The Screen Room
Belated Sequels: Tron: Legacy (2010)
This week on Belated Sequels I thought we’d look at another example of a sequel that in my opinion WAS worth the wait.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
Previous Instalment: TRON (1982)
Time since last instalment: 28 years.
Now I’d be lying if I said I was always a huge fan of the original Disney film but I’d seen it a couple of times over the years and thought it was ok.
It was actually way ahead of its time, not only with its groundbreaking visual effects but also its premise (a guy gets digitalised into a computerised world and has to compete in deadly games and find a way back to the real world etc).
When you think about it, we’re kind of used to that idea nowadays with movies like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and it’s 2019 sequel, not to mention The Matrix (1999) - an awesome movie that took the whole thing in a different direction altogether. In 1982 though, the idea of putting a person into a digital world was a relatively new one.
When I heard a sequel was coming out I decided to rewatch the original TRON since I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid and my memory of it was a bit hazy. I actually enjoyed it a lot more watching it as an adult and I definitely had a better appreciation for it too. Watching the sequel shortly after with the original still fresh in my mind definitely increased my enjoyment of it.
Tron: Legacy is not only visually impressive, it’s got style! It’s also got a well thought out story and good characters, which is something a lot of these belated sequels fall down on time and time again.
I’ve said before that the studios seem to think nostalgia alone is enough to please us movie-goers. They throw in a few nods to the previous film (or films) and bring back the original characters, only to re-hash a slightly new variation of the original story to disappointing effect. This was different.
The original TRON looks pretty dated now (although it’s still fun to watch) and the advancements in CGI are hugely noticeable between the two films. Taking into account the amount of time between them though, it almost makes the experience better because of the advancements in computers themselves.
The first film was essentially aimed at kids and in my opinion was too serious and deep for them to fully appreciate. TRON: Legacy however seemed to recognise that fact and went for a much darker and more adult tone, making it a movie for an older audience while still being rated PG.
As good as the sequel is, nothing’s ever perfect and there are only two things that let if down for me.
The first is that as good as the CGI in the movie is, Clu, the protagonist who’s a computer generated, younger version of Jeff Bridges’ character “looks” computer generated (or at least his face does). In all fairness, even now, 11 years later they still haven’t nailed totally convincing computer generated facial expressions. There’s just something about the eyes and the way the lips move when the characters are talking that gives it away. It’s very inhuman.
Perfect examples are Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Will Smith’s younger self in Gemini Man (2019). The young Jeff Bridges is good but when he’s on screen the CGI is a bit distracting.
The second thing is the casting of Bridges’ character’s son played by Garrett Hedlund (Four Brothers). This is actually the only film I’ve seen him in and I just felt a more likeable actor could’ve done the job slightly better. That’s not to say he’s not good, I just wasn’t overly keen on him in the role. Other than that it’s a really good film.
With a great soundtrack by Daft Punk, TRON: Legacy is proof that a sequel to a movie released almost three decades earlier can not only get it right, but can (dare I say) even be better...?
Still here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.👇