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Massawyrm knocks on the sky and listens to the sound in order to talk about what TRON: LEGACY was all about (the long delayed Part 2!)

Hola all. Massawyrm here.


This is not my review of TRON: LEGACY, but rather my long promised further delving into the philosophical and political underpinnings of the film. For my spoiler free initial take on the film, click here.

The first thing you need to wrap your mind around in order to understand what is going on in TRON: LEGACY is the nature of CLU. CLU isn’t Kevin Flynn; CLU is Kevin Flynn’s ambition - his youthful idealism - copied onto a computer and executed without the presence of a soul. While he possesses Flynn’s knowledge and keen intellect, he lacks his wisdom. For the sake of the narrative structure he is presented as a villain, though he has no truly malicious intent; he is merely mistaken. And he has been given one simple command: help Flynn build a perfect world. So what happens when a brilliant, dedicated, soulless program sets out to make a perfect digital world? The Grid happens.

At its heart, TRON: LEGACY is the classic argument about the impossibility of utopia. The concept of utopia can be boiled down to two defining characteristics: the first is that it is a safe, healthy environment that both meets the needs of its occupants and protects them from coming to any unnatural harm; the second is that the occupants are free to act exactly as they wish to, without limit or constraint. In other words, we need to be able to do whatever we feel like doing without having to worry about anybody getting hurt. This is of course impossible. Allowing humans to do whatever they please creates a dangerous environment. End of story. So you have to ask yourself: if you were a soulless computer program charged with building a perfect world with imperfect parameters, which side would you err on?

For CLU, this is relatively easy as he is only exposed at first to a single user (Flynn) and a series of programs, all of which can simply be reprogrammed or repurposed when they pose a threat to the harmony of the Grid. But when the ISOs (Isomorphic Algorithms) emerge unplanned from seemingly nowhere, he is confronted with a terrible dilemma. CLU realizes/believes that a perfect society should be unburdened by free will - after all, he himself has no real free will of his own; he is acting under the orders by which he was initially created and has faithfully served his duty for over 1200 years/cycles. ISOs are artificially intelligent creatures not at all unlike users; they are possessed of free will and a capacity to learn at a level which CLU lacks. So he orders the execution of what he sees as aberrations, resulting in a near total genocide. This, of course, is why CLU getting into our world is a bad thing – ISOs are digital humans, and CLU’s attempts to perfect our world would no doubt end in our extermination as well.

To CLU, this is but a simple math problem and well within his programming; he even goes so far as to ask Flynn of his dedication to the original premise that they, together, are to create a perfect world. Flynn doesn’t realize what CLU is asking because Flynn isn’t really paying attention. And when CLU realizes Flynn’s lack of dedication to their original purpose, he decides that he must be removed from the equation.

To make things even muddier, CLU has been given a second parameter to factor in. All information MUST be free. This is by far the more complicated issue TRON: LEGACY wrestles with - one many of us are wrestling with today. You see, there exists an argument that information not only wants to be free but that it should, in fact, be free to everyone. But what does that mean, exactly? Some argue this while downloading illegal copies of music and movies, ranting about the importance of Wikileaks, and copying and pasting news stories into their blogs. Of course, many of these same culture warriors are often the first to rise up and howl about Facebook taking their information (typed into the Facebook website) and selling it to others – because this is THEIR personal information and not someone else’s to trade in. It is a conundrum that vexes many, and is the driving force of the narrative in TRON: LEGACY.

Kevin Flynn originally believed that information should be free and his son – following in his footsteps – begins the movie as an out and out information anarchist. This point is driven home so hard that the corporation Flynn the elder once owned is now chaired by a diabolical, mustache twirling CEO who jokes that the new version of their Operating System is only different because they put a higher number on the box. But don’t be fooled by this oversimplified display of the issue – it only exists to make Flynn the Younger seem heroic in his extremist views. The film, while initially on the surface seeming to be pro-piracy/anti-copyright, actually takes a sharp philosophical turn in the second act.Here’s where things get a little kooky. Flynn the Elder was a pretty hardcore information-for-all guy; that is until CLU came for his disc. The disc is everything, and its importance to the story exceeds being a simple McGuffin for the heroes to defend; it is the philosophical center of the film. It is Flynn’s identity; everything that is Flynn is on that disc, 1200 years of meditation and invention. And with it, CLU can do untold amounts of damage. CLU believes he has every right to it, because it is information and information MUST be free. But Flynn the Elder has had a change of heart; he knows the damage his knowledge and identity can cause in the wrong hands, and now he’s changed his mind. So now Flynn lives on the outskirts of his own grid (off the grid, if you will pardon Disney’s well concealed pun), completely cut off from the world in order to keep the information his own.

