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Buena Vista / 223 Minutes / 1982/2010 / Rated PG / Street Date: April 5, 2011
It's difficult to approach Tron: Legacy without juggling expectations. For every geek in her/his 30s or 40s, the concept of a sequel to Tron has been a long-desired holy grail of sorts - there was always some guy at school or some gal at work who'd have 'early news' about the movie finally getting off the ground, but for the most part, this added up to twenty years of well-intended hot air.
But we did finally get a Tron sequel - the elegantly-phrased Tron: Legacy - and I have to admit that simply having it be a reality is somehow reassuring. Good, bad or ugly, the fact that Disney finally got around to continuing that dudes-within-a-computer story every Commodore 64 user knew and loved was refreshingly rewarding. That being said, however, I avoided the movie in its theatrical release.
Why? Well the simple reason is that regardless of fanboy adoration, the original Tron is not a great movie. The effects are rad and some of those buzzing-neon discus scenes are cool as Hell (and who can resist the futuristic speeder sequences?), but the movie as a narrative entity is clunky and uncomfortably straightforward. In fact, I'd argue that Tron stands alone as a movie from the 1980s that is best remembered with childlike awe than it is revisited.
This, in turn, makes the fact that Tron: Legacy is so surprisingly effective all that more bizarre. Watching the film in glorious high-def - seriously reference-grade across the board - was an experience that this writer found to be intriguing and immersive. Sure, the plot is as needlessly expository and redundant as its predecessor - son of Jeff Bridges (Garrett Hedlund) gets pulled into 'The Grid' and compu-antics ensue - but the feel and mood of Tron: Legacy (as well as its excellent Daft Punk score) really come through here.
And a Blu-ray set like this one is patently irresistible to classic-Atari nerds. Not only do we get this new Tron in all its Tron-ness, but we get copious amounts of bonus features, none as precious as the original Tron movie itself. Again, attesting to the dramatic merit of these films would be an empty claim - on a certain level, they're both pretty dull - but that's not an issue here.
You don't have Tron and its new sequel on your shelf because they're amazing films: You have them on your shelf because they're Tron. You'll watch five minutes from each of these Blu-rays three or four times a year until a new format comes out. How's that for rewatchability?