Twenty-one years ago, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), developer of the Tron video game and owner of the multi-billion dollar computer company Encom, disappeared. As this movie begins, Kevin’s son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is showing no interest in his father’s company. He is a rebellious thrill-seeker whose main aim in life seems to be to sabotage the company. Sam receives a visit from Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), his father’s best friend, who tells Sam that he received a message from Kevin on his pager the previous night. Sam visits his father’s old video games arcade, which has been closed up for the past 20 years. There he discovers a hidden room containing his father’s experimental teleportation equipment. Sam is teleported into the Grid, a digital world populated by computer programs in human form, where gladiator-style games take place.
Within moments of arriving, Sam is apprehended by guards and forced to fight for his life in gladiatorial games. But when Sam is cut during a fight and a drop of his blood falls to the ground, he is identified as a user rather than a program and the fight is stopped. Sam is taken to a program called Clu, whom Sam initially believes to be his father. Kevin did create Clu in his own image, but Clu has become corrupt and is now an evil overlord who forces Sam to participate in The Challenge of the Grid. Just before Sam is permanently eliminated in this game, he is rescued by a mysterious black-helmeted player. This is Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who takes Sam to meet Kevin.
We learn that Clu has been trying to capture Sam’s father for the past 20 years, needing the information contained in Kevin’s life disk to escape to the real world. Sam realises that the only way to stop Clu is to return to the real world where he can easily delete Clu’s program from the Grid. He must do this before being stopped by Clu and his minions.
Cyberworlds; gladiatorial battles; death and disappearance of parents
Tron: Legacy contains CGI violence and action, which is sometimes intense and includes fighting, explosions and bike and car chases. Although the movie doesn’t show blood and gore, younger children might find some of the injuries in the movie scary and/or disturbing. For example:
- A young boy slaps away his grandmother’s hand as she tries to comfort him.
- A character in the grid world commits suicide by jumping off the edge of a building. He is zapped by an energy force and his body disintegrates, bursting in a cloud of computer-generated pixels.
- During a gladiator-style fight between Sam and several other combatants, all wielding razor-sharp discs, several bodies are severed at the waist and the bodies shatter in a shower of pixels. A man falls through a hole in a glass-like floor, his body shattering into pixels. Another man is decapitated, and his body also disintegrates.
- After an intense fight between Sam and another man, Sam falls hard on his back on the ground. The attacker straddles Sam’s chest to cut off his head, but stops the fight when he sees a drop of Sam’s blood fall to the ground.
- A flashback shows Clu killing Tron, using his disc to stab Tron as Tron’s body disintegrates in a cloud of pixels.
- While at a nightclub in the Grid, five men wielding Chinese fighting sticks attack Sam and Quorra. One of the attackers hits Quorra across the face with a fighting stick and cuts her arm off above the elbow. There is no blood, just a pixel line where the arm is cut off. Quorra lies motionless on the ground with her eyes open as if dead. Later we hear that she will recover, and her arm regenerates after Kevin fixes her programming.
- Quorra talks about guards executing her people in the streets during genocide and about being surrounded by guards about to kill her.
- Sam kicks two guards off a landing. They fall to their deaths.
- Clu punches and kicks Kevin in the face and knocks Sam to the ground. Kevin uses an unseen force to pull Clu into his body, and they briefly integrate and then explode, like a nuclear bomb exploding.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- A man has part of his face missing. A pixelated substance replaces the missing eye socket, tissue and brain.
- A man has a large wound running across the side of his face from forehead to jaw.
- Many of the guards in the Grid are dressed in black with black helmets covering their faces. This gives them a threatening and intimidating appearance.
- A man has his hand cut off. The hand stays attached to a baton before disintegrating in a cloud of pixels.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
This movie contains some sexual references. For example:
- Sam is forcefully stripped by four women and says, ‘The zipper works’.
- In a nightclub in the Grid, the owner says that the men are ‘preoccupied’, and that he provides ‘entertainment and diversion’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Sam drinks a can of beer and hands a can to another man.
- People consume drinks in the nightclub, but it’s not clear what the drinks are and the people don’t seem drunk.
- Clu makes a man a cocktail.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Throughout the movie, women wear skin-tight jumpsuits.
- In a nightclub in the Grid, women sit on men’s laps while the men caress them.
- Clu strokes the side of a woman’s face.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: classic and modern Ducati motor bikes, and brand-name beer. There is also a lot of associated merchandise being marketed in association with this movie’s release.
This movie contains brief mild coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Tron: Legacy is a science fiction action adventure aimed at a teenage audience. The movie is visually stunning and will easily entertain its intended audience. You should be aware that although the movie doesn’t have a lot of blood and gore, it does have some quite intense violence and occasional scary images. These might disturb and frighten younger viewers. Younger viewers might also find the movie’s running time of 125 minutes too long.
The main messages from this movie are that some things are worth risking your life for, and that family bonds are very strong.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness. For example, Quorra risks her own life several times to protect the lives of the people she cares about. The movie also highlights care and responsibility, as shown by Kevin and Sam towards each other.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as persecution and genocide. In the movie, a specific group of people in the Grid are persecuted by Clu, then hunted down and almost eliminated.