and the creation of an Oz-like digital world called the Grid. Flynn dashes to the office for a few hours, only to disappear without a trace. Now it’s 2010, and angry orphaned Sam has grown up to be a reckless motorcycle-riding rebel who would rather steal from his father’s company than helm it. One night, at the behest of dad’s pal Alan (Boxleitner), Sam revisits Flynn’s old arcade hangout and ends up getting zapped into the Grid. There he discovers that his father’s evil doppelgänger, Clu (Bridges again, makeup and computer effects creepily erasing 20 years from his face), has created a fascist digital empire where citizens are forced to entertain each other, gladiator style, in games of deadly e-Frisbee. Meanwhile, the “real,” old, bearded Flynn is hiding out in a chic minimalist apartment with his gorgeous electronic companion-apprentice, Quorra (Olivia Wilde), hoping to overthrow Clu and find a way home.
While Legacy may be on the cutting edge when it comes to effects, it cribs from Star Wars, The Matrix, Blade Runner, and others, and its story is as old as the hills. Beyond the flashy action, snazzy weapons and vehicles, video-game styling, and skin-tight body suits, it’s just another bland myth ham-handedly delivering messages about family bonding and the dangers of ambition and progress (strange for a film that relies so heavily on technology, no?). Eight people get writing credits for Legacy. Maybe they cooked up the story of the father-son conflict and Flynn’s evil twin to lend the movie some depth, but I’m not sure they needed to bother.
Though I’ll admit that I found the film’s use of 3-D underwhelming, the special-effects department will surely garner a few nods come awards season. Bridges, on the other hand, won’t win any Oscars for this performance, although he certainly looks as if he was having fun. Flynn comes across like the love child of Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Dude from The Big Lebowski: he “doesn’t dig imperfection” and says things like “You’re messing with my Zen thing, man.” Michael Sheen ( Frost/Nixon) is deliciously flamboyant as Zuse/Castor, a powerful nightclub owner. Wilde plays Quorra as a sweet, offbeat badass; her killer bob is bound to ignite a trend. Hedlund, unfortunately, just gets lost amid the scenery.
According to first-time director Joseph Kosinski, French techno-music duo Daft Punk “blended classic orchestral themes with an electronic minimalism” in their fun, powerful, pulsing score (the musicians also make a cameo as the house DJs in Zuse’s club). They add scary tubas and bass trombones for some sequences that will remind you of the score from Inception; and you’ll hear echoes of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man at other moments. But the techno beats prevail — Legacy would make a fantastic extended Daft Punk video.
The nitpicking part of my brain eventually started wondering, what are the rules of the Grid? If this is a digital universe, how does Sam breathe? If a “person” shatters into bytes when he or she dies there, why does Sam bleed? How — or maybe why — does Flynn have an antique book collection and feast on roast suckling pig? What does gibberish like “a digital frontier to reshape the human condition” mean? Eventually, though, I decided to relax. Legacy is much more fun if you let the details slide, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
The lastest technology, the hoariest story: TRON: Legacy