Tron:  Legacy
 
            It really is a clever CGI trick to make Jeff Bridges look younger, so that he resembles the character he played in the original “Tron.”  Then, he also appears as his real (older) self, but just because the technology is interesting doesn’t mean that the film is.  Too bad.
            “Tron: Legacy” is a sequel to the almost-cult classic original, and it’s pure sci-fi.  So pure that we get a lot of razzle-dazzle pyro-techno-hologram-type scenes, but it just doesn’t feel real.  They even borrow copiously from the old “Star Wars” saga, but even that doesn’t help this bloodless material gain heart or soul, or put flesh on its 3-D images.
            Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the heir apparent of a very advanced computer software design company which his famous father Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) founded.  The trouble is, ol’ Dad has pulled the disappearing act:  when Sam was a kid.  He just rode off on his motorcycle one night, and nobody’s seen him since.  Sam, now grown, lives like a hermit in a garage apartment:  he races motorcycles too fast, and he enjoys disdaining the work of the computer program company, though some of their original programmers, the ones who worked with his father, are still there.  By accident, Sam discovers a kind of space portal by playing an old video game (“Tron”) in the musty old warehouse late one night, and before he knows it he’s thrust into another dimension, where he’s summarily inserted into an arena as a gladiator.  Yes, the kind that fights to the death for the amusement of the patrons literally screaming for blood.  Yes, the irony is not lost on us that in some sophisticated, intelligent future we will somehow revert to our primal, atavistic, fleshly selves.  Go figure.
            Sam survives the combat, barely, by being really quick and incredibly resourceful, and discovers someone willing to help in Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who drives him off to meet his father?  Yes, dear ol’ Dad isn’t really dead, he’s just hiding out in another dimension where he can keep a low profile and do whatever he pleases and control the programming for his environment:  a kind of panacea for the supergeek.
But Kevin has lost something in the ion translation:  he’s sort of semi-retired, sitting around in his bathrobe, keeping a low profile, not worrying too much about his life in the world he left behind, and his reunion with his now-grown-up son is as awkward as if…they don’t really don’t each other any more.
            The “virtual” (read: ageless) Kevin, named “Clu,” is ready to insure control of his futuristic fiefdom by eliminating his obvious rivals, even if they are himself and the extension of himself.  Yes, the whole “Tron” thing seems to have fallen in on itself, and they don’t bother to help the audience care about the characters enough to really maintain much interest in who survives the cosmos conflict.
            All flash, no dash.  All hat, no cattle.  All bright lights, but no warmth.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas