The original movie Tron was a special effects-filled world where a human was sucked into a world where computer programs had lives and personalities -- and had to battle an evil, controlling program. Tron: Legacy follows a very similar story, though the sequel's special effects are a substantial improvement over the original's 1982 graphics.
Tron: Legacy begins seven years after the original movie, with master programmer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) telling his seven-year-old son Sam about a miraculous discovery -- and then disappearing. Jump to the present, and Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is a reckless daredevil and tech genius, giving company Encom's programs away for free (like Dad would have wanted) and getting in trouble with the law. After Sam's family friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, reprising his role from the original movie) says he got a mysterious page from Kevin, Sam goes to investigate -- and gets zapped into a computer world.
The computer world is a brightly-lit wonder, where programs live and die at the whim of a master program named Clu (also played by Jeff Bridges, though looking 30 years younger). Clu was created by Kevin to create a perfect world, but instead Clu destroys imperfections and forces programs to battle with flying discs and light-cycle battles (much like in the original). And Clu has a master scheme involving Kevin.
While an action movie has enemies, it also needs allies. Sam finds both his long-lost father and a sexy cyber-babe named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) that is father's apprentice and his comrade in arms. It turns out that Kevin has been trapped there, hiding from Clu. There is a portal back to the real world, but it will only be open for a few more hours. Can Sam reach it in time? What is Clu's secret plan? What character is more than they appear?
Tron: Legacy is absolutely terrific to look at, with a cgi-generated neon atmosphere running through everything and action sequences that take full advantage of the movie's 3-D. There's also plenty here for fans nostalgic about the original movie, from the battles to the tank from the arcade game and a poster for The Black Hole, another Disney sci-fi movie (that is, not coincidentally, getting remade).
What's less impressive is the story and characters. The story is almost too similar to the original, complete with more elaborate-but-still-repeated battles from the first. There are also several lapses in the logic of the computer universe, notably towards the somewhat disappointing finale. The characters are pretty simple as well: Sam is a thrill-seeker glad to be reunited with his long-lost Dad, Kevin is a combination hippie and tech genius (at times it's hard not to imagine Jeff Bridges is borrowing from the Dude in The Big Lebowski), Clu represents control gone overboard, and Quorra is a curious sprite-like innocent.

But since Tron: Legacy is almost a video game (and sure enough, one has been released to coincide with the movie), plot and character are secondary to visuals and action. For all the philosophy about existence and father-son bonding, this movie's world is about the good guys glowing blue, the bad guys glowing red (or, in Clu's case, orange), and beating the ticking clock to save the day. Tron: Legacy is fluff, but visually impressive fluff.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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