The narrative through line of TRON: LEGACY is that of a hero who learns that nothing is as black and white as it seems and that the idea of information being free is a failed principle that looks good on paper but is dangerous in practice. (Does that sound more like the Disney you know and love than the whole pro-piracy thing does?) It is also very heavily focused upon the glory of imperfection – the idea that it is the sum of both our merits and our flaws that make us individuals – seen in the Grid as degradations in the programming which allow infected programs to think and act for themselves. Even at the end of it all, Kevin Flynn still loves his friend CLU and forgives him, because his flaws were Flynn’s own. This of course brings everything back around to what we’d expect from a conservatively rooted company, arguing that our freedom to make mistakes is a far better thing than forsaking that freedom for safety. We end up with a film touting the importance of the individual, and the necessity to keep our identities and information ours.

So what of the complaints about TRON: LEGACY having no story? They’re horseshit. The reason the story seems so simple to many is because it is textbook Joseph Campbell. Rigidly so. Disney has long been a fan of the Hero’s Journey, and this film follows the 12 cinematic stages of that journey (as long ago laid out by Disney’s own Chris Vogler) TO THE LETTER and comes pretty close to all 17 stages of the Monomyth. Of course, most critics know the Hero’s Journey like the back of their hand and can recite it in their sleep, so watching a film like this that feels like Campbell might have written it himself can feel extraordinarily cliché. Once you plug in that Quorra is both Flynn the Younger’s “reward” as well as the “elixir” that can save humanity that he returns from the other world with, every bit of Campbell’s outline becomes painfully clear. The film is beat for beat Joseph Campbell. But that doesn’t mean that there is “no story”, just that you know the story very, very well.

I dare anyone who still thinks TRON: LEGACY isn’t actually about anything to go back and see it again through this lens. The film is incredibly political, though not as overtly preachy as most politically charged science fiction. It plays around with some pretty big ideas and does so just out of earshot of the children as not to bog the film down like Lucas did with his prequels. But it’s there. And calling the film hollow or vacuous means you didn’t look much further than the visuals. See it again. Pick it apart. This film has a lot to say and has certainly set up an interesting mythology through which to tell some interesting stories.


Until next time friends,Massawyrm


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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    movie sucked to me

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    but then again, never seen the 1st and dont know computer jargon... daft punk did good tho

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Awesome stuff, Mass.

    by NinjaRap

    At the end, when Sam tells Alan to call a meeting with the board for the next morning, I think it's telling that we never see him come out and say "Encom 12 is going free" or something. Because it isn't going free. Yet I'd love to know more about what he plans the content of that meeting to include. Of course, for me, the most interesting underpinning of the movie isn't anything about the freedom of information or lack thereof, it's the fact that while the first film had a through-line about the fear of A.I., this one is about the hope for A.I. It's about taking the idea that computer viruses are the first man-made form of life, and extending it to its farthest logical extreme - a world where man becomes god by creating a computer system where new, intelligent life naturally evolves (thereby changing "philosophy, religion, everything!" as Flynn supposedly rants).

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Say what?

    by HoboCode

    Where and when has a utopia ever been defined as a place where everyone gets to do what they want without constraint? That's not a utopia, it's anarchy.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:36 a.m. CST

    I agree with you...

    by sfgeek

    beat for beat. Like you said Massa. I just finished teaching the hero's journey to my 8th grade students, and although they are fresh to the concepts, I believe that if asked, they would agree with hero's journey being the major theme of Tron. However, they would also say that the movie was just cool because it was bright and there were lightcycles. I still think that it was a little on the boring side, and the scene with Daft Punk spinning their now completely overplayed "Derezzed" was the most exciting part and performance of the film.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Best big-budget sf film in a decade

    by SmokingRobot

    Great article, btw.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST


    by hitchhiker42

    Electrifying Mass. I saw what you were hinting at when I saw the movie, but this puts what I was thinking into a much more clear, concise framework. I need to see this again now and pick it apart more. I loved both TRONS (from a geek standpoint, and a movielover standpoint). I say KUDOS to the House of Mouse.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Massa exploded my mind

    by craptacular

    My information is all over the walls.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Thanks Massa

    by MiserableRainGod

    Some great points and ideas that I missed. I knew the movie was resonating with me, but I didn't really get how or why. Time to listen to some Protomen.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:47 a.m. CST

