Fans of "Tron" have always hoped that the world of the original film would be revisited. However, it wasn't until the remarkable success of an anniversary edition DVD set that the discussion really seemed to begin in force. The 1982 film remains a landmark in cinema, with visuals that - despite their limitations, given the technology of the day - still retain an almost eerie, haunting beauty. The sequel offers up a bit of backstory before launching forward: Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) has been missing for decades, having been missing since he was thought to have made a major discovery. In present day, his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) has become the primary shareholder of his father's company, but remains disinterested in the very different company that has developed since his father's disappearance.
Sam is contacted by Aan (Bruce Boxleitner) who continues to believe that there's much more to Kevin's vanishing act than anyone thinks. One day, Alan presents Sam with a shocking discovery: he has gotten a page from Kevin's office, from a number that has been disconnected for years. While skeptical at best, Sam heads over the old arcade and accidentally gets himself transported into cyberspace. Stunned to find out that the theories are real, he doesn't have much time to figure how best to survive in a world where inhabitants must constantly face off in challenges, such as the well-known disc fights, which have certainly gotten a major league technical upgrade, as have most other visual elements of the film.
Sam soon finds that his father's alter-ego, Clu (also Bridges) has taken over the "Tron"-verse, with a master plan to venture outside of the "Tron"-verse and into the real world, where he can do what all bad guys do - start a plan to take over. Sam escapes with the help of Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who takes him to his father. From there, the story progresses towards the expected showdown.
While the story feels familiar at the core, the journey is a great deal of fun, thanks a tremendously successful visual style. While the primitive effects of the original film still have an undeniable artistic beauty, the sequel offers a stunning presentation of the world of the film, with the light cycle races and other elements having a dark, ominous and remarkably bold look and feel that, while certainly very different than the original film (and a touch "Matrix"-esque), is remarkable in its own right. The only element that didn't work for me was the FX work done to create a much younger version of Bridges, which looks more than a little like the "Polar Express" characters. While the tale is a little more style over substance, the picture never quite falls into the territory of feeling like a video game, as some interesting concepts are presented, if not as fully developed as I'd have liked.
The performances are a bit mixed, but Bridges and Wilde are certainly very good in their roles. Bridges is particularly excellent, with a slightly amusing "Dude"-like air as the elder Flynn. Wilde is unexpectedly excellent, and gives heart and soul to her character. Hedlund is the weakest link, delivering a performance that's perfectly acceptable, but not memorable. Still, while "Tron: Legacy" is not the cinematic landmark that the original was, works superbly as highly entertaining popcorn fare.
Speaking of the classic original film, it is also included in this 5(!)-disc set on an additional Blu-Ray disc. There is also the 3-D version (for those with 3D capable equipment), Blu-Ray, digital copy and DVD.
VIDEO: "Tron Legacy" is presented by Disney in 2.35:1, with some scenes in 1.78:1 (1080p) and the results are absolutely phenomenal. Sharpness and detail remained exceptional, allowing viewers to check out all of the fine details of the production. Smaller details were also clearly visible, and the picture remained smooth and clean. No edge enhancement or pixelation were spotted, and the elements used appeared pristine. Colors looked rich and vivid, with the film's neon colors appearing spot-on. Overall, this was simply a delightful presentation of the film.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 7.1 presentation offered an audio presentation that remained marvelous throughout. Aggressive and dynamic, the film's audio presentation puts the users - without question - right into the middle of the film's action sequences. Surrounds boasted crisp, well-recorded discrete effects, ambience and other elements, while the rear speakers really deliver an open, three-dimensional feel. Audio quality remains fantastic, with deep bass and crisp, well-recorded dialogue.
EXTRAS: "The Next Day: Flynn Revealed", Daft Punk music video, "First Look at Tron: Uprising" (a new animated series), "Installing the Cast", "Visualizing Tron", "Launching the Legacy" making-of and "Disc Roars" Comic-Con piece. Additionally, as noted, this 5(!)-disc set comes with the original film on Blu-Ray.
Final Thoughts: Still, while "Tron: Legacy" is not the cinematic landmark that the original was, works superbly as highly entertaining popcorn fare. The Blu-Ray presentation offers awesome audio/video quality, although comes up a bit short on the extras. Still, highly recommended.
The Film B+