Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Tron Legacy Looks Great, But Feels Cold

Plus, nay to Yogi Bear and How Do You Know, and The Fighter and Black Swan are Certified Fresh.

by | December 17, 2010 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a combative computer (Tron Legacy, starring Jeff Bridges and Garrett Hedlund), buffoonish bears (Yogi Bear, starring Dan Akroyd and Justin Timberlake), a rollicking romance (How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd), a promising pugilist (The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale), and brooding ballerinas (Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis). What do the critics have to say?


Tron Legacy

Upon its release in 1982, TRON was hailed as a technical marvel; its status as one of the first films to rely prominently on computer-generated images helped to cover the fact that the plot was a little goofy. Now, the long gestating and heavily-anticipated sequel Tron Legacy is here, and critics say it has the opposite problem: its dazzling visuals and stellar production design do a good job of distracting you from the fact that it’s a little too self-serious. Garrett Hedlund stars as a young techie on a mission to find out why his father (Jeff Bridges) disappeared; soon, he’s sucked into the same tech vortex that claimed his old man, and with the help of a cyber-warrior (Olivia Wilde), they must navigate the increasingly precarious digital terrain and defeat an updated version of dad’s old computer program. The pundits say Tron Legacy is the virtual definition of a feast for the eyes, with sleek visuals and a killer score from Daft Punk. However, others say that while the imagery is immersive, the movie’s a little too long and not always dramatically satisfying. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, which runs down some of the highlights of movie computing, as well as our interviews with stars Wilde and Michael Sheen and our list of the movie games we wish we could play.)


Yogi Bear

Hey, Boo-Boo! Did you hear there’s a new live action/CGI movie starring everyone’s favorite Jellystone Park-dwelling bruin? Well, there is, though critics say Yogi Bear is no pic-a-nic — indeed, its script isn’t as smart as your average family comedy, leaving its talented voice cast stranded. Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) is his usual mischievous self, stealing picnic lunches with the help of his faithful sidekick Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake). However, the unusually intelligent ursine’s days may be numbered, as his beloved Jellystone may be up for sale to nefarious logging interests. The pundits say Yogi Bear is thoroughly mediocre, depending almost entirely on Yogi’s amiability and ancient plot devices to stretch the film to feature length.


How Do You Know

Once upon a time, James L. Brooks was one of Hollywood’s most skilled purveyors of smart romantic comedies. He can still capture witty banter from time to time, but critics say How Do You Know plays like a sitcom, with its all-star cast reduced to contrived behavior. Reese Witherspoon stars as a star softball player who’s torn between two charming guys: a goofy, arrogant major leaguer (Owen Wilson) and a down-on-his-luck financial wiz (Paul Rudd) with a dictatorial father (Jack Nicholson). Which one will she choose? The pundits say it doesn’t much matter, since the characters are both paper-thin and hopelessly narcissistic, even as the actors work mightily to give them some charm.


The Fighter

If you’ve seen one boxing movie, you’ve seen them all, right? Maybe so, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — at least according to critics — when it comes to David O. Russell’s The Fighter, a biopic about the rise of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his relationship with his troubled half-brother Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale). When Dicky, an aspiring boxer, suffers a humiliating loss and falls into a life of drugs and crime, Micky dons his own pair of gloves and struggles to pull his family back together by becoming a winner himself. While the Certified Fresh The Fighter covers some familiar ground in the inspirational sports genre, critics are so far impressed by the performances not only from Wahlberg and Bale, but also from co-star Amy Adams, and the result has been some significant awards season buzz. (check out Amy Adams’s Five Favorite Films here).


Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky acquired an early following with films like Pi and Requiem for a Dream, but he made a mainstream name for himself with 2008’s The Wrestler. That trend looks to continue with the Certified Fresh Black Swan, a dark psychological drama set in the world of professional ballet. Natalie Portman stars as Nina, a gifted dancer who can’t quite pull off the Black Swan half of the lead role in Swan Lake and, in the face of competition from a new dancer (Mila Kunis), embarks on an ominous path of self-discovery. The critics have been impressed with Portman’s powerhouse performance and with Aronofsky’s work as director, and the result is an intense and passionate film that boldly showcases the talent of its actors.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

