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December 20, 2010

Tron:Legacy A Visual Evolution

by Jonn Holland

Bruce Boxleitner as Tron in the 1982 film

If you were a child of at least six years old in nineteen eighty-two, then you may remember seeing Tron in the movie theater. You might also remember being in awe of the visual effects since they were unlike anything you had ever seen before. Over the last twenty-eight years you may have shown this movie to your children and have often wondered if there would ever be another Tron movie. Now there is and the wait is over as Tron:Legacy graced screens around the world this past weekend.

While the first Tron film was visual candy in ’82, it pales in comparison to the visual intercourse experienced while watching Tron:Legacy.

Having shot the film using a combination of 3D and traditional 2D, the filmmakers create a subtle divide between our world and the digital world, where reality is flat; lacking depth and the digital world is fully interactive and intimately engaging. If you thought the effects in the original were something, you haven’t seen anything yet. The colors are brighter and the environment is nearly absent of straight lines and polygons. All of this shows that the digital realm has truly evolved.

The legacy of the first Tron is evident from the first scene where Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is telling his son, Sam is telling stories about his exploits on “the grid” with heroic Tron(Bruce Boxleitner), a security program and Clu; a program that Kevin Flynn designed to think like humans. After promising to take Sam to “the grid”, the elder Flynn leaves for work and never returns.

Fast forward to present day, where Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund)is now twenty-seven years old and the primary share holder in Encom- the company that Kevin Flynn took over in 1982 after successfully aiding Tron in defeating the MCP (Master Control Program) that sought to trap Kevin in the digital world-Sam, has no interest in taking control of Encom in his father’s absence. For him, the real world has little excitement to offer except when he sabotages an Encom board meeting.


Sam’s curiosity and hope is sparked after his father’s former partner, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) visits and tells him that he received a page from the office at Flynn’s Arcade, which has been closed for twenty years. The younger Flynn investigates the arcade and finds Kevin Flynn’s hidden office. After accessing the computer he finds, Sam is sucked into the digital world by the same device that originally transported his father into cyberspace.

Upon his arrival, Sam ends up on the game grid and has an encounter with Clu(Jeff Bridges)who nearly kills him, save for a daring rescue by Cora(Olivia Wilde). Cora takes Sam far from the game grid, to an isolated area of the system, where he has a joyous and unexpected reunion with his father who has been trapped in the system for twenty years. For both, it is a day they thought would never come.

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) and Cora (Olivia Wilde)

Together again, Kevin Flynn tells his son why he did not return that night and how Clu betrayed both himself and Tron and now searches for Kevin’s identity disc, which is the master key to the entire system. They decide to make a dash for the portal back to our world. A task much easier said than done as father, son and Cora must get past Clu and his garrison.

On the surface Tron:Legacy is a story of how a son must come to terms with the inheritance his father has left him. Beneath that, is the story of a man who is betrayed by his own ambitions to create a perfect contribution to the world and must be rescued by his son who is his true legacy.

This is a great film to take your kids to and share in the world of wonder and adventure that Disney began so many years ago.

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