Tron Legacy Review

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Tron. I remember how impressed I was when I first saw this title. The effects just looked flawless and the film as a whole really had a great high energy feel thrown in. The characters were cool and this really felt like the series was completely on the right track. It’s a shame that the third one is taking so long to come out. Well, the film definitely holds up and is just as great as I remembered it to be. It’s certainly underratted.

The movie starts by explaining that Kevin has vanished and so his son Sam had to grow up without him for a long while. Sam is now the chief for the company but he just doesn’t really see the point. He wastes his days away doing nothing until one day Alan shows up and tells Sam that he received a buzz from Kevin’s pager. Sam heads to the arcade and is blasted into the grid. There he meets up with a program named Clu who rules the Grid with an iron fist. Kevin has been exiled to the wastelands and resides with another program named Quorra. Quorra helps Sam escape and now they must think of a plan to get out of here. The main issue is that the heroes are completely outnumbered here.

Things tend to happen very quickly here which is always nice. There is no dead time here. The heroes are on the clock and have to do what they can. The film shows right away how much the Grid has changed since the first film. The “graphics” have gotten a lot better so the programs now look like people. Time travels differently in the system so it makes sense that everything has been updated. We now have more action scenes on the Lightcycles and disc throwing games. Those are still a lot of fun and I wish we could get more games with that kind of gameplay. It’s one thing I really liked about the Tron Evolution video game back in the day. It’s fun to watch as well and is just a fun way to race.

The hand to hand action scenes are also on point. We see one flashback where Tron was taking on a lot of opponents this way. I do question how he was overpowered so easily with the final opponent though. That guy didn’t seem so skilled. Of course I blame Kevin more since the guy didn’t do anything to help that time. He was okay with just watching the whole time which was definitely no good. In the present we get a lot of action scenes like this as well such as in Zuse’s bar. That was a fun action scene for sure and the mysterious right hand man of Clu always provides some good action.

As I already mentioned the film just looks great as well. The Grid really stands out in every scene it is in. Any scene in the Grid is bound to be a good one and that’s definitely really good if you ask me. Whenever I talk about films needing to have interesting backgrounds to help the story along, this is exactly what I am talking about. Legacy is ahead of its time in many ways to the point where it’s hard to see many other films topping this one. The outfits just hold up so well and everything about the film still feels futuristic even many years later. The writing is also on point here as we have a solid cast of characters.

Sam is the lead this time around and he’s defintiely solid. It’s easy to see why he has decided to goof off nowadays since with his Dad missing he doesn’t see much of a point in anything. It all just happened too suddenly for him. In the Grid he quickly gets caught up to speed and comes up with some plans. I’m glad that he wasn’t as passive as Kevin was with the ideas. Sam just wants to save the day and he’s ready to take some risks to do it. Kevin is a far cry from his older self. The whole battle with Clu just broke him I guess. He’s now quite scared of going back in to fight. He should also be ashamed due to the fact that if he had helped Tron out in the past then none of this would have happened in the first place. His Star Wars esque abilities are fun to see though.

Tron is definitely a great character even if we don’t see him a whole lot. We learn what happened to him since the first film and it makes for a great role. He’s still the definitive character in the series to be sure. I don’t see any of the other characters really coming close to matching him. At the end of the day Tron is just a really impressive character and the best fighter in the series. It’s the reason why he is known as the hero of the grid. Then you have another hero in Quorra. She’s definitely good and has several pivotal moments in the series. Quorra is a lot bolder than Kevin and certainly wants to help out even if she isn’t quite as aggressive as Sam. She makes up for this with her superior fighting abilities though. She certainly gives the villains the work on several occasions even when she is outnumbered. Without her Sam would have definitely been in trouble several times here.

For the villains I’d say that we really have Clu as the main one. He shows up rather quickly and gets involved in the action personally. Right away that’s when I knew he would be a good villain. Good villains aren’t afraid to get into the ring themselves. It’s what separates the truly feared leaders from the guys who just sit in the chair. I was very satisfied with his portrayal and his reason for fighting was also a good one. He saw some flaws in the world and was trying to fix them. At the end of the day isn’t that exactly what you want the program to do? The only miscalculation was that the program would be so effective in its mission but who could have predicted that right?

