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Dad's in the computer in 'Tron: Legacy'

Garrett Hedlund in "Tron: Legacy" directed by Joseph

Garrett Hedlund in "Tron: Legacy" directed by Joseph Kosinski Credit: Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Way back in 1982, before phones got smart and books lost their spines, Walt Disney Productions released "Tron," an early attempt to visualize a world inside a computer - what we'd now call virtual reality. Making unprecedented use of computer-generated effects, the movie created a new landscape of grids, planes and pixels. It was ambitious, cutting-edge and, unfortunately, pretty boring.

Nearly 30 years later, the sequel is hoping to prove it's not your father's "Tron."

There is a strong family resemblance. In the original, programmer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) was laser-beamed into a mainframe and forced to compete in arcade-style games to survive. The sequel, "Tron: Legacy," follows Flynn's son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), as he searches for his father in the circuitry. But my, how the cyber-world has changed.

Now it's filled with trendy architecture, designer women and fashionable ideas ("a system where all information was free"). Bridges again plays Flynn in laid-back Dude mode, but the actor has more fun doubling as the evil cyber-tyrant Clu. Hedlund's Sam gets to drive the glowing lightcycles, make eyes at punky-haired Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and hang out in a cyber-club with the flamboyant Castor (Michael Sheen, stealing the show). Look, up in the DJ booth! It's the French electro-duo Daft Punk, who scored the film.

Like the original, "Tron: Legacy" obsesses over technology and style but forgets important details like character and plot. The reason it already looks dated is because its timeless elements are missing.

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