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TRON: Legacy

Zippy special effects can't salvage a clunky, confusing story

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Way back in 1982's TRON, a video-game designer named Kevin Flynn went inside a computer to wage a death-battle with a software program. Now, in Joseph Kosinki's semi-sequel, we learn that Flynn got stuck inside "the grid," the computer-generated game-world he created. His grown son Sam (Garrett Hedlund), himself a computer-whiz smarty-pants, pops into the grid, where he in no short order: fights a laser-Frisbee game; pilots a bitchin' light-cycle; is rescued by a hottie (Olivia Wilde); and meets his dad (Jeff Bridges, reprising his role from TRON). Together, they hatch an escape plan, while being hunted by rogue software programs. The new TRON unpacks loads of digitally enhanced special effects. But not enough to make me care, or to further the story, which was both pedestrian and confusing. On the upside, Jeff Bridges can sell just about anything, including whoever he is here: a Zen-like retired code-warrior, aging-hippie genius and absent dad, with sublime tastes in sleek midcentury design? The story is mostly upbeat, but the palette is broody and dark as befits this twisted place; and the Daft Punk soundtrack is a huge improvement over Disney's usual soaring strings. In 3-D in select theaters.

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