    What do you call it when.........

    by Christopher Bynum

    a program on the grid takes a crap? A Data Dump.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Not a bad read. Good job Massa.

    by chadiwack

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Yes, it's the hero's journey again...

    by Meinert Hansen

    ...and although I enjoyed the film, I just got that nagging feeling I get from so many Disney films, where I could feel the strain on the part of the writers to try and hit all the perfect beats and to please everybody. It was like watching a screenplay tug-of-war, where every time it was about to get daring or bold, it held back. You know, it's okay to stray a bit from the 12 steps of the Hero's Journey without compromising the arc. <p> So yes, it did have a story. I just wish Disney would explore a few other "myths to live by."

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Didn't get it?

    by CatVutt

    How could anybody NOT get all that? It was fucking beatyouoverthehead obvious. Film still sucked. Undone by hamhanded, pointless blathering loosely stringing together obligatory set-pieces and the lack of a single real character. Garbage. Pretty, perfumed garbage.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Paradise Lost...

    by Iudex

    It was also a loose adaptation of the War in Heaven piece of Paradise Lost. Kevin is Creator, Clu is Lucifer. One of Clu's motivation is his lack of free will and ability to leave The Grid, and his Jealousy that Users have the privilege of both.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:56 a.m. CST

    TRON LEGACY Is Smarter And Better Than Many Give It Credit For

    by NeonFrisbee

    THANK YOU, MASSA! I've seen it three times, and each time I've seen it, something new and cool emerges. Massa is absolutely correct. Yes, the film does suffer from clumsy exposition in the middle, BUT, this exposition is actually much more intelligent and interesting than knee-jerk critics give it credit for. It actually set-up a lot of cool ideas that could be explored in the cartoon and (hopefully) further sequels. I really, REALLY hope it continues as it's easily my favorite film of the year (of course, I haven't seen TRUE GRIT yet, so my opinion my change), even though it does suffer from some clumsy exposition. Oh, and TRON: LEGACY was WAY better than AVATAR (which I also enjoyed). Maybe AVATAR is more *realistic*, but who gives a crap about realism?? I didn't go to see a movie about a bunch of people having an adventure in an anthropamorphised computer land for realism, I wanted to ESCAPE into a jaw-droppingly gorgeous, cold, minimalist, futurist dreamland. And I got exactly that. PLEASE give us a sequel. One focused on the best and most important character in the film -- Quorra.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the most insightful review since Moriarty...

    by DoogieHowitzer

    Since Moriarty left the premises. I saw the movie after it had been out a week and had garnered a lot of flat reviews. But all the smart, sci-fi and movie fans I know said they enjoyed the film, so I gave it a shot and really thought it had much more depth than most appreciated. As with any art form, we project our own ideals onto a film - so perhaps that explains the wide variety of opinions for this rather formulaic on the surface film. And I was dumbfounded every time Olivia Wilde's face was on the screen - absolutely stunning beauty and innocence on that face.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    Quorra / Olivia Wilde Is An Anime Character Come To Life

    by NeonFrisbee

    Absolutely stunningly gorgeous. If I have any complaints about Legacy it's that there wasn't enough Quorra.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Solid Article

    by BackwardGalaxy

    Very solid article, and you're absolutely right that there's way more going on in Tron: Legacy than a lot of people give it credit for. I'm slightly curious why you chose not to touch on CLU's disappointment that Flynn chose his flesh and blood son over his digital son, and the implications that has on the idea of artificial intelligence when created by man instead of spontaneously coming to life on its own (ISOs). Plainly, the script needed another rewrite.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Nice breakdown Massa, BUT...

    by vettebro

    The movie still sucked. The story was there, but it was a shitty story. The writers and producers could have done WAY better. End of line.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:14 a.m. CST

    This is one of the deepest films to come along in a long time

    by SifoDyasJr

    There's some clunky dialogue and exposition at the start, but even that has some great threads in it as young Kevin Flynn giving his inspirational keynote about the 'new world in there' parallels CLU's scary rally at the end about conquering and perfecting the 'new world out there'. I'm on my third viewing and still chewing on the idea of the ISO's and where they may have come from. My theory is that Kevin Flynn's very presence caused them to surprisingly manifest as they are a hybrid of user and digital. In fact, I wonder if they appeared directly after his creation of CLU, his digital counterpart? I'm crossing my fingers that Disney greenlights a sequel. I want to visit this world and these ideas many more times.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Good analysis Massa.

