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June 26, 2011
Tron: Legacy (2010) Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
16/12/201019/4/2011Walt DisneyJoseph Kosinski
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1MJeff Bridges

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Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley in Tron Legacy.

Released in 1982, and after six years in development, the original Tron was a decent success taking $US33 million at the box office from a $17 million production budget. But it has been the movie's life after it's theatrical run that has seen it become a cult classic. Still getting a sequel made has been an arduous task with the filmmakers going to the 2008 Comic-Con with test footage to gauge the response before the film was green lit - and ultimately Walt Disney spent a phenomenal $US170 million making this sequel. Was it worth it?

Tron: Legacy tells the story of Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), who is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world's leading video- game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn's Arcade - a signal that could only come from his father - he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a cyber universe - a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.

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The very iconic light cycles.
Seeing the original film will help with the storyline, but the filmmakers have set up this sequel quite nicely to stand on it's own and it won't take too long to get up to speed with the franchise. Without a doubt this is one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen visually with some bold artistic colours and imagery and, unlike some films, it's quite easy to tell the good guys from the bad with either blue/white or yellow/orange colouring.

One of the most amazing aspects of this film is that the filmmakers used CG to create a young Jeff Bridges as Klu. This isn't a limited role with one or two minutes of screen time, but a frequent presence on- screen and while there is the occasional "uncanny valley" moment they are very few and far between.

The moment the film enters the virtual world your jaw will drop from the action packed fights in the battle arena to the light cycle battles, the End of Line club sequence where Michael Sheen (The Queen and Frost/Nixon) is simply jaw-droppingly entertaining as Castor and the final sequence there is so much here to enjoy. Unfortunately while the visuals, battles, and audio from Daft Punk are simply amazing the actual storyline in this movie is somewhat weak with little depth to the storyline other then trying to get from one place to the next - or essentially leave the Grid. Dialogue to gets a little wishy-washy and if you can't buy into the techno-speak you'll probably tune out while the characters aren't the most complex you've ever had to consider. Still, we got into the vibe of the movie and enjoyed the experience.

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Olivia Wilde as the very sexy Quorra.
Certainly more style over substance Tron: Legacy remains one of the must watch movies of the last year if only for the unique vision, stunning visuals and astounding music. As for the question in my opening paragraph "Was it worth it?" The answer was a definitive yes with the film making a massive $US400 million at the box office worldwide.

After a gorgeous Tron styled Disney logo it's straight into this film which has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and is presented in a mixture of 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratios to reflect the IMAX experience with the film switching to the more open aspect ratio at various points during the film - typically the action sequences - with 40 minutes of the 125 minute runtime being presented in the taller aspect ratio. While you would think this is distracting, it's strangely barely noticed during viewing the film.

While we were only sent the 2D Blu-Ray to review, the movie is also available as a 3D release for those of you that have a suitable stereoscopic TV. By all reports the 3D version of the film is quite outstanding so would be worth checking out.

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Jeff Bridges returns for the second Tron.
Walt Disney have presented Tron: Legacy on Blu-Ray with a stunning DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (24-bit/48Khz) lossless track which is as pristine and clear as one would expect. The dialogue is clear, the sound effects are fantastic and the surround sound channels are used aggressively throughout the film. Bass levels too are set to extreme in this movie be it due to the large ships flying around, or the crowds chanting, or - most frequently - during the music sequences.

Speaking of music this film includes music created by European dance act Daft Punk and it's simply sensational. I'm a massive fan of Daft Punk myself but the synthesized, electronic music created for this film simply could not fit more perfectly. The bass levels during the music may be excessive to some, but we absolutely loved it - especially in the club with Castor, and during earlier the Bike Battle sequence.

Other audio track on this release include an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 320kbps), an English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 track (also 320kbps) and French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks both encoded at 640kbps. These are impressive tracks sonically but don't hold a candle to the lossless English track if you have a great sound setup. Subtitles are available in multiple languages including English for the Hearing Impaired, French and Spanish.

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Michael Sheen is superb as Castor in Tron: Legacy.
The Tron: Legacy Blu-Ray comes with a few extras, although it isn't as loaded as we had hoped and I really wanted to see something from Daft Punk (although they rarely give interviews, and never unmasked). Still, there's some good stuff on the disc so check it out...

Tron: The Next Day (22:02/HD): This is an interesting video clip which details the events following Kevin Flynn's disappearance, the events at ENCOM, and what happens after the events of the movie (10 minutes, 30 seconds). You'll then get to an arcade machine - enter the same usernames as the high scores and you'll see some bonus videos and clips based on the Flynn Lives movement (11 minutes, 32 seconds).

First Look at Tron: Uprising. The Disney XD Animated Series (1:15/HD): A short trailer for the Disney animated Tron series which is set before the movie.

Launching the Legacy (10:20/HD): While brief, this is a fantastic look at the getting everyone together to get the approval to make a Tron sequel from Disney. It also includes the original Comic-Con trailer which was shown to gauge interest in getting the sequel made and then moves into showing some of the filming.

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Visuals in Tron: Legacy are superb.
Visualizing Tron (11:46/HD): Another interesting, but brief-ish, featurette looks at the unique visualization of the Tron world including the advancement of computer graphics and effects, but also the creation of the real-world locations such as Kevin Flynn's secret lab and the lighting used on sets and in the clothing. Finally there's a quick look at the 3D and visual effects including creating a CG young Jeff Bridges.

Installing the Cast (12:04/HD): This focuses on the cast that appear in the movie with various cast members talking about working with each other.

Disc Roars (3:00/HD): A pretty entertaining look at recording some audio at Comic-Con for crowd effects in the movie.

Music Video: "Derezzed" by Daft Punk (2:58/HD): Daft Punk did a stunning job with the music in this film and this song gets the full video clip treatment. Strangely I don't feel it's the strongest music in the film from them - but probably one of the more "commercial" songs.

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It's Flynn's Arcade...
Info (HD): Really? Since when did two screens legal crap become a bonus feature?!

Sneak Peeks (1:54/HD): Trailers for the video games Tron Evolution and Epic Mickey for Nintendo Wii.

Tron: Legacy is a movie that may have a bit of style of substance, but damn it's an enjoyable ride given a nigh on perfect transfer from Disney. Throw in smattering of extras and this becomes a disc to add to your collection. Oh, if you have a 3DTV definitely go for that version instead of the still impressive 2D release.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Walt Disney. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.