TRON: Legacy

TRON: Legacy ★★★★½

I hated this movie when I saw it at the theatre. I liked it when I bought one more ticket a week later. I loved it when I re-watched it again yesterday.

The reason was, as it often is, mismatched expectations. The plot here was clearly written in BASIC with a lot of GO TO statements, and the actors feel as incompatible as various 8-bit platforms of the early 1980s. Someone once quipped, cynically, that the legacy of Tron: Legacy was only two things: a) the soundtrack and b) Olivia Wilde’s haircut.

There’s, however, so much more. Tron’s virtual world, made of glass and neon, is beautiful, meticulous, and enthralling. The visuals, the sound editing, the soundtrack all make it feel real, against all odds and internal inconsistencies. Forget Pandora, forget The Matrix – this is where I want to go on vacation when virtual reality becomes reality.

The other thing is: the people who put this together clearly loved the source material. This is a proper Tron 2.0, full of nods to the original, and various little loving details: Rinzler’s corrupted sounds, the bartender called Zuse after the German computer constructor, Quorra losing at Go, emacs on the Encom screen, tips of hat to WarGames and many, many other things. And it is in those things where the movie finds its lost humanity.