    by byronical

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Mass I am so grateful for this Tron 2 is Fantastic

    by Buddha Master

    I have seen Tron 2 twice now and I really want to go again. This movie is so much more then spectacle and this article really fleshes out why in a way I had trouble communicating myself (being heavily uh, medicated both times I saw the film). I knew there was great ideas in the movie though and couldn't for the life of me understand others not digging the movie. I love the movie. Its far from the lazy film making Hollywood has been regurgitating out, and excusing it as "Hey its a Popcorn Movie." Bullshit. Tron Legacy is really good. I am going to reread this article when I get to work in a little and meditate on this for awhile. I will probably email this to some people too. Thanks for this great analysis Massawyrm. Well played, sir.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Excellent Analysis, Massawyrm


    I know, because I agree with you. But this was, without a doubt, the best meditation on this movie I have seen by anybody anywhere. It is so thoughtful and well-written that Harry's anemic review and Drew McWeeny's insanely critical review at Hitfix are both put to shame. Shame, I say! Excellent job. I'm still bugged by the uncanny valley in Legacy, but, in terms of everything else, I love the film (including some of the very elements hated by critics like McWeeney, who felt these beat-for-beat homages to 80s scifi and so on were thoughtless plagiarisms, and not well-considered artifacts of what a world that a young man who matured in the 70s and 80s might construct). Not to mention, the several nod to Star Wars made sense not just because Kevin Flynn probably loved Star Wars (and it's Campbellian roots), but because the story itself was constructed around the hero's journey, as was Star Wars, and such meta-homages made perfect, almost crazy-perfect sense. In any case, they both resonated and really, really worked for me. Even elements I wasn't a huge fan of (such as Zuse and the End of Line club) made a lot of sense in a world created by Kevin Flynn, who would have grown up (and was an attractive and single young man for much of that time) in a world of 70s discos and 80s dance clubs. Of all my favorite films, I have probably watched Tron the most. And it is one of the few (like, believe it or not, It's a Wonderful Life) that I can watch and pull something new from, or appreciate with a new eye, every time I see it. With the caveat that I probably watched it 40 times before I realized that that was what was happening. Part of that is because it is full of simple, little, dawn-of-the-digital age ideas and concepts that can be (for me) picked apart and reflected upon and, indeed, savored, almost ad infinitum. Until every potential My immediate impression of Legacy is that there is much of the same thing here. I can't wait to see it again, and, eventually, get the Blu-Ray.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:34 a.m. CST

    so,uh,who didnt figure this out already?

    by j2talk

    seriously? Nice summation, but did you you really have to reflect on it? is was fairly straight forward during the initial viewing....

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Doogie: "Thanks for the most insightful review since Moriarty..."


    Did you read Moriarty's review of Tron:Legacy at Hitfix? It was horrible. And, yes, he hated it, so I was disposed to disagree with his review, anyway, but the review itself was the opposite of insightful. I've seen better critical reviews (even if I don't agree with them) in the Talkbacks here.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Olivia Wilde

    by Symposium

    Cannot act driving a car to save her life. She employed the "waggle the steering wheel" style of acting. How this got passed everybody involved in the production I'll never know.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    That sure is a lot of thought...

    by MrWug

    to put into such a mediocre film.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    A good read of the film, but...

    by Ron

    I've got no argument with the simple plotting (hell, ESB could be seen as "Han and Leia leave the Arctic for the clouds, are later met by Luke, credits"), and I agree/love the reading of the subtext (and the depth of the analysis definitely improves my take of the film), but I think that no matter how layered a film or book is, it still owes it to its audience to fully serve and support the narrative. I think Tron fell short here, specifically with Tron himself. Tron was reprogrammed, then he wasn't and he saved the day. It broke the rules that the film established instead of finding a real solution that would have heightened the adventure in the process. Looking to Campbell, instead of being some gallant, awesome return to form for our beloved and believed-gone once-hero, it was a sloppy fix and made Tron's presence feel contrived for nostalgia's sake. Interesting that CLU and Skynet have similar goals, and that Tron and TIII shared the same flaw in how they resolved their obstacles (the T800's newfound ability to fight his programming and save the day... had the lady Terminator died on the magnet and Arnold returned to form as the badass from T1, that would have made the movie--or at least made up for the strip club scene). Both narratives fell short when they allowed key artificial intelligence beings to fight their programming without additional support as to why. Doing so cheapened the whole idea of the character up until that point (maybe the original Terminator should have just changed his mind and caught a GnR concert before they broke up). In T2, the 800 can't fight his programming, so he dies at the end and it makes the movie. Tron the character decides he serves the user once more, maybe CLU would have decided to sit back with a glass of wine instead of threatening to potentially take over the world.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:56 a.m. CST

