TRON: Legacy is the most pretentious, douche-baggy film in recent memory. While the original TRON movie was a fun albeit forgettable fantasy story with some interesting ideas and great visuals, TRON: Legacy is instead an action flick that attempts to be The Matrix, but, like, on steroids, man!
Kevin Flynn (the protagonist of the first film) disappears and leaves his only son to grow up to be a "badass" angsty, motorcycle-riding, rule-defying hacker that plays by his own rules. But it's not just Sam Flynn who tries to exude "'tude" in everything he does, the script tries to accomplish the same thing. Case in point: instead of simply digitizing Sam into his grid-clothing, TRON: Legacy duds him up in the douche-baggiest way possible: having a bunch of models approach him as if in an Axe Body Spray commercial, undress him with their glowing fingers, and make emotionless remarks like, "he is different."
It seems the writers took a couple of aspects of the first TRON and then just ran off in their own direction, one that isn't nearly as interesting or thought-out. Apparently they also forgot which Jeff Bridges character they were writing for, because the old Flynn sounds an awful lot more like The Dude from The Big Lebowski than the original Flynn. "You're messing with my Zen thing, man!"
The writing is rife with cliched dialogue to groansome extremes. Watching TRON: Legacy, viewers are subjected to lines like, "you've got to be kidding," "some things are worth the risk," "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," and this enlightening exchange: "what happens when he gets out?" "Game over." I'm honestly surprised that the writers never have Kevin Flynn say, "I'm gettin' to old for this!"
Probably the biggest thing that made the original TRON so memorable was the fact that, once on "the grid," everything looked CGI in a great, other-worldly way. CGI Is used much more extensively in TRON: Legacy, but nowhere near as effectively. There's no transition between the "real" world and the computer world. This new "grid" doesn't look remarkably "computery," and even the look of the characters within it don't change from their visages in the outside world.
The most CGI-looking thing in the entire movie is the "young" Flynn's face, which is present in the "real" world as well as the computer one. The CGI young Flynn and Clu are somewhat convincing when they don't open their mouths. However, the second that there's an attempt to have these characters speak any dialogue it only proves how far away current computer technology is from achieving realistic human performances. While the first TRON wowed audiences by all the amazing things computers could do, Legacy only serves to showcase the current limitations of CGI.
There's a somewhat cute moment early on in the film where Sam Flynn sneaks into Encom though the same giant door that his dad used in the first film and makes the same remark, "now that's a big door." But, later in Legacy, Sam states that he sneaks annually into Encom, so... does he break in a different way every time? Had he never seen this door before on all his prior visits? Just one example of the writers thinking they've created a clever nod to the original at the expense of plausibility.
So, with TRON: Legacy, we've got an uninteresting script peppered with groansome moments and dialogue, inept direction and real-life actors giving the CGI young Flynn a run for his money in terms of lack of believability. If only I had the ability to drag my memory of TRON: Legacy to the Recycle Bin, or, better yet, send it to the game grid of the first film to be obliterated by the much stronger original TRON. That program didn't tolerate douche-bags, and neither should you.