A&E canceled emmy awards FOX cults all-time what to watch VH1 cinemax Awards festivals 2016 Emmy Nominations franchise BET Awards rt archives 4/20 Marathons Pop cooking cancelled TV series parents GLAAD Chilling Adventures of Sabrina biography GoT Film Esquire Turner Classic Movies Polls and Games revenge Pet Sematary AMC Interview 24 frames Black Mirror Sony Pictures PaleyFest worst Showtime video Anna Paquin Hallmark Christmas movies cancelled scorecard game of thrones theme song Tarantino Red Carpet Baby Yoda RT21 CBS All Access Starz crime Binge Guide halloween tv A24 adventure technology Horror TCA Winter 2020 Comics on TV animated Nominations HBO HBO Max Song of Ice and Fire zero dark thirty LGBTQ sequels Quiz 72 Emmy Awards fast and furious The Witch Lucasfilm finale boxoffice football Comedy Central MSNBC National Geographic Dark Horse Comics nature psycho Discovery Channel free movies Trophy Talk Women's History Month Netflix Christmas movies Avengers Lionsgate BBC America harry potter 2015 Peacock Country Rocky Trailer Sundance Now BBC One dc game show Mary poppins ITV Disney+ Disney Plus Certified Fresh IFC Rom-Com BAFTA aliens Ovation dark teaser worst movies Walt Disney Pictures SXSW criterion superhero comiccon Lifetime police drama series foreign video on demand ABC diversity Spring TV festival Epix critics crossover Musicals Pirates Calendar Box Office stoner Food Network 007 Superheroe comic hist RT History VICE comics satire cops Rock psychological thriller name the review Podcast sequel spinoff Opinion mission: impossible Spike cars medical drama First Look HBO Go Hallmark 21st Century Fox golden globes archives Amazon universal monsters movie spanish language WarnerMedia FX on Hulu LGBT cancelled TV shows Bravo Crunchyroll obituary Amazon Prime Video Fox Searchlight cartoon Oscars romantic comedy DC Comics toy story social media crime thriller Nickelodeon spain Turner twilight APB Paramount Network DC Universe Syfy screenings ABC Family independent sports Amazon Studios australia YA El Rey Hear Us Out President Valentine's Day Character Guide Disney See It Skip It true crime asian-american DGA films anime Fantasy Reality TLC robots versus book stop motion television TV die hard political drama FXX period drama discovery VOD concert adaptation scary movies Mary Tyler Moore classics American Society of Cinematographers Kids & Family Mystery singing competition 2019 Apple OneApp venice Cosplay christmas movies travel Apple TV+ Pop TV Arrowverse Martial Arts NYCC miniseries werewolf ID San Diego Comic-Con dceu spy thriller CMT Captain marvel Grammys Thanksgiving First Reviews cancelled television GIFs Family 2017 children's TV sag awards hispanic mutant joker Superheroes directors blaxploitation dramedy screen actors guild Winter TV rotten movies we love Fox News serial killer tv talk Cannes USA streaming deadpool spider-man crime drama Elton John breaking bad Trivia toronto Toys Freeform Tumblr dragons TV renewals Musical Rocketman TCM 2018 remakes Drama nfl chucky kids Lifetime Christmas movies docudrama Watching Series elevated horror TBS 45 spanish TruTV batman CNN Music Amazon Prime ghosts japanese nbcuniversal natural history Extras YouTube Red sitcom The Purge E3 Tomatazos Masterpiece Reality Competition Super Bowl Christmas casting Sneak Peek jamie lee curtis green book Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures Western Academy Awards USA Network SDCC halloween Funimation SundanceTV Sundance Shondaland rotten Holidays reviews justice league Cartoon Network politics Star Trek historical drama latino DC streaming service renewed TV shows The Arrangement child's play Marvel DirecTV 2020 ESPN reboot composers 71st Emmy Awards disaster Awards Tour supernatural Photos laika TCA Paramount blockbuster anthology Hulu a nightmare on elm street Mindy Kaling james bond romance cats canceled TV shows Logo unscripted Film Festival 20th Century Fox Stephen King IFC Films Nat Geo Schedule E! south america Holiday science fiction NBC Mary Poppins Returns X-Men Comedy Summer strong female leads documentaries zombies Heroines italian The Walking Dead indie Sci-Fi TV Land Universal PBS YouTube Premium facebook witnail Crackle Spectrum Originals slashers TNT Adult Swim talk show Star Wars based on movie thriller BBC Brie Larson Travel Channel Netflix Britbox FX binge movies richard e. Grant CW Seed Biopics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Chernobyl History Winners Endgame OWN Disney streaming service Infographic Emmys doctor who Pride Month MCU zombie The Academy CBS TCA Awards award winner Sundance TV documentary quibi Teen Pixar Television Academy black space YouTube TIFF transformers Creative Arts Emmys Writers Guild of America vampires Television Critics Association The CW Tubi Black History Month Apple TV Plus PlayStation comedies stand-up comedy hollywood Year in Review Disney Plus Best and Worst Marvel Studios news Disney Channel war Animation Classic Film Set visit Marvel Television comic books best Acorn TV New York Comic Con MTV WGN Shudder Fall TV Video Games ratings BET Comic Book Ellie Kemper french Countdown TCA 2017 Action Mudbound Vudu mockumentary Premiere Dates indiana jones Election dogs Warner Bros.