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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 and the TRON: Legacy Blu-ray release, see TRON: Legacy Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 23, 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 Blu-ray Review
The highly anticipated sequel receives a terrific Blu-ray release...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 23, 2011
Twenty-eight years. Twenty-eight long years. For the better part of three decades, Tron fans have been praying for a return to the Grid, hoping beyond hope that Disney would resurrect the cult-favorite film and take advantage of the revolutionary strides made in CG in the years since its debut. But rather than churn out a remake, reboot or reimagining, Disney went all-in and greenlit a full-fledged sequel; a daring, rarely pursued move that seemed less and less likely as the years passed. And the result -- a stunning visual spectacle featuring returning Tron stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner -- is as striking today as Tron was in 1982. Legacy certainly isn't going to satisfy everyone, particularly stiff-browed critics and purists with preconceived notions, but its strong performances, gorgeous special effects and thoughtful evolution of the original mythos will attract plenty of fans, new and old, to what is quickly becoming a viable franchise.
"The Grid. A digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? Motorcycles? Were the circuits linked freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I would never see. And then, one day, I got in."
In 1989, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges, True Grit) disappeared, leaving behind a burgeoning company, a family and a promising future. No note, no message, no reason given. Twenty years later, his son, a tech wiz named Sam (Garrett Hedlund, Country Strong), learns his father didn't simply walk out on him. As unbelievable as it seems, Flynn became trapped in a sprawling world of his own creation; a virtual realm ruled with an iron fist by his fallen angel avatar, Clu (also Bridges, albeit with a CG face-lift). But the young man doesn't merely learn about his father's digital world, he's transported into it. Before he can get his bearings, Sam is forced to compete in a series of gladiator Grid games to the delight of a bloodthirsty crowd of Programs who believe their creators, the Users, are little more than absentee slavers.Sam escapes with the help of an unexpected ally though, a naive but beautiful program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde, House M.D.). Following her into the Outlands, a region of undeveloped desert on the outskirts of the Grid, he reunites with his father, now an exile in hiding. Sam soon has to make a difficult choice: stay with his father or sneak into the heart of the city, uncover Clu's true intentions and fight his way to the data-stream portal that links both worlds. I'll give you two guesses as to which he chooses.
Just as Flynn's world has evolved, so too has the Tron saga. Steven Lisberger's original film toyed with the idea of creators mingling with their creations, taking its cues from ancient Greek and Roman myths and the interactions between the gods and their subjects. Legacy leaps into the future of that same society, examining a culturally and technologically advanced civilization that sees little value in deities, fairy tales and blind faith. In this self-sustaining virtual world -- a world in which isomorphic algorithms began emerging from the primordial data-ooze and gaining sentience on their own accord -- even the existence of the Users has been called into question. The Gnostic undertones are none-too-subtle, even more so than they are in The Matrix sequels, but each one injects welcome moral and philosophical conflict into a sequel that could have been nothing more than an oversimplified cash-in. Granted, screenwriters Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz never explore the resulting themes as fully as they should, nor is their world as cohesive or its mechanics as airtight as either one could be, but their concepts and execution are solid; thought-provoking even.
Not that other issues with the script aren't apparent. Kitsis and Horowitz's dialogue is serviceable as melodramatic genre jargon goes, but relies on far too many in-Grid one-liners. Poor Hedlund has to spit out gems like "I have a 3-inch version of you on my shelf," "why do I feel like I just got dumped on," "have a nice swim" and the requisite Reevesian "whoooaaa" on a regular basis, and Bridges and Wilde seem to be the only ones having as much genuine fun with the dialogue as they should be. (Not that Hedlund should be faulted. His Sam is as complete a character as he is only because Hedlund imbues him with such fire and conviction, and the remaining cast's performances are uniformly excellent.) Several subplots are underdeveloped as well -- Encom's role, Clu's coup, the ISO genocide and Rinzler's backstory chief among them -- and a variety of in-Grid characters and locales feel more like afterthoughts than intuitive essentials. (Michael Sheen's Castor is an absolute blast, but his flamboyant, glam-rock personality is at strange odds with the established parameters of Legacy's icy digital denizens.) There isn't a moment though where any of it becomes an outright distraction; there are just a few too many plot points that aren't brought to a satisfying conclusion.
But Legacy continually pits its ideas against its dazzling sights and sounds in a battle that almost always favors first-time feature film director Joseph Kosinski's visuals and Daft Punk's pitch-perfect electronic score. Every flash of blazing blue or searing orange, every crackle of CG magic that ripples across the Grid, every pulsing beat of the film's infectious, pulse-quickening music makes it easier and easier to overlook the film's flaws. Like Tron before it, Legacy overloads the senses and revels in its increasingly breathtaking set pieces. The special effects are incredible -- save Bridges' younger incarnation, whose smooth face never looks as tangible as it might in, say, another twenty-eight years -- and the soul and spirit driving them is palpable. Almost everything in Legacy's Grid is exotic, elaborate and alien, from the angular architecture of its city to the fluid ribbons of light that trail its slick and speedy war machines. Typically, effects-driven films of its ilk are all-style, no-substance constructs. But Legacy bucks that trend, rocketing ahead with the momentum of a visual spectacle while pausing at key stops along the way, indulging in just enough character and story nuance to transform Kosinski's eye-candy into meatier stuff. Like the Users, Legacy isn't flawless, but it is a worthy sequel to the original, an eye-popping marvel in its own right, and an entertaining genre adventure sure to win over a whole new generation of young fans.