Then you have Zuse who definitely likes having fun with the case. He’s not the smartest character in the film though. The guy acts like he is intelligent sure, but that’s not really enough when his actions are so weak. When you enter into a deal with the main villain you should always make sure you have some kind of leverage or a backup plan. He had neither but it did make for a cool visual and a fun scene in general. Clu’s right hand man is pretty great. He’s a man of few words but really delivers on the action scenes and gets a great arc/final scene.

Yeah there’s definitely a lot to like here. The soundtrack is also pretty stellar with some 80s type songs spread into the early part of the film as a tribute to the original. In some ways it embraced the era more than the first film did. Don’t expect to see the present timeline much since most of the film takes place in the game. That’s definitely okay with me though. The game is where all of the interesting things are going on so that’s really what I’m interested in seeing and it delivers. I sort of thought the board would have a bigger role or at least the main one who seemed to be leading the company down a corrupt path again. Maybe that’s something for the third film.

Overall, Legacy is definitely a great follow up to the original Tron film. It’s got great action, characters, a solid plot, solid soundtrack, etc. It really manages to get just about everything correct which is definitely good. I highly recommend checking this film out. It takes place far enough after the first film where you don’t need to see it to understand what is going on, but it does help you recognize the various Easter eggs here and there. It was fun to see this one have so many tributes to the first. Well, supposedly the third film is finally coming out sort of soon so I hope it’s able to maintain this level of quality. It’s definitely a tough act to follow.

Overall 8/10

Tron Review

It’s time to take a look at the original Tron that came out a long while ago. It’s definitely always fun to have a Sci-fi adventure where you fall into a video game. There have been numerous series about this over the years and that’s because there’s just so much potential there. This is a solid film that has aged pretty well. Flynn’s still a great main character and I like the effects/atmosphere.

The movie starts by introducing us to the legendary company ENCOM. It’s led by Dillinger who got to the top by stealing all of Kevin’s ideas and making millions off of them. Unfortunately Kevin was unable to prove that he created them and so he had to settle for running an arcade. Since then Kevin has decided to devote his life to breaking into the system and finding the evidence. His time to shine happens when Alan and Lora pay him a visit to let him know that the Master Control Program is on to him. Kevin decides to try and free Tron but the program is one step ahead of him and launches the hero into the game. Can Kevin get back out of the system or is it too late?

The Grid is definitely a fun world to be stuck in. It may be pretty dangerous but playing through games like the Lightcycle or the disc throwing definitely looks like it would be a lot of fun if you ask me. The world still looks really good even when watching in 2020. The good programs are definitely on the losing side, but at least they have Tron around to help out. He’s easily the most powerful good program out there. He makes for some good banter with Kevin and the third member of their party.

In general Kevin’s just a fun character to have around. I like his complete confidence which you see even in his very first appearance. The guy isn’t even remotely afraid of going up against the MCP and has fun messing with the villain when he first hops onto the computer. Naturally he is a little less powerful once he is in the game but still does his best. The guy is always ready for the next move. Then you have Tron who is very serious the whole time. He’s really just about completing his mission no matter what and he must have been stuck in this game for a long time. They mention that time works differently in the game world so for all we know he’s been here for years or something which is crazy to think about. He may not get as big a role as you might think but he’s definitely very memorable.

Alan’s a good red herring here since you originally feel like he will be one of the main characters then he vanishes after the intro. He was cool while he was around though. Maybe not the most memorable but he was definitely on board with Lora’s plan right away. The film throws in some slight romance in both worlds but neither one really goes anywhere. I do think Yori going with both characters was a bit unneeded though. I don’t really see what the point of those moments were. Probably just to squeeze a bit of romance in.

Dillinger made for a pretty fun villain. I’m always ready for those CEO types. He doesn’t do a whole lot to make himself a memorable villain compared to other similar figures but is still a solid addition to the cast. The Master Control Program is a little less notable. I liked the presence he brought to the film for the most part but it was a little harder for me to take the design seriously. He reminded me a bit of Modok or the Kree intelligence. Giving him a bit of a more compact form to fight with the heroes would have been pretty neat.