    I Agree totally. Very deep concepts in Tron.

    by Quake II

    I was shocked how many people dismissed it as style over substance (which isn't even a bad thing really). Coolest action sequences I've seen in years. Great sense of geography during battles, engaging, emotional scenes (Flynn apologizing to CLU was VERY touching) and an overall classic epic movie feel. I even loved the motorcycle chase and Encom the scenes before Sam enters the Grid. ANd young boys are obsessed with Legacy. My 9 year old and all his friends won't stop talking about it. The repeat box office (18 million domestic 3rd weekend now approaching 150 million) proves that the film is working on people at different levels. Far from a flop. Blu-ray sales will be through the roof.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    I've seen both True Grit and Tron

    by Iudex

    And I liked Tron Better. True Grit is an excellent film, and is probably in my top three this year, but Tron was more enjoyable.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Nomad! Sterilize!

    by Seven_of_Borgnine

    The "perfection machine gone awry" is a fairly old idea is it not?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I absolutely loved Tron Legacy....

    by Righteous Brother

    but I'm willing to accept that I was just bowled over by the soundtrack and the visuals, and the fact that I was completely baked whilst watching it.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Lord Of The Rings exposition gets a pass?

    by Quake II

    I love how a 10 hour trilogy of films with TONS of exposition and flashbacks gets a pass with critics but Tron Legacy (which contains about 10 minutes total of actual flashbacks and exposition) gets called "bogged down" and "tedious". Hilarious. I LOVED the flashback stuff and felt the movie shot by at 2:07 minutes. Felt like 90 minutes to me.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Excellent article, Masa!

    by HelveticaConspiracy

    I truly enjoyed Tron: Legacy. The begining of the movie was tremendously fun and I love that they carried over the dark, sleek aesthetic of the 'real' world over from the first Tron. I got a lot of the philosophical underpinnings you begin to discuss, Masa. But, I think the real problem of the movie was Jeff Bridges. Now, I love Jeff Bridges. He's awesome in True Grit. But, the dialogue that writer's give him in T:L is inane to the point of maddening. It's like the saw Big Lebowski one too many times and thought that's who Kevin Flynn was. He comes off sounding like an aged stoner beatnik (digital jazz, man). When the original Kevin Flynn was a sharp, hungry computer programmer. He was not Jeff Lebowski. All of Jeff Bridges dialogue is contrived and carries no weight. Which really sucks when they present him like Col Kurtz, but make him sound like The Dude. That was a huge flaw in the movie. As was Clu's appearance. Jeff Bridges' face looks ridiculous being CGI'd to make him appear younger. It takes you out of the moment every time. But, all in all, there was much to enjoy in the film. And, I hope they make enough money to greenlight a sequel so they can work out the bugs.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Great insight on the film. One question...

    by jimmy_009

    I thought Tron was much better than critics gave it credit for, but I'm not sure how completely the filmmakers got what was on their mind on film. I'm interested to see it a second time to see how much better the plot comes through. My question is: why would Clu coming through into the real world pose a problem for the real world? I don't think they properly explained this. He would literally be just a guy with no tools or power for doing anything in the real world. I presume he and his followers would pour out of Flynns arcade and promptly be arrested or gawked at, then forgotten. He certainly wouldn't be in any kind of position to wipe out the imperfect human race. The best I could do in coming up with an explanation for this was that he could conceivably turn into some cult like leader that can attract a lot of followers, but even then he'd be no more than a wacky nutwing with no power beyond terrorism or something.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Within the last year, I have become a follower of The Wyrm

    by Kamaji

    Ever since he summed up Bella Swan's character issues in 2-3 paragraphs (literally deciphering in words what I could not), I've enjoyed his rants and ravings. Definitely one of the best of the 'next generation' of AICN writers. Massawyrm really does feel like the following generation to the site's original 'nine old men.' One has to wonder what film analysis persons will be here on AICN in 2020...if man is still alive.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Good job Massa..

    by torpor_haze

    very eloquent dissection of the movie.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:22 a.m. CST


    by shawn_h

    Whats your top 10 of 2010 Massa??

