Tron: Legacy

Monday December 6th 2010

It’s been a year of massively disappointing blockbusters: Alice in Wonderland was instantly forgettable, Iron Man 2 was a distracted mess, Toy Story 3 wasn’t worthy of the franchise it continued, Inception was boring and if I’m honest, even Deathly Hallows was worse than expected.

But none of them come within 300 miles of how unequivocally shit Tron: Legacy is.

With a plot so impenetrably convoluted that it can only be aimed at hardcore fans of the first movie, Legacy labours away under the mistaken impression that most of its audience will be satisfied by nothing more than a lot of blue and orange lights hanging all over the shop. Humour? Emotion? Tension? These are the preserves of lesser action movies, not serious, worthy epics with Daft Punk scores and screenplays by Lost writers.

Relative newcomer Garrett Hedlund is particularly devoid of charisma as cocky young wiz-kid Sam Flynn. Or is he an awkward loner? Or a smooth ladies’ man? The movie doesn’t seem to know and I’m certainly none the wiser.

In fact, the one person whose character even approaches definition is Michael Sheen, who swans about being all Flash Gordon for 10 minutes in a movie that otherwise takes itself more seriously than The Dark Knight. And if you thought he was at risk of playing a fictional character for once, fear not. It’s pretty clear who his performance is channeling:

Inevitably, there are some ‘visually stunning’ moments when The Zone or The Tron or The Grid or whatever it’s called is introduced, but once you get used to the movie being set in the Blu-ray section of the Oxford Street HMV, there’s relatively little joy to be had (even in the aspect-ratio-shifting comfort of the IMAX).

It’s a sad indictment of big-budget moviemaking today that $300 million has been put into a movie in which even the most basic of human emotions are reduced to sterile, abstract forms. They are goals to be chased; concepts for Jeff Bridges to blankly eulogise over, rather than feelings that might actually help to define the movie’s characters and justify their actions. After all, who cares when the film geeks love the new light cycles and the music blogs love the soundtrack? The box office report writes itself.

Arrogant, hollow and inescapably boring, here’s hoping we have to wait more than 28 years for the inevitable part three.

tl;dr There’s nothing to like.