Review - Film - Light years ahead
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
Out on DVD 18 April
Rating: 3 out of 5
The film is about the son of the leading virtual world developer whose father, Kevin Flynn, disappears unexpectedly. Twenty years later, Sam, Kevin's son, explores his father's arcade and finds the game Tron, one of his favourite games as a child.
He tries to play the game but when his coin is rejected, Sam finds a hidden passageway and creeps through it. He discovers a system that transports him into the digital world of the game.
While inside the game, he finds the place where his father has been living for 20 years and discovers his dad's created duplicate, Clu, has turned his back on his creator. Now, Sam has to try to save his dad and his program assistant Quorra and help get them back to the real world by racing against time and getting through the portal, which can only be opened from the outside and is about to close.
Meanwhile, Clu is doing all he can to retrieve Kevin's disk and gain control of the Grid. Will Kevin, Sam and Quorra ever get back to the real world?
The plot could be hard to understand for younger children, so I would recommend it to those aged 12 and above.
The film is probably best for boys because they would love all the disc fights and light cycle races. There is a lot of action, but some of the stunts may be a bad influence on young children.
Music is by Daft Punk and this suits Tron: Legacy perfectly. Many people might argue that the ending could have been better thought out. It looks as if the creators spent too much money on the main part of the film and had to make the best of what they had left for the ending.
Lauren Howitt, 11, Yenton Primary School, Erdington, Birmingham
Rating: 3 out of 5
Tron: Legacy (a sequel to the 1982 film Tron that spawned a video game of the same name) is the story of Kevin Flynn, a computer games software engineer, who gets trapped inside the virtual world he has developed.
Twenty years after he disappeared, his son Sam gets transported there too.
Originally intended as a utopia, Flynn's vision of the perfect system has become sinister and dangerous, where the quest for perfection has led to genocide and war.
Sam and his father embark on a life-or-death adventure to escape and return to the real world through a portal that will close in eight hours. The action sequences will appeal to their target pre-teen and teenage (mostly male) audience.
There are high-speed chases, tense fight scenes and, early on, Sam is plunged into a gladiator-type tournament in a packed arena. Except here, he is battling for survival against not lions, but potentially lethal discs hurtling towards him.
The film sits well in the science fiction genre and its slow-motion fight sequences reference The Matrix. There is also an amusing allusion to Darth Vader and Star Wars when Sam meets a gruff-voiced man sporting a black cape and visor. In a twist on the original, and despite appearances, he declares, "I am not your father."
While Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde ably portray the main characters, the real stand-out performance is from Michael Sheen. He is captivating as the exuberant Zuse and plays him with more than a nod to Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.
Visually, the film is stunning: a sleek futuristic world where neon gleams along curved black contours and motorbikes and spaceships materialise before our eyes. The production design and costumes are impressive with dazzling special effects.
Its plot, however, is a little confusing and some of the emotional scenes are rather cloying and predictable.
Rachel Caddick, Filmclub leader, Yenton Primary School, Erdington, Birmingham
Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister
FILMCLUB REVIEWS BY PUPILS
THE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER
Director: Reginald Mills
Starring: Frederick Ashton, Alexander Grant, Julie Wood
Out now on DVD and Blu-ray
Rating: 3 out of 5
At first, the idea of Beatrix Potter's characters performing ballet can sound vaguely stupid, but brought to life, it's a beautiful way to tell her stories.
The Tales of Beatrix Potter is both a tribute to and adaptation of Potter's work. We see all her famous characters - Squirrel Nutkin, Jemima Puddleduck and Jeremy Fisher - although surprisingly the most famous, Peter Rabbit, does not have a leading role. He just spies on the others, sometimes laughing at them. We even see Beatrix Potter herself, creating her creatures.
The film has only one flaw, but it is a big one. Unfamiliar with several of her stories, I found them hard to follow. Unless you understand ballet, I recommend reading her tales first to thoroughly enjoy this movie.
On the plus side, the film is technically impressive. The music is wonderfully orchestrated, the dancing is well choreographed and the costumes are impressively designed.
This painstakingly restored film is a great reminder of why Potter's characters never lose their power to shine.
Yann Atzmon, 11, Anson Primary, Brent, north-west London
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
Director: David Lean
Starring: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa
Out now on DVD
Rating: 5 out of 5
This film is superb. I can understand why it won so many awards - it is excellent. The storyline is gripping and I like the way it is told from two viewpoints (the prisoners of war and the commandos coming to blow up the bridge). I thought the ending was really quite sad and throughout the whole film I was waiting for the "spectacular" explosion. But when it did come, it wasn't all that amazing.
However, it is a fantastic film with great acting (Alec Guinness particularly) and I recommend it to all Filmclub members.
Samuel Wilson, 17, Woldgate College, Pocklington, North Yorkshire.