Director: Joe Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen
Ground-breaking is a word that gets thrown around like a frisbee these days. This sequel to Disney's 1982 effects-smashing Tron looks impressive enough to claim such a grand moniker, but it's duller than dunking a Digestive in a cup of lukewarm tea. Yes, it's shiny and yes, it's blue but the most accurate adjective here is soggy. If we're keeping with the biscuit analogies, that is.
Custard Creams wish they were as technologically advanced as Joseph Kosinski's sandwich of 3D, no plot, and more 3D. Years after Kevin Flynn (Bridges) disappeared from the real world into shiny blue virtual world, his son Sam (Hedlund - called Sam because he's basically playing Sam Worthington) gets sucked into The Grid. Given a light disc and kitted out by white lycra-sporting Sirens, he's a Bourbon Cream in a sea of Jammie Dodgers. The king of the Jammie Dodgers? Jeff Bridges' CGI clone. He's the Garibaldi of the piece - pretty distinguished at a distance, but look closely enough and you spot all the dead pixels.
The Bourbon takes on the Dodgers with Light Cycles for the first part of the piece, and the chase sequences genuinely burn your retinas in a way not seen since 2008's Speed Racer, a psychotropic marijuana cookie if ever there was one. But Tron's excitement never quite heats up enough to melt the Bourbon's squidgy filling, mainly because first-time director Joe Kosinski has everything set to slow-mo. If half the action was sped up by 50%, you'd be hooked like a kid on Oreos.
Then there's the screenplay. A frazzled burnt-out husk of an idea, it's a flimsy as a Rich Tea and riddled with holes. Long conversations use vague terms but never soak up much substance. Characters turn up (hello Michael Sheen) to perform pointless plot functions, but aren't programmed to have any more depth that that. At one point we even take time out towards the climax to sit on a slow train ride for 10 minutes. It's like viewing The Matrix in code but being forced to stare at a Malted Milk. Presuming one of those malted milks looks a lot like David Bowie.
At least we have Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde on board. Chocolate Hobnobs dream of being as sexy as Quorra (Wilde), Sam's sidekick who defines superb costume design. And The Dude is as commanding a presence as ever - the Ginger Nut of the whole barrel. It's just a shame his barrel is loaded with those crappy coconut-flavoured Nice biscuits instead of good old chunky shortbread. And no matter how much Daft Punk you play loudly over the top, Nice biscuits ain't ever going to taste of anything other than Nice biscuits.
Of course, in blockbuster land, nobody cares what biscuits they're baking, as long as they sell. Kosinski has crafted a detailed wafer of an idea that screams out love and attention - it's the prettiest biscuit you'll ever see in your whole life - but Lost writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have dumped a lump of dough on top that smothers it completely. Instead, we're left with a half-risen finger of a film, that wants to be an exceedingly good Jaffa Cake but is closer to those pink wafer things you get in variety packs. And no-one knows what they're called.
It could have been as mind-blowing as Inception, but Tron: Legacy winds up as this year's Avatar. Blue, shiny, and ultimately shallow. Crumbs.
- bourbon cream
- bruce boxleitner
- cgi clone
- custard cream
- daft punk