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TMP Reviews: TRON Legacy on Blu-ray

TMP takes a look at one of the biggest Blu-ray releases so far this year: TRON Legacy!

Tron Legacy

BLU-RAY SPECS
ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 enhanced for widescreen TVs
RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes
RATING: PG
SUBTITLES: English for the hearing impaired, Spanish, French
SPECIAL FEATURES: The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed, Disney Second Screen, Launching the Legacy, Disc Roars, Daft Punk Music Video "Derezzed," Visualizing TRON, Installing the Cast, First Look at TRON: Uprising.

THE SET-UP

More than 20 years after the events in the original TRON, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), is pulled into his father's computer universe to prevent a war between the real and the digital worlds.

Tron Legacy

THE DELIVERY

The makers of TRON: Legacy had an almost impossible task: satisfy fans of the original film while winning over younger fans used to CGI blockbusters and a digitally connected world. While Legacy isn't a perfect film, it is highly entertaining and a worthy successor to the franchise.

Much like the original film, Legacy relies on Christian symbolism to form a plot. In the original TRON, programs who believed in the users were persecuted and forced to participate in games to the death, much like the Romans threw Christians to the lions. In Legacy, a son is called upon to save his father's digital creation after it rebels against him. These familiar themes give Legacy a strong basis to build on, even if the story doesn't dwell on these ideas. Instead, Legacy jumps right into the action, and the plot unfolds quickly.

Garrett Hedlund is surprisingly good as Sam. He's a likable character with enough charisma to pull off the role. He could have easily been dwarfed by Jeff Bridges and his scenery-chewing persona, but he holds his own. In fact, his scenes with Bridges show some real chemistry; he's one of the reasons this film works.

Jeff Bridges, of course, is Jeff Bridges. He's always great to watch, but he is essentially playing himself here, and his personality actually fits the role of someone who was stuck in a digital world. He and Bruce Boxleitner (who is very good in his limited role) provide just the right connection to the original TRON. Olivia Wilde is delightful as Quorra, and provides just the right amount of levity.

In his directorial debut, Joseph Kosinski keeps things moving, but doesn't let the effects overpower the actors or the story. If the rumors are true that he is being tapped to direct the Black Hole reboot, I'll buy my ticket now. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay to the movie is this: since I received a copy of the movie, I've watched it three times in less than a week. That's how much I enjoyed it.

VIDEO AND AUDIO

This movie was meant to be seen on Blu-ray. The visuals are outstanding, and are incredible in high definition. I viewed the film on a 46 inch Samsung HDTV and can say easily this is the best image I have seen in the format. If you're looking to really show off your home theater, this is a must own blu-ray.

If you do own a widescreen TV, you will notice that the film switches aspect ratios. For scenes shot in 3D IMAX, the film switches to the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Otherwise, it goes to 2.35:1 wide. Our review copy included a copy of the film in 3D blu-ray, but until this poor reviewer buys a 3D TV, I am unable to view it. I'll have to get by with my huge 2D HDTV!

The audio is 7.1 DTS-HD, and if you have the power in your speakers, TRON: Legacy is an auditory feast. The Daft Punk soundtrack is both distinctive and reminiscent of the original film, and if you'reĀ  a fan of their music, you'll love this. An English 2.0 mix, an English descriptive video service, and a 5.0 Dolby Digital French soundtrack is also included.

Tron Legacy

THE EXTRAS

The turnaround from the theatrical premiere of TRON: Legacy to DVD release was just under four months. Given the short time, I didn't think there would be much in the way of extras, but that's not the case. There are several nice little documentaries with some real insight into the film. Daft Punk gets their proper attention, and a video is included. There's even a cool little extra in which they detail how they used a San Diego Comic Con audience to provide some audio for one of the film's scenes involving a crowd.

It is odd that some of the basic staples of DVD special features, including a gag reel or commentaries, aren't included here, but given the quick turnaround of the movie to DVD, I can forgive Disney, especially when the other features are so satisfying.

Perhaps the most impressive special feature is the "Second Screen" technology, which sends supplemental material to a mobile internet-connected device like an iPad or laptop. After downloading an app, behind-the-scenes material will be sent to your device in real time as you watch the movie. The online service was not active when we did our review, so we can't comment on how well it works yet.

NOTE: The standard DVD version only includes the Visualizing TRON documentary, the Installing the Cast documentary, and the TRON Uprising preview.

BUY IT, REDBOX IT, OR NETFLIX IT?

MOVIE: A
VIDEO: A+
AUDIO: A
SPECIAL FEATURES: B+
OVERALL GRADE: A

This is an easy call. This is THE must own Blu-ray set of the year. A great movie with the best video transfer we've seen and a superb audio mix also includes enough extras to answer all of your "how did they do that" questions. You can purchase this in several versions (which include the 3D version, digital copy, original TRON, etc.), but you won't go wrong with any one of them.

TRON: Legacy is available in the following sets: A five disc combo pack including the 3D and 2D Blu-rays, the standard DVD, a digital copy, and the original classic TRON on Blu-ray; a four disc pack with the 3D and 2D Blu-rays, the standard DVD, and the digital copy; a two disc pack with the 2D blu-ray and standard DVD; and the standard DVD.

TRON: Legacy is available April 5 in stores, online, and by digital download.

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