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TRON: Legacy’s parts are better than its whole

TRON: Legacy - DVD Review
Release Date: 04/05/2011 - MPAA Rating: PG
Clacker Rating: 3 Clacks

Disney's 'TRON: Legacy' has a few good things going for it. Strangely enough, sitting through the entire thing isn't one of them.

I’m extremely picky these days when it comes to what I pay for to see on the big screen. Despite her protests otherwise, Deb pretty much hates movies. Everyone else I know is either too poor to venture out to the theater or is in the phase of parenthood where getting out of the house for an evening is a huge luxury; spending it on pricey movie tickets and even pricer snacks isn’t high on the list of options. Since right now I don’t care much for going to the theater alone, to Netflix I go.

I preface this post with the above because I often feel my review of a movie would be vastly different if I’d seen it on a big screen, complete with uninterrupted viewing and audience reactions. As modest as my TV screen is in size (actually,┬ácomparatively, it’s mediocre) and as loud as I’m able to get my Dolby 5.1 sound system to play, I don’t feel I’m getting the full “picture.” Likely this is why people still go to the theater and aren’t holed-up hermits like myself.

TRON: Legacy is one of those movies I feel the theater experience would have helped me in appreciating it more. No, not in 3D; just in standard, theatrical atmosphere. I have a short list of things I felt were the best parts of TRON: Legacy, though only one pertains specifically to the Blu-ray release. None of them, mind you, require a full viewing of the movie.

The Disney Second Screen iPad app — This is the one positive aspect of the movie that’s specific to the Blu-ray release. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, Disney released a free companion iPad app for its TRON: Legacy Blu-ray release. This app essentially gives you access to a slew of DVD-like extras within a “second screen,” which syncs with what you’re watching at the time. The app is either able to sync via network connectivity to your Blu-ray player, via sound sync, or manually. You can also browse through the extras in the app on your own. The extras themselves may not be the most thrilling, but I was mightily impressed with how well it worked and how seamlessly it just worked via network sync.

The soundtrack — This is probably a no-brainer for most of those who’ve seen TRON: Legacy, and I’m right there with you. Though the music wasn’t necessarily earth-shatteringly unique nor groundbreaking, it set the mood more perfectly than anyone could have hoped for. My only “gripe” — if you can call it that — is that it at times reminded me too much of something I’d hear in a Batman movie. Still, the first scenes with Daft Punk‘s score simply sent chills up my spine.

The first 45 minutes — As I was noting earlier, the theatrical experience is an uninterrupted one. In my first go at TRON: Legacy on Blu-ray, I watched up through the lightcycle grid escape scene, and then had to continue watching the film the next night. Those first 45 minutes of the movie were so good that my pessimistic self though there was just no way the rest of the movie could continue on this badass pace. After watching the rest of the movie the next night, my doubts were confirmed. The rest of the movie wasn’t terrible, but I feel I’d have been happier if I’d just stopped watching at the 45-minute mark.

The rating — After watching that first segment of the movie, I couldn’t help but tell my sci-fi-loving six-year-old son about the disc battle and the lightcycles. Many times with these kinds of movies I tread carefully in their descriptions, as they can be too violent in some way or another. But, in TRON: Legacy — it being rated PG — almost all of the violence is that of “programs” falling to bit into pixely glasslike pieces. I felt completely OK with showing him the disc battle and the lightcycle race, all with the explanation that these weren’t “people” we were seeing, and that they were inside a game. And there were none of those “oh crap I hope he doesn’t hear and repeat that in public” words. The downside: now my son is all TRON crazy … if that is a downside.

For a sequel to a 20-year-old movie — and a cult classic at that — this was a worthwhile effort. I was impressed with the detail (especially the geeky, techie stuff right up my alley) and those elements I highlighted above, but I can’t say I can rate it any higher than simply “liking it.” The first 45 minutes, though, were a fun ride.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios.

Categories: DVDs, General, Reviews

One Response to “TRON: Legacy’s parts are better than its whole”

June 13, 2011 at 9:56 PM

I enjoyed seeing Tron Legacy on the big screen, and I think the 3D was actually helpful to the movie because it gave you the feeling of looking off into vast, endless spaces as much as the 3D for Avatar enveloped you and brought you into that world. It wasn’t as great as I’d hoped — and nothing could have lived up to the hype and excitement that came with the first trailer a year before the release — but I enjoyed it (and the great Daft Punk score!).

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