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

Paramount Network History composers Comedy adventure Comic Book Paramount 24 frames 20th Century Fox blaxploitation Interview Premiere Dates ABC Family Mary Tyler Moore hist Grammys Election Teen 2016 Marvel Masterpiece Mindy Kaling CNN cats FOX Opinion ratings romance Freeform political drama Western 007 Box Office police drama YouTube Red Superheroe Sci-Fi GLAAD Emmys National Geographic CW Seed Rom-Com Holidays Warner Bros. dramedy Nickelodeon Certified Fresh Lucasfilm DC streaming service NYCC politics Photos TIFF Creative Arts Emmys crime drama Horror Marathons See It Skip It USA GoT Song of Ice and Fire DirecTV crime thriller based on movie discovery talk show Awards Tumblr E3 CBS serial killer Oscars Extras TCA Nat Geo crime CBS All Access TCA 2017 45 X-Men Ovation sports Countdown Superheroes TruTV social media Infographic biography CMT American Society of Cinematographers Sneak Peek Showtime Britbox Netflix Reality Competition FX Pop justice league El Rey Bravo MTV Podcast MSNBC Martial Arts Trailer Rocky festivals TNT Christmas RT History Kids & Family Starz DC Comics golden globes ITV Super Bowl Hulu Set visit cinemax IFC Films vampires Adult Swim Ellie Kemper TV Land Fall TV Fox News Food Network Winners YA transformers Red Carpet FXX Year in Review sitcom unscripted Action Summer Winter TV WGN Lifetime TLC cults Columbia Pictures supernatural Dark Horse Comics Syfy boxoffice harry potter HBO comiccon PaleyFest DC Universe Watching Series SundanceTV Tomatazos NBC Sundance The CW BET GIFs Musical The Arrangement TBS Character Guide Toys binge BBC America Animation SDCC Disney travel OWN E! zombie TCM spy thriller Sony Pictures aliens TV President Cosplay Polls and Games Writers Guild of America PBS cops Fantasy 2017 Shondaland Video Games ESPN docudrama LGBTQ Music Universal robots A&E ABC Lionsgate Spring TV Pixar Ghostbusters Calendar YouTube Premium Acorn TV science fiction diversity technology Best and Worst Schedule crossover Reality Musicals Valentine's Day USA Network dc finale medical drama Comedy Central APB Pirates historical drama Rock Thanksgiving AMC mutant Mystery Walt Disney Pictures Cartoon Network Sundance Now VICE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Crackle VH1 Esquire 21st Century Fox Nominations Trivia thriller Spike Logo period drama what to watch SXSW 2015 dceu zombies Star Trek IFC psycho cooking Star Wars First Look war Country Amazon Disney Channel BBC Drama singing competition Apple Biopics streaming