Review (Kind Of): “Tron Legacy”


kevin and sam flynn in tron legacy

For the sake of full disclosure, I’m biased.

I’m biased in part because I was born at the right time to love the original Tron, and had conversations in college about how cool a sequel could be. (Answer: Not nearly as cool then as it could be now, given how movie-making has changed in the intervening years.) So I wanted to see a sequel to Tron, and I wanted to like it.

But I’m biased for another reason. I still have vague memories of my dad taking me to see the original Tron in the theater that used to be in what used to be Parkway City Mall the year I turned seven. Friday night, Heather needed to do some Christmas shopping, so I took the boys, seven and almost-five, to see Tron Legacy. And it was really cool sharing with Finn something that I got to do at the same age. As an added bonus, the next day, we all went to a Christmas church service Sunday night, and I got to watch Finn and my dad talking about Tron, getting to be both the kid and the adult at the same time.

Arguably, that was the ideal way to see Tron Legacy — with the recaptured joy of the child that I was 28 years ago, and vicariously through the fun of a child enjoying the neon thrills of the new film. For all the world-building and exposition and family emotion, it’s still, ultimately, a movie about guys that throw glowing Frisbees at each other. It’s a tribute to how much fun the original Tron was, and this movie is, that they can make kids want to leave the theater and have fights with Frisbees.

And it is fun. It’s pretty and frenetic and glossy and cool, and unabashedly and unapologetically fun. Thanks to changes in technology and movie-making over the intervening years, it’s a much more polished and mature and accessible film than the original Tron, with a more rooted emotional core, but at the same time it takes itself less seriously in a lot of ways. As critics will point out, it’s not perfect, but, really, that’s OK.

And me? I bought my toy Tron disc the next night.