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    Massawyrm proves why he is the only film reviewer at this site that actually matters. This from an email that I sent my 2 close friends this morning: "This is the best movie reviewer working, and this shows why: (link to this article)' Thanks for thinking, brotha, and bringing it to bear on our favorite genres.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Thanks Massa

    by MapMan

    I've been waiting for this article for a while now. I'm glad to see that TL does have its fanbase and that people are seeing and thinking about the many ideas that are being presented. I'm hoping to catch a presentation in IMAX 3D next week in Ottawa. This movie requires repeat viewings. You should check out the graphic novel "TRON Betrayal". It acts as a bridge between the two movies and shows how Flynn, TRON and CLU built the grid and the growing rift between Flynn and CLU as Flynn tries to balance his life between the two worlds. Kudos to Disney for creating this fascinating world. I hope that more and more people will come to see what this movie has to offer.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I really enjoyed it

    by Obscura

    i work in a cinema and ive seen it a lot over the past few weeks (in all those empty screens around the world) and I really do think its a solid, entertaining film that does deal with interesting ideas and themes in a very subtle way. Its by no means perfect, but its the film I wanted it to be. I really wish it was making more money, because I'd really like to see a sequel.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Rock on Massa!

    by D.Vader

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    I have only one thing to add..

    by torpor_haze

    regards to information being free. I think movie spelsl out the distinction between 2 types of "free" information. At the beginning of the movie they talk about monetary value of information and I think Flynn still subscribes to ideal of it being free. Further in the movie we find out Flynn believes the creator of any information (e.g. software) has the right not to give or sell his information (human value).

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:30 a.m. CST

    A couple more observations....

    by Quake II

    CLU is Kevin's other son. The one that went bad. But he still loves CLU in some ways. When Sam says "This place must have been beautiful, before CLU ruined it". Kevin responds with "No, he didn't ruin it. He's me. He did what he was programmed to do". And when Flynn gives Sam his disc to escape the grid with, CLU (truly baffled) yells "Why?!" Kevin responds with tears in his eyes "He's my son!". Obviously CLU has no idea what love is so he's baffled by any human sacrifice or didication to another person. CLU is also obviously jealous that Sam gets the love of his father while CLU was abandoned in a way and took joy in trying to kill his "brother" Sam on the Light Cycle grid. Also, critics were confused by Kevin's coldness when Sam shows up. This is a man who has literally lost his mind a bit having to give up everyone he knew and loved and spend 20 years in isolation. You wouldn't be too sure how to interact with another person either. Quorra was like a child who worshipped Kevin. She wouldn't provide any mental stimulation or conversation. Kevin started to warm up to Sam as they went along but the first encounter was awkward on purpose. Not because of bad writing or direction like some critics claimed. It was the classic Hearts Of Darkness journey where the mystery man at the end of the river had some mental problems due to years of isolation. Meditation is the only thing that has kept Kevin from commiting suicide from the guilt of losing a son and creating another (who is a monster by default).

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Uninspired - Uninventive - Confusing - Boring - Last Gen

    by D o o d

    That's what Tron Legacy is!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Movie should have been called Flynn: Legacy

    by PeopleCallMeTheBriMan

    Good article, Massa. I liked the movie. I just wish they could have focused a little more on Tron -- you know, the guy the movie was named after? The way they handled his "turn" to good was really sloppy. No real motivation behind his turn. Don't show us his face. That's my biggest complaint.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Coming from someone who enjoyed the movie...

    by AnakinsDiapers

    That's all well and good Massa, but the writers and Directors job is to convey all that subtext meaningfully in the actual film. <p> That did not happen.<p> I spotted all of that in my first viewing, but i was disappointed non of it was explored with any real depth. It was presented, if you were really paying attention, but the script didn't really gave these ideas center stage.<p> Compound that with all of the missed opportunities involving Tron and Kevin Flynn and it becomes annoying. Just one instance: The exciting Daft Punk track "Fall" comes into play when Kevin Flynn shows up to save Sam and quorra at the End of Line club. As the music drums in and Flynn gets all "Neo" in his entrance, what does he actually do? The lights dim a litlle and walks across the room....done. Do we get to see a User get busy with the full knowledge of his abilities? Abilities Flynn was just stumbling across in the first Tron? No, we don't. Flynn stopped programs from derezzing and derezzed a program simply by touching in the first movie. Flynn walked across a room with his arms spread open in this one. WTF!? Trons mishandling deserves it's own thread.<p> The writers were interviewed on this very site, and they expounded on the nature of CLU's and Kevins relationship to Sam. How they were both fathers of a different era and Sams' conflicting feelings of who to follow. We didn't get that now did we? CLU was a villain who antagonized Sam from jumpstreet.<P> All in all, intentions and the finished product are two different things.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Well said, Mass.

