The 3rd Dimension

Tron Legacy (Blu-ray 3D)

May 26, 2011 - 5:01 pm   |   By 

Tron Legacy 3D
2010 (2011) - Walt Disney Home Entertainment

The original Tron was a showcase of the latest technologies in animation, film compositing and computer based effects. For the franchise's return nearly 30 years later, Tron Legacy continues this visually innovative tradition. Visually, Tron Legacy stands with Avatar as the best 3D experience money can buy.

The story, such as it is, finds Kevin Flynn (the son of Jeff Bridges' character from the original) discovering the virtual world into which his father vanished many years ago. Pulled into "The Grid", Kevin quickly embarks on a search for his father that may culminate in the destruction - or salvation - of mankind.

A lot of people found Tron Legacy's story disappointing, and I can see why. The film introduces many interesting ideas (including the concept that digital life can be created spontaneously in The Grid in the form of ISOs) and then barely deals with them. What's more, Bridges is essentially playing a more tech-savvy version of The Dude from The Big Lebowski.

Others were disappointed in the theatrical 3D presentation, and again I can understand why. There's very little in the way of "pop-out" effects in the film. Instead, Legacy uses 3D to create scale. The Grid is a gigantic expanse, as flat as the plains of Kansas and lit only by the luminescence of its inhabitants and structures. Perhaps due to the sheer size of the IMAX screens, the effect was a bit muted. But at home, I found the depth to stand out a lot more than it did theatrically. The almost ethereal beauty of the neon world of The Grid is one of the best Blu-ray 3D experiences I've had yet.

The film's score is equal to the visuals in every way. Tron is one of those rare big budget films that appreciates silence as much as it does slamming your speaker against the wall, with subtle environmental effects that underlie whatever is happening on screen. But when Daft Punk decides to crank it, your subwoofer will go crazy. There is so much bass that you can almost see the air vibrating with every turn, and the sustained thrum really creates a level of immersion that's unusual in movie soundtracks.

This disc is a bit of a disappointment in the extras front. There are featurettes on the production, cast and mythology. There's also a piece on the recording of crowds at Comic-Con for a scene in the film, as well as an exclusive short called The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed that gives us a glimpse of what happens just after the end of the film. There's also Daft Punk's Derezzed music video, a first look at the Tron: Uprising Disney XD animated series, and a Disney Second Screen option that allows you to watch the film on Blu-ray while also viewing additional interactive elements on your iPad, laptop or computer. That last feature is kind of cool, but if you're not in the habit of watching one screen while also interacting with a second, this kind of multitasking adds little value.

In the end, those looking for a great Blu-ray 3D viewing experience should really appreciate Tron Legacy. The visuals are stunning, the colors, clarity and depth are outstanding, and the film itself a generally worthy (if far less than fully successful) successor to the original. Highly recommended - at least for its 3D presentation.

- Jeff Kleist

[Editor's Note: This review can also be found in our regular Review Database here.]

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