By Matt Brunson
DIRECTED BY Joseph Kosinski
STARS Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund
If the Disney-manufactured hype is to be believed, 1982's TRON was the Gone With the Wind of its day, a Citizen Kane for the modern age, a blockbusting, award-winning blah blah blah. No. TRON was a lightly entertaining movie (and notorious box office underachiever) whose sole claim to fame was its groundbreaking, computer-generated effects. So not surprisingly, the primary focus for the makers of TRON: Legacy was to create visuals that take us to the next level. But did they have to do so at the expense of virtually every other department? Certainly, the effects in this sequel are sometimes astounding (although the 3-D immersion is less pronounced than in Avatar), and, for the first hour, the film offers no small measure of fun. As he searches for Kevin Flynn (TRON star Jeff Bridges), the father who disappeared two decades earlier, Sam Flynn (wooden Garrett Hedlund) finds himself whisked into a digital landscape fraught with danger. The setup is sound and the early action sequences are stirring, but then the film settles into a sameness that allows viewers to focus too intently on the feeble plotting, the tired dialogue, the unfortunate performances (as the opportunistic Zuse, Michael Sheen camps it up like a villain from the old Batman TV show) and the awful use of the character of TRON himself (returning Bruce Boxleitner). By the time this overlong feature arrives at the anticlimactic standoff between Kevin and his digital alter ego CLU (a creepily de-aged Bridges), most viewers will be wanting their quarters back.
(Matt Brunson releases his list of the 10 Best & 10 Worst Pictures of 2010. Go here to see the complete article, with write-ups and photos.)