    by thethedew

    Though I thought there were undertones of the Clu/KFlynn relationship that were just as Father/Son/failure as Kevin/Sam. Clu is a very complicated character, theme-wise, and can have a lot of meaning pressed upon him.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Flynn = Failed Father / Failed God

    by NeonFrisbee

    But at least he tries to make up for it by giving his son the hottest girlfriend in computerland! Bring on Tron 3!!!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Gonna believe Massawyrm on this.

    by JudasPriestly

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Binary Thinker

    by Mephisto the Great

    My son and I, after leaving the theater, had a discussion about why Clu did what he did. We realized this program was, ultimately, a binary thinker -- like most programs. He was not self-aware, really. He was doing exactly what he was told to do. Hence why the ISOs were so special; they transcended such black/white notions beyond their Original existance. In other words, we gave more meaning to a script that probably wasn't there. :-)

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Great article, Mass

    by DrIvoShandor

    TRON was a little slow, but it sure as shit had a story. and a pretty good one at that. End of line.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:12 p.m. CST

    anakinsdiapers & jimmy_009

    by Quake II

    I'm assuming the writers/director couldn't get too insanely deep due to the fact that this was a Disney film and they didn't want to risk losing the younger audience at times. I think there's enough in it as it is to make kids think and use their imagination to fill in the blanks. The Prequel Trilogy made the mistake of explaining EVERYTHING and it suffered for it. Midichlorians, Jedi Council meetings and senate debates anyone? And jimmy_009, CLU may not have been a threat at all. Or maybe that many programs entering our world may have caused some cosmic time/space disaster. We don't know. CLU (like Hitler) just knows that it was relatively simple to take over the Grid (Europe) so the real world would fall just as easily (Hitler made this mistake with Russia). The point isn't whether CLU's plan is silly or real, he (and the audience) don't know what would happen. Maybe our reality would collapse or CLU and his army would die in transport or be immediately arrested. Who knows? CLU's plan may be obviously silly to us but to him, conquering earth would be a natural next step.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:14 p.m. CST

    I think some bad writing early on cost it big time

    by Spandau Belly

    I think the stuff at evil Encom HQ was just so poorly written with such a bad understanding of business and computers that most people watching just went into I'm-watching-a-dumb-movie mode. I know I did. You see scenes that stupid it lowers the respect you're extending a film. So when some neat idea does come up, you figure it either got in their by accident, or it was a leftover from an older smarter draft of the script before the execs asked it to be dumbed down. I liked the film and had fun watching it. I thought it had good ideas, but I also thought it had a lot of stupid parts.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Great job Massa!

    by sweeneydave

    I watched T:L twice and loved it both times. I generally hate 3D, but this one was so much fun. To me, it's like the POTC movies. The world (characters, costumes, special effects, music) is so much fun that the story isn't really even necessary. It's just a lot of fun to escape into this world for a while. Not many movies acheive that for me. My biggest problems were CLU's CGI face (didn't bother me too much the first time, but noticed it a LOT the 2nd time), Quorra's waggle-wheel driving, and Tron being reduced to a cameo. The patrons of the End-of-Line club changed just due to the presence of Kevin Flynn. It's not unreasonable that Tron changed for the same reason. I imagine that unexplainable things happen when people are in the presence of a god - especially for Tron who was designed to fight for the Users.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Beach memories...

    by Quake II

    I was wondering if anyone else thought that the flashbacks of Kevin and Sam at the beach were Kevin's happiest memories of his son and their relationship or if they were created memories that never happened. We flash to those scenes a couple times. The first time the scene looks like a photo negative and is cold and dreamlike. The final flashback is in color and warm right before Kevin sacrifices himself for Sam. Was Kevin holding onto this one memory above any of the others? (his youth, his marriage, parents etc).