One of the big strengths of Tron is how great the cybernetic world is. This is the kind of world you could definitely see yourself getting stuck in and not mind so much. It’s all pretty interesting. The graphics/effects are on point and the soundtrack is good. It’s definitely one of the first big “stuck in a video game” movies out there and handles the genre quite well. Mix that in with quality writing and you’ve definitely got a winning combo here.

Now, if I nitpick a bit here, I have to question why the Master Control Program doesn’t take a more aggressive approach here. It should have been easy for him to stop Tron and friends many times before they got so far away. He controls the sector and every program in it. We saw that when he launched the tanks they were able to deal a lot of damage. Why not make sure that the heroes he blasted were actually dead? Crushing the programs there would have been huge and you’d think he could feel their presence the whole time. I suppose the easy answer to all of this is just plain arrogance though and I suppose you can’t really argue with that. At the end of the day he just thought that nothing the heroes did could really matter and that led to his downfall.

Overall, Tron is definitely a solid film worth checking out. The effects are solid and it has good writing and pacing throughout. The character cast is definitely solid and there’s really a lot to enjoy here. It was a good way to start off the series and of course Legacy would then take it to the next level. Watching both back to back is a good way to really see all the connections and how much the Grid has evolved. The themes of A.I. growing sentient are still pretty interesting since we get closer and closer to A.I. being able to reason. Ideally we won’t all be thrown into the grid though but if that should ever happen just make sure you have your gaming skills on point.

Overall 7/10

Tron: Legacy Update

I now own Tron:Legacy! It’s definitely one of the most underrated films out there. I remember it being good enough to hold its own in the same conversation as the original Transformers G1 film and Mortal Kombat. The visuals are still better than a lot of the stuff you see nowadays. You can bet a retro review will be appearing after I give it a re-watch.

Kingdom Hearts II Review

This is another manga where I got to start it a long time ago, but didn’t finish until recently. The manga needed a remake for the ending to finally make it to America. Well, it’s definitely a pretty fun adaption. It doesn’t do much to go above and beyond what it was given from the game, but still puts a good amount of effort into it, making this a solid manga to read whether you’ve played the game or not.

The plot actually begins with Roxas since due to the ending of Chain of Memories Sora is still out of commission. Roxas gets to enjoy a few days with his friends, but quickly finds out that his destiny is a sad one as he must fight his way to Sora only to give his body up and fade away as a Nobody once more. A Nobody is a character who is a literal shadow f the main body and while Roxas can keep his soul, he loses his heart. The process is rather intricate, but the long and short of it is that Roxas makes the hard decision to sacrifice his life. We then go back to Sora as he must lead Donald and Goofy on one last mission to take down the evil Organization XIII and save the world. The villains want to use Kingdom Hearts to open the gate between dimensions and I believe this will end up destroying everyone or swapping places with the Nobodies. It’s been a while so I’m not 100% concrete on the details. It doesn’t change the mission of the heroes though and Mickey/Riku, as well as many other fighters are doing their parts to stop the organization as well.

While the manga can’t get to every single world it does adapt as many of them as possible. As it’s the longest of the Kingdom Heart manga titles, I would expect no less. Kingdom Hearts 358 seemed rather long at last check though, so I’m only fairly certain that II is still the longest. It gives you a good amount of time to get used to the characters and see the universe as opposed to jumping from fight to fight like in many adaptions. Although, that is a really good tactic to use as well if we’re being honest. The manga is certainly a direct continuation to the others though so I would recommend checking them out before reading this one. I’m fairly certain that it will help you enjoy this one more.

The art isn’t bad. When the manga goes for its action scenes it can get quite detailed. Not in a convoluted way, but in a way that enhances the action. Sora’s rage mode is depicted well towards the climax when he believes that his friends were murdered. On the other side, the manga does rely a little too much on exaggerated facial expressions for the gags. A tense scene will suddenly turn into a comic relief moment at the drop of a hat. I think the game did a better job at separating the comedic and tense moments and never being too over the top with the comedy. While those artistic moments aren’t my thing, it’s not a case of the art being bad. It’s probably one of the better manga adaptions when it comes to art.

