How things change. When Disney released TRON back in 1982, the science fiction adventure — set against an alternate reality inside a machine and using groundbreaking computer animation — was met with an indifferent response by mainstream audiences and critics, grossing a middling $33 million at the US box office and drawing mixed reviews (as RT’s 68 per cent reflects). “Does any one remember that movie TRON?” went the joke on The Simpsons; and not so long ago.
But plenty of kids who saw the movie at the time — and on video since — were enthralled by the digital world of the Grid, and like that year’s similarly underperforming Blade Runner, TRON went on to become a cult classic that has been revalued over the years for its seminal effects work.
And so, 28 years later, we arrive at the sequel that many would not have expected: TRON: Legacy. Disney have been building their $200 million-dollar holiday tentpole up for some time now, with a huge marketing campaign, a buzzed about soundtrack, and numerous teasers of the new 3D visual world the filmmakers have strived to create. But how will the critics respond? Will the sequel become the unofficial victory lap the first film never received, or will it meet the same fate as its predecessor?
“Visually and musically, it’s a triumph,” says Total Film, before adding, “dramatically, it needs some re-wiring.” At Variety, Todd McCarthy praises the film’s technical achievements, yet laments that, “it all ends up being a half-hour too much of a just okay thing.”
But The Hollywood Reporter‘s Peter Debruge says the “21st-century effects and a cutting-edge dance score make this a stunning virtual ride,” and that, “the underlying concept feels as far-fetched as ever.” Meanwhile, Todd Gilchrist at Cinematical is full of praise, calling the movie “a thrilling, evocative, and utterly satisfying piece of entertainment.”
It’s all a bit too early to call at this stage, and while the film’s leaning to the above-average end of the Tomatometer, the game could change as reviews start to flood in over the next week.
What’s your T-meter guess?
Check back here for the results, or go to TRON: Legacy‘s page for all the latest reviews.