‘Tron Legacy’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics call Disney’s reboot/sequel a ‘catchy popcorn pleasure’ that is ‘destined to split audiences.’
By Eric Ditzian





Garrett Hedlund and Beau Garrett in “Tron Legacy”

Photo: Disney

It’s been a good year for studios that waited three decades to update old-school flicks. In April, Warner Bros. gave 1981’s “Clash of the Titans” a coat of CGI splendor and ended up with a film that grossed almost $500 million worldwide. Can Disney, which has resurrected 1982’s computer-world-based adventure film “Tron” for a new generation, mirror the success of “Clash”?

At this point, at least, “Tron Legacy” is receiving far kinder reviews than “Clash.” That doesn’t mean, of course, that “Tron” can top the $61 million domestic opening of the latter. Disney’s 3-D film is predicted to land somewhere in the $40-45 million range. Will it defy expectations? Will positive word of mouth spread? Is the movie worth a trip to the theater on opening weekend? Check out what the critics are saying about “Tron Legacy” and decide for yourself.

The Story
“Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of video game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), is left as the uninterested heir to his father’s corporation after the elder Flynn’s disappearance 20 years earlier. Following a mysterious signal, Sam finds himself pulled into the same computer world that has trapped his father. Reunited, the Flynns team with a Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a cyber warrior, to defeat Clu, a program left in charge of the Grid whose rise to power puts both the computer world — and our world — in danger.” — Silas Lesnick, ComingSoon.net

The Comparison to the Original
“[T]his is one of the smartest ideas for a reboot in yonks. Where its fellow 1982 sci-fi releases, ‘E.T.’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ are still universally celebrated, ‘Tron’ ‘s visuals and ponderous tone have aged as badly as Manic Miner. The concept at the Disney film’s core, however, remains beautifully simple: What if a man got sucked into a computer? That notion, revisited with today’s turbo-boosted VFX technology, has now given Mickey Mouse a stonking tentpole. And make no mistake, ‘Tron Legacy’ — part sequel, part remake — is a proper event movie, complete with nattily digitized Cinderella’s Castle at the start, a journey to a fully realized alien world and the best 3D since ‘Avatar.’ ” — Nick de Semlyen, Empire

The Effects
“The FX in ‘Tron Legacy’ have an almost Einsteinian elegance: They infuse light with gravity. If one of the discs hits a combatant, he’ll shatter into glassy fragments, and Sam, absorbing the physics of the game, must learn to treat his body almost as part of the surrounding architecture. He becomes a ruthless digital specter. As long as it’s engaged in light-hurling bouts of force, or motorcycle chases through a landscape so ominously enveloping it looks like ‘Blade Runner’ after gentrification, ‘Tron: Legacy’ is a catchy popcorn pleasure.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

The Dissenters
“This is one of those big-budget projects destined to split audiences (a good thing, always). Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who did the ‘Halo’ and ‘Gears of War’ commercials, ‘Tron Legacy’ comes to life when Sam, played by a too-cool-for-school Garrett Hedlund, learns the ways of the Lightcycles and the perilous joys of racing on ‘ribbons of light.’ Here, we get the sweep and simple excitement we need. Elsewhere, we get exposition more sluggish than the stuff we had to wade through in the second and third ‘Matrix’ movies, and a strained, opaque brand of intellectual-property mythology that might mean tons to ardent fans of the first ‘Tron,’ but less to others.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

The Final Word
” ‘Tron: Legacy’ is a surprising film for many reasons, not the least of which being that it contains more substance than is easily explored — if also to some extent, articulated — in just one viewing. And perhaps it might seem like a pre-emptive defense against logical or narrative shortcomings to make one of its central themes the idea that perfection, as we can imagine it, is ultimately unknowable. But it’s a point that’s well-taken, and if I have to endure the kind of imperfection that produces a film like ‘Tron: Legacy,’ which is interesting, inspiring and for better or worse, simply incomparable, then it’s worth it.” – Todd Gilchrist, Cinematical

Check out everything we’ve got on “Tron Legacy.”

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