My only real negative with the series is what I mentioned in the art section right above this. The big jumps from comedy to serious to comedy again can be a bit jarring. I think the manga probably goes a little overboard on the comedy instead of being more subtle. Still, that’s basically it and when that’s your only negative you know that the title is pretty good. The series ends with a mild cliffhanger as the heroes are called away to the castle for some reason, but you could also interpret it as just the manga’s way of saying that a hero’s journey is never over. I barely count cliffhangers like that myself for this reason.

Sora is still a solid protagonist as always and I do like him more here than in the original Kingdom Hearts. Sora is a lot more confident in his abilities at this point in time and has proven himself on many occasions. He can definitely fight with the best of them now and his new costume is cool as well. His final team up battle with Riku is definitely a lot of fun and it’s a fight that the original Sora would probably have had a lot of trouble with. Riku’s role here is certainly not as shady as in the original game since by this point he has basically mastered the powers of light and dark. If you think about it, it makes sense that he would be one of the strongest characters in the series. It’s rare to wield both elements.

Most of Organization XIII shows up here and many meet their demise which basically closes this chapter of the series. They all have their own unique personalities which is good. The best member is probably Xehanort. He has a great design and can fight really well too. I also liked the member with the blue hair (Vexen I believe) and Axel isn’t bad either although he can be a little wishy washy. The group definitely has a lot of real characters in their ranks.

As far as the Disney characters are concerned, they all appear to be in character. Even though the crossover is mainly with the Disney characters, I admit that I look forward to the Final Fantasy ones more anyway. Unfortunately I don’t think they actually keep in the Cloud vs Sephiroth fight, but it’s possible that I just don’t remember it. It’s been a long time since I read the first few volumes of the series after all. It’s still hard to believe it went on for a full 9 volumes before being re released in the omnibus format. So while I don’t mention the Disney characters much, their inclusion definitely makes the series even more fun. Who doesn’t know the classic Disney characters like The Beauty and The Beast? While I can’t really take them seriously in a fight against the Organization characters, I suppose they’re tough enough for the Heartless. It’s always good to see a familiar face among the characters and hopefully for Kingdom Hearts III we finally get the big team up with all of the old Disney and FF characters for a big climactic battle.

Overall, This is definitely a fun manga. It’s got a good amount of action and a good cast of characters. I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It’s probably the best of the Kingdom Heart manga titles although Chain of Memories puts up a good fight. I always really liked that game/manga. It was short, but had a bunch of fights. It’s similar to the Battle Frontier in the Pokemon anime. Still, with the extra volumes Kingdom Hearts II definitely had more time for a lot to happen. Reading all of the different titles back to back would probably be fun. It’ll be tough for 358/2 to top this one, but I’m looking forward to seeing it try its best!

Overall 7/10

Pikachu vs Tron

Tron is back, but I’m afraid that it’s not for a win. Pikachu is just too fast for him at this point and one good Volt Tackle would end things. Tron just doesn’t have any defense against these abilities and he won’t be able to hold out. These last two matches haven’t been kind to good ole Tron. Pikachu wins.

Charizard vs Tron

Tron can throw his discs around, but Charizard is just too fast for that and one good fire blast would be able to derezz Tron. Tron is quick and I wouldn’t want to underestimate his skill, but Charizard has his Mega evolution at the ready. Tron may have lost this match, but he’ll be making a return very soon. Charizard wins.

Inspector Gadget vs Tron

Inspector Gadget is a pretty tough detective, but Tron’s got the speed advantage. He’s taken on many fighters and always proves that he’s one step ahead of the pack. With his disc he can make nearly any throw. His hand to hand skills are also top notch so I’m afraid Inspector Gadget can’t win this round. Tron wins.

Nirvash vs Tron

Tron is obviously the better fighter here. In terms of hand to hand combat there are few who can rival him. Of course fighting skills don’t help much when they won’t actually hurt. Tron could hits The Nirvash hundreds of times and I doubt the disc would really hurt him much. The Nirvash also has cool beams. Nirvash wins.