After years of hype and anticipation, Joseph Kosinski’s TRON: Legacy finally arrives in theaters today. The trailers promised dazzling visuals, heart-pounding light cycle sequences, a de-aged Jeff Bridges of questionable quality, and a kick-ass score by Daft Punk. Does the final film ultimately deliver?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. SPOILERS are allowed.
I was able to see the film a screening this week, and while I wasn’t blown away, I didn’t think TRON: Legacy was an abomination. The film has a lot of problems: the pacing is sluggish, the acting is lackluster (Jeff Bridges totally phones in his performance, channeling The Dude in many scenes), the digitally altered CLU – presumably an eternally young version Bridges – did not work for me at all and was actually quite frightening and discombobulating, and the script is heavy on ham-fisted exposition, while light on heart or emotional resonance. Still, the visuals are occasionally breathtaking and I enjoyed the too-short light-cycle battle in the middle. It was a reasonably entertaining time at the movies, though the film dragged on way too long for its own good. [For an alternate take, be sure to check out Germain’s review]
That’s why I was a bit taken aback at some of the passionate hate being spewed against for this film. Erik Kohn called the film a “spectacle of nothingness,” Devin Faraci insisted that “there’s nothing that truly qualifies as entertaining in this movie,” and Drew McWeeny compared it unfavorably to a fleshlight, saying that “it might get you off, but it is plastic, phony, and utterly soulless.”
I don’t presume to understand the thought-processes of the critics above, but on some level, I can understand where they are coming from. Disney reportedly spent $170 million to produce the movie and an additional $150 million to market it. For that price tag, you’d think they’d at least do moviegoers the service of making sure that the movie is actually decent, that it engages your heart and mind in addition to being a great sci-fi action adventure.
Instead, the final product is indicative of the broader problems with Hollywood today. TRON: Legacy is not a great film. It’s not even a good one. But by marketing the hell out of it and leveraging the nostalgia and cult brand, Disney is sure to be able to get some butts in seats this weekend. There’s something that feels deeply cynical about that. Perhaps film critic Scott Mendelson put it best when he wrote, “If we as moviegoers accept this artless, soulless confection as a suitable example of big-budget filmmaking, then we deserve everything we get in the following years.”
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