Jake Kasdan once again directs this movie and, like his dad Lawrence Kasdan (Silverado), has a no-holds-barred attitude and playful feel for the camera. And the actors are just as much at home here as well; looking like they are having the time of their lives. Another important aspect are the teenagers, now grown up from the 2017 movie. In the last film they didn’t register as much, but this time around they’re more relaxed and easy-going. Look for a nice cameo from Bebe Neuwirth from the original 1995 Jumanji, playing the same character!
Tron: Legacy (2010)
Once you’ve gone into a video game and come out the other side relativity unscathed, the only natural course of action is to GO back in again, right? In this highly-anticipated sequel to the 1982 block-buster movie, Tron, Disney attempted to capture lightning in a bottle twice using more CGI and a more convoluted plot.
Remember Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges)? After he was made CEO of ENCOM (that nasty computer company that stole all his ideas), he disappeared again, but we all know he where he went… back into the computer world. Some 20 years later, Kevin’s rebellious son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is asked by Alan Bradey (Bruce Boxleitner from the first movie) to investigate a strange message coming from papa Flynn’s old closed-up arcade store. Once inside, Sam discovers a hidden room where, much to his surprise, he is digitally zapped and downloaded into ENCOM’s mainframe, just like his dad was.
Now in the computer world, Sam is quickly captured and sent to “the Games,” where he is forced to fight. When Sam is injured and bleeds (only “Users” bleed), he is taken before Clu (Bridges, but CGI de-aged), the Grid’s corrupt ruling program, who resembles a young Kevin Flynn. Clu throws Sam into the Light Cycle game arena to kill him, but Sam is rescued by Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an apprentice of Kevin Flynn, and whisks him away to his father’s hideout outside Clu’s territory. Dad meets son and tells him that all about the how’s & why’s he got trapped there, and the only way out is to get Kevin’s identity disc (that Frisbee looking thingy they all have) to a portal key that opens to both worlds. And no, that’s not gonna be easy.
First Sam & Quorra try to get safe passage from Zuse (Michael Sheen), a flamboyant and dishonest nightclub operator, but Clu and his minions attack and from there it’s a race to see who can get to the portal first before getting killed, or in this case, ‘derezzed’. There was no doubt about it, after decades of technology, Disney showed us what they could do with all new cutting-edge graphics and CGI trickery, but they forgot about one minor detail. The story. The screenplay by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (the team that brought us TV’s Once Upon A Time) failed to wow us in the storytelling dept. The simple “I found my dad and now we have to escape” trope was lame and old, coupled with a standard fight/chase/escape/fight again/repeat scenario.
I’m guessing all the razzle-dazzle CGI effects would count as something to take your mind off the sub-standard and boring plot and, for the most part, and they were right. Seeing the all-new Light Cycles, Solar Sailers, Recognizers, and other 1982 effects beefed-up and made so wickedly cool looking was a delight, but there’s just so much of that you can take. The one thing they hiccuped on was the early CGI de-aging process for Jeff Bridges’ CLU, which was eerie looking and no where near what it is today. Have you seen Gemini Man or The Irishman? THAT’S impressive!
Joseph Kosinski made his directorial debut here. In the ‘real world’, the direction is bland and stilted, but in the world of Tron, it gets up and moves, as well as it should. Another problem is in the casting. Hedlund, although rugged and super-model nice to look at, is lifeless. Jeff Bridges, as his old man, has more energy! Wilde is cute & perky and steals the show from Hedlund, and Sheen (for the little amount he’s shown) is the best thing about the movie. I’d rather see a film about him and his crazy cabaret!