By Steve Rousseau, Staff Writer
What is the purpose of a movie? Is it meant to be a visual novel, opening the minds of it's viewers through interesting plot progression and deep characters, or can it merely be a sound and light show entertaining its viewers with innovative score and art direction? This was the question I kept asking myself while watching Tron: Legacy. Can style be so good that it trumps substance?
The plot of Tron: Legacy sticks to the same cliche's and stereotypes found in it's predecessor. It's your average Campbellian hero story where the young rebellious computer wiz, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) goes off to look for his father, Kevin Flynn, role reprised by Jeff Bridges, in the digital world known as The Grid. You've seen this sort of story before, but the cliches and tropes aren't as glaring or as off-putting as Avatar.
But to be honest, much like the original, Tron: Legacy is more about literally opening your eyes more than figuratively. The first 20 minutes of the film seem to drag on as you await Sam's venture into the digital world, but once it happens you'll be hard-pressed to look away. The world of The Grid is a beautiful, dark, neon, and sterile setting that handily trumps the world of Avatar's Pandora in terms of art direction. It's a setting that makes you feel cool just watching it.
In addition, the amazing score composed by French electronic-duo Daft Punk further emphasizes the digital-world coolness of Tron: Legacy. Split almost half and half between conventional orchestration, and Daft Punk's signature electronic sound, you'll cant help but stare and listen in awe as a fight scene breaks out, in a club, a digital club, being DJ'd by Daft Punk themselves.
It is at this very scene that I decided I didn't care about things like plot, character development, and denouement. The story should be commended for not getting in the way -- serving only as a method to create jaw-dropping set pieces. Tron: Legacy is all about the flashing lights and noise. It's all about gawking at Olivia Wilde in a glow-in-the-dark spandex suit, it's all about grinning like an idiot every time Jeff Bridges comes on screen, and it's all about watching a lightcycle battle unfold with musical accompaniment by Daft Punk.
Discussions on character and plot are totally irrelevant and unnecessary when you're too busy trying to process all the awesome entering your eyes and ears.