n the surface, Disney's Tron: Legacy, in theatres today, has much in common with last year's record-breaking mega-hit, Avatar. It's a 3D event film in the action-packed, science-fiction genre; its budget exceeded $180 million; and it's being released on the same weekend. But, beyond these obvious parallels, does Tron: Legacy deserve comparisons to James Cameron's Oscar-nominated masterpiece? (Watch the Tron trailer)
Yes. It's even better than Avatar: For fans of the fantasy/science fiction genre, says Kevin Hageland in Star Newspapers, "Tron: Legacy will be the movie they wanted Avatar to be." It has none of Cameron's film's weaknesses: Avatar's "exceedingly" long run-time, its weak plot, and its "heavy-handed messages of environmentalism." Across the board, "Tron: Legacy works amazingly well."
"Tron: Legacy lives up to its name"
C'mon. It suffers from Avatar's worst failing — self-seriousness: Like Avatar, Tron: Legacy is "gorgeous," says Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel. But "also like Avatar, Legacy is a film too in love with its own good looks." The film's creators have "taken the damned thing so seriously," and the result is a "generally humorless quest inside the computer grid."
"Tron takes itself too seriously"
And its appeal is far too niche: "Tron: Legacy will probably do okay on its opening weekend," says Liam Lacey at The Globe and Mail, but it's unlikely to become a global "pop-culture phenomenon" like Avatar. Cameron's film appealed to men and women of all ages, boasted "a pair of strong female leads," and had "the technology wow factor." Tron: Legacy "just doesn’t offer an audience nearly as many connection points."
"Earth to Master Control: Tron is no Avatar"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
Subscribe to the Week