After coming to Comic Con three years in a row, Tron Legacy really had to step up its game to make an impression. I’m not sure that it did – at least for me – but the panel in a packed Hall H revealed something interesting about the movie:

It looks weird. I generally assumed that Tron Legacy would be just another Hollywood action movie, just with snazzy visuals. But if the eight minutes that Joseph Kosinski showed today were any indication, the film could be just as strange and unique as the original. The sequence that we saw wasn’t big on action – there was none at all – but it was big on scope and tone. And, in a scene where Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn, gets suited up as a gamer by a quartet of slinky female programs, it was highly stylized and almost retro in feeling. The scene had an almost Roger Vadim vibe, edging right up against campiness but never quite getting there.

What was most interesting (and which you’ve seen by now if you’ve seen the new Tron Legacy trailer), was the young version of Jeff Bridges who appears as Clu, despotic ruler of the cyber world. While the effect wasn’t quite finished – he looked good when still, but the lip movement feels off – it’s impressive, and I imagine that the effect will be more finalized by the time the movie hits in December.

(Click to enlarge)

There remain questions: What about Garrett Hedlund? Nothing I’ve seen so far has gotten me interested in him, and his presence on the panel was flat and dull. This is the center of Tron Legacy, and he’s not yet shown me any of the sparkle that Bridges brought to the original Tron. And that sparkle is important; it’s hard to judge from eight minutes followed by a sizzle reel, but Kosinski may have replicated Tron’s more… measured style. The eight minutes we saw would have been two minutes in another film – Sam is picked up by a Recognizer, gets sorted into the games section of the computer world, gets suited up and then enters the arena. We didn’t even see him doing any fighting, but what we saw had big, sweeping scope. All of it just happened to be big, sweeping scope where Hedlund was lost.

(Photo via

The action scenes that we did see were in the sizzle reel, most of which made it into the trailer, were pretty impressive, especially the updated version of derezzing. One aspect that folks in Hall H got to experience that you didn’t get at home was the 3D, which seems to be incredibly well done. Kosinski is definitely in the Cameron camp of 3D – lots of depth and texture. So much so that I was kind of wishing for a couple of gimmicky in-your-face shots, which I got in the sizzle reel and trailer.

Tron Legacy looks like an oddball picture; what we saw didn’t send me the way it did many of my colleagues, but it did allay a lot of my fears that this film was going to be a cookie cutter action spectacle. Whatever else Tron Legacy ends up being, it’s going to be one of the most unique blockbusters of the year – and considering how unique this year’s blockbusters have been, that’s saying something.