Saw Tron: Legacy on Boxing Day, fearing it would be awful. In actual fact, it’s a good movie. Putting Sam in “the games” as he first arrives in the computer world is a pretty thin excuse to throw in the disc fighting and light cycles that everyone knows the first film for, almost like the writers figured they’d best get it out of the way, there are a few iffy lines, especially early on, the Castor character is 100% ham, and when one of the villains has a change of heart, and side, in the climax it’s a moment handled with little in the way of drama, impact, or even a particularly good reason. “I fight for the USERS!” indeed.
However, these are minor gripes, and only really occurred to me (aside from the ham, which is extraordinary; Michael Sheen really does chew the scenery as a sort of impresario nightclub owner) after the event. The cast is very good, the pacing was fine - I’d heard it sags in the middle, but for the son-regains-father story to work you need the quiet in the mid-section - and the story makes (enough) sense. I’m not a fan of 3D, and certainly not for 3D’s sake, but it’s done very nicely here; for most of the film, the use of it as an effect is very muted and subtle, used more for small details than for everything under the sun. It also retains a very high depth of field; unlike Avatar, where backgrounds were blurred and out of focus if you tried to look at them, Tron’s crystal sharp from front to back, which suits the design aesthetic. This isn’t James Cameron’s “look at all the pretty shit I can think of” plastering of everything in 3D, but someone thinking, “what would the technology add to this particular shot?” And where the answer is “nothing”, they don’t use it; the movie carries a warning at the start that some scenes are entirely 2D, that this is as intended and that people shouldn’t take off their glasses.
Crucially, while it’s not the greatest or most original story ever told, it is a decent one, and the characters, including the villain, have actual arcs. They change and develop over time, and, aside from the flip in loyalties that one supporting baddie has, the changes are handled well and flow nicely. There’s no unwarranted melodrama, no “NOOOOOOOO!” or chest-beating (which, given the ending, there could have been). There’s a decently light touch on the tiller in that respect throughout. And this very much sets it apart from Avatar, in which no one really changes, there’s no reason to give a shit about anything, and people do stuff only because that’s what the script says they do.
It’s not an all-time great, but it’s well worth a watch, and a cut above a lot of the shit that comes from Hollywood these days.