Waiting over 28 years since the first film, “TRON: Legacy” represents something unique in cinematic history, and it was well worth the wait. The follow-up to the 1982 film “TRON” ages in real time, taking us forward the same number of years and starring the original actors who gave life to those same characters nearly three decades before. But perhaps that’s not surprising for a “cult classic” that defied the odds (as the character of TRON did in the original movie).
In fact, the original movie defied the odds in another way, taking 14 years to win an Academy Award when it was given an Oscar for technical achievement (surprisingly, it was not nominated for special effects the year it was released).
“TRON: Legacy” is centered not so much on the struggle of the underdog against the mighty and powerful like the original, but instead focuses on the relationship between a father and his child. Unlike other Disney movies that show strong, nurturing father figures (“Mary Poppins” and Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro,” for example), Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a flawed parent who deeply regrets not being there for his son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund). Kevin’s life is a cautionary tale for fathers who believe their “legacy” lies in their accomplishments. As Kevin finds out after spending nearly 20 years in the computer world, his true legacy was always the son he left behind. Kevin ultimately sacrifices everything in “TRON: Legacy” to save his son, and Sam becomes the man his father always knew he could be. And that is the legacy Kevin leaves behind — helping his son fulfill everything he could be.
Seeing the “TRON” sequel with my daughter when it came out in 2010, at the El Capitan theater in Los Angeles was truly a memorable experience. Sitting there and experiencing this new movie with all the bells and whistles that 20 years of special effects advancement have seen, it was amazing to reflect back on my life and see myself as a child sitting in that chair and realizing that like Kevin Flynn, I too am a father with the responsibilities of raising a child and cherishing these moments with her.
If you didn’t get a chance to take your children to the theater to see it, you can still watch it together. “TRON” and “TRON: Legacy” are available at the Disney Store.