A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this highly anticipated sequel to 1982's Tron features some intense sequences that are made even more impactful because the movie was shot in 3-D. While the violence (which includes several near-death encounters) is lessened by the fact that programs shatter instead of bleed, it's still shocking to see and may frighten younger viewers. Language includes exclamations like "damn it" and "stupid," and the sexuality is mostly in the form of female-looking programs who wear second-skin uniforms and stilettos. There's also some flirting and embracing between two major characters. Programs kiss, dance, and drink, though you can't tell for sure that it's alcohol. Messages about technology and father-son relationships are central to this stylized action-adventure.
What's the story?
Two decades after computer programmer and video game designer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared -- but was actually trapped inside the digital world of his computer game -- his son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), is prompted to track down a mysterious page. Snooping around his father's ancient video arcade, Sam is unexpectedly sucked into the "Grid" as well, where his father's virtual clone, Clu (a digitally enhanced, youthful Bridges), attempts to kill him. Sam is rescued by Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an enigmatic "program" who serves as Kevin's apprentice in a secret digital landscape that's considered "off the grid," where Kevin lives an almost monastic existence and has given up on ever getting out of the virtual world. With Quorra's help, Sam attempts to defeat Clu and get the three of them out of the Grid and back to reality.
Is it any good?
TRON: LEGACY is a visually stunning film. But while many of the action sequences are truly awesome -- including the memorable light cyle race -- the story is a bit lacking in emotion. There are some highlights -- like the hilarious nightclub scene (thanks largely to Michael Sheen, who's deliciously campy as the club's owner). Really, once the novelty of seeing two Jeff Bridges wears off, there's not too much too pull you in beyond the effects ... luckily, for fans of the original Tron, that might be plenty.
Newbies might notice that for a loud and action-packed thriller, TRON: Legacy drags a bit, with an ending that doesn't culminate in the payoff they might have hoped for. There's no denying that the computer-generated effects are worth checking out in 3-D -- If you or your kid is into all things Tron, you'll enjoy the high-tech eye candy -- but the plot almost can't help but pale in comparison.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's themes of technology and how it changes our lives. Do you think these ideas are more relevant today than in the '80s when the original came out? Why or why not?
How are Clu and Kevin's approaches to the digital world in opposition? What do they each represent?
What did you think of the movie's special effects? Were they impressive or distracting?
How does this movie compare to the original? Do you think it will have as big of a following?
- In theaters: December 17, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: April 5, 2011
- Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde
- Director: Joseph Kosinski
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.