‘TRON’ sequel a spectacular legacy

The journey to “TRON: Legacy” would have to wait just another minute — early audiences were asked to check their phones at the door, lest they attempt a little techno handiwork of their own — but after 28 years, what’s another 60 seconds? Besides, the last thing this digitally dazzling sequel needed was extra circuitry in the theater.

The 1982 original, so prophetic in its fascination with the virtual world of computers, would seem an obvious choice for a follow-up, and perhaps there is no better time than now, when technology has almost caught up with the vivid imaginations of creators Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird.

The 3-D “Legacy” was written by committee, and it shows. The dialogue­ is occasionally stiff, redeemed here and there by some Dude-like asides courtesy of star Jeff Bridges.

But this is a movie concerned less with verbal acrobatics than with the physical kind, performed by cyber warriors in a dimension-melding Emerald City with shades of the dystopian Los Angeles of “Blade Runner.” There’s enough neon to make Las Vegas blush.

While I suspect many of those flocking to “Legacy” this weekend may know little or nothing about the original “TRON,” or even the arcade game, director Joe Kosinski’s reboot offers cleverly embedded Cliff’s Notes.

Here, Kevin Flynn (Bridges) is trapped in cyberspace by his digital alter ego, Clu, with his estranged son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) in pursuit.

Kevin and his comely disciple Quorra (Olivia Wilde) are exiled to the outskirts of the utopian metropolis he once instructed Clu to create in the so-called Grid, where his dreams of designing a better world have led to a fascist nightmare.

Sam is galled to find his father resigned to inaction. Knowing little about the Grid or his rival, he wants to take the fight to Clu.

Big mistake for him, but rewarding for us. Exploring the Grid’s glitzy city, we find Castor, a bar owner with enough lively energy to power a light show all on his own. Michael Sheen plays Castor, and if Bridges is the movie’s likably laidback anchor, Sheen sends it soaring.

At more than two hours, “Legacy” seems to drag near the end, but never is it less than a marvelous spectacle.

Conceptually, it illustrates the hazards of resisting imperfection, an appropriate lesson for a movie that asks us to accept a few warts of its own.

Buoyed by its story, sometimes convoluted but hard to resist, “Legacy” is a worthy sequel, both in its fantastic look and its admirable sense of wonder. Flynn lives, and we’re grateful for it.


MOVIE REVIEW

TRON: Legacy ???

Starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner

Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal

Directed by
Joe Kosinki

Rated
PG

Running time 2 hours, 7 minutes

artsentertainmentJeff BridgesMoviesSan Francisco

Just Posted

A large crack winds its way up a sidewalk along China Basin Street in Mission Bay on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?

‘In the last couple months, it’s been a noticeable change’

For years, Facebook employees have identified serious harms and proposed potential fixes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have rejected the remedies, causing whisteblowers to multiple. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)
Facebook’s problems at the top: Social media giant is not listening to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers multiply, but Zuckerberg and Sandberg don’t heed their warnings

Maria Jimenez swabs her 7-year-old daughter Glendy Perez for a COVID-19 test at Canal Alliance in San Rafael on Sept. 25. (Penni Gladstone/CalMatters)
Rapid COVID-19 tests in short supply in California

‘The U.S. gets a D- when it comes to testing’

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

A new ruling will thwart the growth of solar installation companies like Luminalt, which was founded in an Outer Sunset garage and is majority woman owned. (Philip Cheung, New York Times)
A threat to California’s solar future and diverse employment pathways

A new ruling creates barriers to entering the clean energy workforce

Most Read