds. Clarity is astonishing; even those sounds meant to have something of a digital tinge to them are played with every slight nuance of the sound perfectly audible. Needless to say, dialogue reproduction is spot-on in its center-focused delivery. Tron: Legacy's soundtrack isn't defined by raw power, but this is a seamless, smart, and sophisticated sort of soundtrack that's sure to dazzle the listener at every turn and no matter the audible circumstances.
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tron: Legacy features a nice assortment of extra content, all of which is found on the included 2D-only Blu-ray disc.
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tron: Legacy is a surprisingly wonderful film that got it right on all accounts. It walks that very fine line of staying true to the look and feel of the original Tron while also paving its own way and serving as a showcase of visual effects that are the equal of anything out there today. Even in that light, the film smartly tones things down to stay true to the digital "grid" world as it was first envisioned in 1982. The effects play well with the picture's dark and subdued overlay, and it's made complete by a quality story, a fine script, and great characters. Tron: Legacy isn't a perfect movie; it get bogged down by a few slow stretches and some of the dialogue could use some refinement, but otherwise, it's winner and a worthy followup to a 1980s favorite. Disney's Blu-ray 3D release of Tron: Legacy is superb. Sporting a wonderful 1080p image that seamlessly fluctuates between not only 2D and 3D but its dual aspect ratios; a lossless soundtrack that's every bit the video's equal; and a nice array of 2D-only extras; this release, or better even Disney's ultimate Tron/Tron: Legacy Blu-ray 3D bundle, comes highly recommended.
TRON: Legacy: Other Editions
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TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray and TRON Blu-ray Announced - February 12, 2011
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced TRON: Legacy and the original 1982 movie Tron for Blu-ray release on April 5. Legacy will be presented in several configurations: a 2-Disc BD/DVD Combo Pack; a 4-Disc BD 3D/BD 2D/DVD/Digital Copy Combo ...
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