strange like that

“TRON: Legacy”: A User’s Commentary

Tron Legacy

"TRON: Legacy" title and cycle.

I already knew that recapturing the mystique of the 1982 original “TRON” would be a challenge, if not an impossible feat. After seeing “TRON: Legacy”, I feel I have been proven right. Now, “TRON: Legacy” isn’t a movie I would call bad per se. However, it is a movie with problems that were too numerous for me to ignore.

This is going to be another spoiler-iffic post, so you know the drill if you haven’t seen the movie or don’t want to know about major plot points.

That being said, here are the problems I had with the movie in no specific order:

• In the original film, Flynn is zapped onto the grid and essentially becomes a program. He is automatically dressed for the part. I’m good with that. In the new film, Sam is zapped in while still in his street clothes which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It seems the whole point of that is so that we can have an unnecessary prep scene with sexy programs cutting off his clothes and suiting him up.

• So, Sam has been assigned to the game grid, all while being really confused and claiming he’s not a program. (Even the afore mentioned sexy programs say that “this one is different”.) Yet, the only way that anyone else figures out he is a user is because he gets cut and bleeds. That made no sense to me. By being zapped into the system, wouldn’t he be a program and not flesh and blood?

• When Sam and Quorra are escaping from the light cycle games, she says that they won’t be followed because the cycles can’t go off road. Hence, they are safe as Flynn’s zen pad. Yet, the bad guys certainly find them later and make it there just fine. I would think CLU would be more prepared to have given chase via some sort of flying vehicle, or would have located Flynn previously.

• My understanding of the shaky logic of the movie is that Quorra is an ISO, which is sort of like a self-occurring AI. She is, in fact, a program. This presents two issues to me. One, is how these ISOs were supposedly going to help mankind as Flynn keeps suggesting. Two, is how does she become what seems to be a real person at the end of the movie when they escape the grid? I’m alright with matter to energy ala the first movie, but the reverse is a little confounding. Quorra was never a real person to begin with.

• When Sam enters the grid, he enters through Flynn’s physical arcade and then a virtual one when he’s been zapped. Yet, the exit is all the way the hell across the system. The reasoning for this is that Flynn wanted to make sure no programs could get out, yet they also make it very clear that none of them could do that without having his identity disc. If Flynn is the only one coming and going, what’s the point of putting it so far away beyond using that solely to drive what was an already faltering plot?

• This is more of a minor gripe, but the set dressing in Flynn’s pad is really strange. He’s supposedly all zen now, and yet he has a crystal chandelier, a bowl of metal fruit and some other random stuff. Seemed like odd choices.

• While at Flynn’s pad, Flynn, Sam and Quorra all sit down to a meal. A meal? They’re f-ing digital. How does that even work? It seemed again like another needless thing added to the movie so that they could work through more exposition.

Overall, I think there were so many wasted opportunities with this film. The plot is basically CLU building an army to go out into the real world and make everything perfect. I think it would have been much more interesting as a chase movie where CLU was trying to hunt down the Flynn so that he could rule his virtual world as he saw fit.

As for the titular character, he was hardly in the damn thing and even then, you didn’t know it was TRON until pretty far into the flick. The title seemed to be kept mainly for branding purposes.

Another minor issue I had with the movie was the creepy Jeff Bridges CGI. We’re getting close to being able to create believable human CGI characters, but we’re not there yet. He just weirded me out.

Maybe I got some of the above wrong. (I did only see the movie once.) However, even upon one viewing, a movie goer should be able to understand how the world you’ve set up works. If they must see it multiple times to “get it”, then you’ve likely done something wrong unless it was the whole point of the movie. I have a feeling that wasn’t the point of “TRON: Legacy”.

This whole thing may come across as nit-picky, but I can only suspend disbelief for so long. Once you get such a conglomeration of things you’re just supposed to just accept unquestionably, it starts to eat into my enjoyment. If you’re going to create a world with its own rules, then you need to be consistent with those rules and at least offer some real explanation no matter how fantastical it might be. A good deal of the critics out there agree that the plot and logic of the film are failing and most have based a positive rating on the effects and music. I will take a good plot with shoddy effects over a terrible one with good effects any day.

“TRON: Legacy” is a mediocre film, with some cool special effects that can’t carry the weight of it. A lot of people really love it, and that’s fine by me. My guess is that there are also a lot of people enjoying it for nostalgia’s sake. I grew up with “TRON” myself, but even that couldn’t make me enjoy this movie to the level I would have liked.

End of line.

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One Response to ““TRON: Legacy”: A User’s Commentary”

  1. Aaron says:

    Okay. I have to admit, I agree with you regarding the fact that they could have just followed Quorra and Sam with fliers when they fled the gaming arena. I hadn’t thought of it, probably because you don’t see the fliers until a ways after that.

    As far as the energy to matter thing… I kinda think that if you can accept energy to matter being possible, you have to be able to accept the reverse as well. It makes more sense than accepting one but not the other.

    ISOs helping humanity, on the other hand… as I recall, it was something to do with their DNA. Perhaps something like studying it to learn how to rewrite human DNA to provide disease resistance and fix disabilities. I don’t remember exactly.

    The title… yeah, TRON didn’t have a huge part. But the movie is still set in the TRON universe – it’s not like the first movie was really about TRON himself, from what I understand; it was about Flynn entering TRON’s world.

    The CGI… I thought it looked good, albeit not *quite* perfect. There was a similar effect used in Terminator: Salvation, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it looked flat-out real. This was a tiny step back from that one.

    I liked the movie. To be perfectly honest, I never saw the first one, but TRON: Legacy was still enjoyable for me.

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