TRON: Legacy Blu-ray, Video Quality
To preserve the original IMAX theatrical viewing experience, the picture image will alternate between 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratios. The black matte bars on your screen will adjust accordingly.
I do wish seamless branching had been used to afford viewers the option of choosing between Tron Legacy's alternating aspect ratios and its fixed-ratio theatrical presentation. Personally, I find dynamic aspect ratios to be a wee bit of a distraction. I'd much rather immerse myself in a film than be pulled out of the experience every time the camera moves from a vast cityscape to a more intimate setting. But my gripe is a small complaint at best; one that doesn't factor into my impression of Disney's magnificent, jaw-dropping 1080p/AVC-encoded Blu-ray transfer in any way. Like the original Tron, Legacy is a film of two worlds: the dingy, all-too-real world of the Users and the neon-stepped world of the Programs, both of which look absolutely amazing in high definition. Claudio Miranda's gorgeous palette is bursting with steely colors, powerful primaries, relatively lifelike skintones and rich, inky blacks. Moreover, contrast is strong and stable throughout, delineation is impeccable and detail... oh, dear users, the detail. Crisp, clean and razor-sharp, Disney's transfer all but celebrates every subtle hexagon, sliver of hair and brilliant spark of light that graces the screen. Edges are masterfully rendered (without any ringing of note), fine textures are wonderfully resolved, a fine veneer of grain lends the picture a much-appreciated filmic resonance, and every seemingly infinite background comes alive. It may be a 2D presentation, but this is as close to 3D as a 2D image comes.
The technical encode is equally impressive. Significant artifacting, banding and other compression anomalies never set foot on the Grid, and the only oddity of note is a bit of noise that spikes from time to time (most noticeably in the skies at the beginning of Chapter 7). However, while the noise in question will surely draw a few eyes its way, it occurs as a result of the film's grainfield and the image's overall clarity, nothing more. It's by no means a cause for any concern, and by no means does it detract from the impact of the presentation. (At least not to the extent that it requires a reduction in score.) Legacy boasts one of the most gorgeous transfers of 2011 and it's only March. Fans of the film will hardly be able to contain their excitement.
TRON: Legacy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
If you couldn't get enough of Daft Punk's magnetic score before, just wait until it grabs hold of you in the comfort of your own home theater via Disney's flawless, top-tier DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. The French duo's pulsing electonica, the very heartbeat of Legacy's drama and action, seems to emanate from every inch of the room, effortlessly filling the soundfield, raising hair on arms and necks with convincing precision, and taking full advantage of every speaker in the room. Yet the music never overwhelms or overpowers the mix, settling in amongst the gladiatorial chaos of the Grid. The LFE channel devotes its attention to bass beats and explosions, to equally rousing ends; the rear speakers tackle each beep with the same tenacity as the ever-present, ever-engaging atmospheric effects, acoustic touches and environmental ambience that populate Flynn's virtual world; and dialogue remains clean, clear, intelligible and perfectly prioritized from beginning to end, leaving little doubt as to whether the mix has been meticulously crafted or haphazardly tossed together. Cross-channel pans are transparent, directionality is eerily accurate, and dynamics are rousing and enveloping. In fact, the whole of the experience is incredibly immersive and there wasn't a moment -- not a single moment -- that I didn't feel entrenched in Legacy's two worlds. Disney's Blu-ray release offers the AV presentation to beat this year. Good luck, upcoming blockbusters.
TRON: Legacy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
While Tron Legacy doesn't feature an audio commentary or a behind-the-scenes Picture-in-Picture experience, it still has some worthwhile extras waiting in the wings including an interactive prologue to the film, several featurettes and Disney's Second Screen feature (itself a gateway to even more content via any synced iPad or laptop). Now if only its special features were as extensive as those that accompany the original Tron...
TRON: Legacy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tron: Legacy is many things to many people. Some find it to be utterly thrilling, others find it to be effects-driven drivel. Me? I enjoyed it, more so on Blu-ray than I did in the theater (in 3D, no less). It isn't a perfect sequel and it isn't a perfect film, but its notable performances, overwhelming visuals, outstanding Daft Punk score and fairly compelling story help it weather the worst of its narrative storms. Disney's Blu-ray release is another matter entirely. While its supplemental package is surprisingly shallow (with no commentary or PiP experience to be found), its video presentation and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track are nothing short of extraordinary. Settling for a rental would be the safest bet, but with such a strong standalone release and tempting two-movie, five-disc Combo Pack, Tron: Legacy is worth the risk of a blind buy.
TRON: Legacy: Other Editions
TRON: Legacy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Tron Dominates as Blu-ray Sets New Market Share Record - April 20, 2011
Blu-ray has taken 26% of all packaged media sales for the week ending 04/09/2011. The top selling title is Tron: Legacy where BD made up a stunning 68% of all sales, and next is family title Tangled where the BD share is 33% of all sales. Total revenue hit ...
• Creators of Tron Meet the Users - April 8, 2011
Tron fans were able to return to the Grid as they met Joe Kosinski, director of TRON: Legacy and Steven Lisberger, director of TRON: The Original Classic at the West Hollywood Best Buy.
• This Week on Blu-ray - April 5-11 - April 5, 2011
Today Disney is releasing TRON: Legacy on Blu-ray, the long awaited sequel the hit 1980's video game inspired film TRON. While the film is unlikely to cause the same amount of uber-fandom as the original - to include the infamous "TRON Guy" - those same fans who ...
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