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Thank you Massawyrm

    by TheBigDogg

    So glad you wrote this. Especially glad you brought up the freedom of information issue. Personally, I thought this added a massive amount of substance to the relationship between Flynn and Clu and indeed the themes of the film. At the start, Encom is shown as the villain for restricting its system when Kevin Flynn would have wanted it to be free. Yet that is exactly the criticism Clu aims at older Flynn when it comes to our system - the real non-digital world. Clu saw this as Kevin Flynn's very own closed system, just like Encom 12, that he was keeping for himself. And that flashback scene where Clu gets clarification on just what he is supposed to be doing is brilliant. Poor Kevin Flynn just didn't know where that was going and it was very easy to understand how Clu got where he was.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Uhm....OK If you say so

    by doom master

    Honestly, let's say the film does have these undertones you speak of, who cares? This isn't the original Tron, which is miles from this brainfart movie. As such, no matter what political agenda is instilled within its cyberpunk 80s retrofit nuances you cant deny the fact that it's a movie, for one, a movie based off a forgotten 80s/lame Atari video game premise for two, and for three, just for good measure, this ain't no Matrix. And well, for four, people don't really give a shit to dig deep into it. I agree with your observations - they make sense - but for all its worth the message is lost beneath the cascade of virulent 80s nostalgia CGI on a movie that really nobody really creamed their pants over in 1982, much less now. By today's standards, it's newer than Avatar but less than Avatar and Matrix on all scales, so people will watch it for the sfx (and because theres nothing really popcorny-flashy out right now, other than this movie) and let it go to dvd death. Trust me, it'll soon be forgotten just like the original. I like the music, though...Too bad it's the same theme music played over and over...

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    The two Extremes of TRON debate

    by MST3KPIMP

    The problem is that the haters are so negative that they force you to just see the good things about the film while the apologists look foolish as they attempt to exaggerate the deeper subtext which was quite obvious. I like the movie but nigga pleez.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Agree. I think everything can be fixed with

    by UltraTron

    a great sequel with much more action and adventure. This is still the world of Tron and we're only scratching the surface with him. Does the heroes' journey have a character that the story is named after who does nothing whatsoever?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Oh and Symposium is totally right...

    by TheBigDogg

    Olivia Wilde's wheel-waggling 'driving' acting was quite hilarious. Though she totally won me over at the dinner scene. I thought she was great.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Tron was WAAAYYYY more of a Badass in Legacy

    by Buddha Master

    and was in it a lot. Yes he was re purposed and given the name of Rinzler, but that doesn't mean Tron wasn't in a lot of it. Its like saying you wish Anakin was in more of Episodes 4-6 of Star Wars. Now replay the movie in your head a bit. Rinzler/Tron was goddamn badass. In fact, when I imagined seeing Tron again a another film, I never dreamed he would be so much more of a frigging badass. Him digging the fuck out of having and using 2 disks and his discovering this. So cool. He physically became more badass. The chants of the crowd for him like he was Sparticus... and my science his theme when he was about to rumble with Sam.... fuck yea! That is ridiculously awesome. Tron/Rinzler is fucking cool as hell in Legacy. What the fuck are you people carrying on about Tron not being in enough of it. He was, and he was a goddamn badass motherfucker!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:55 p.m. CST

    TL was garbage

    by gamecOck

    Massa i believe you if you say the movie contained all these ideas but the makers of this movie really concealed these concepts really well. what i saw was a movie that promised a lot of fun in the first half hour and then went on to deliver some horrendous acting , ridiculous situations , EMO scenes (club scene, how is the sun? etc) , zero character development and stupid plot lacking any excitement. There were very few characters in the movie and by the end i didnt give a damn about any of them. Visuals and music were the only redeeming thing about this. however i have been burned harder by other movies i had expectations on so i would say it was not too bad.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    And for fans like me and those who have seen Tron 1

    by Buddha Master

    "I FIGHT FOR THE USER" was such a fuck yea moment. I could give a fuck if it seemed out of left field for someone who never saw Tron one. This is a part 2 and I feel sorry for the fools who needed their girly hands held that they didn't get it. What idiots. That was a great moment.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1 p.m. CST

    Tron Legacy was a success....

    by ihatetalkbacks

    I posted this at the end of the original Fan talkback... still think it stands.... ........................................................... Since Abramsprime did an elegant job of criticizing Tron Legacy I will try to defend it. This is not a personal attack as you seem the smartest poster here, it is that I just don't agree with you and few seem able to eloquently say why it is good. Any film can be criticized, but it is harder to praise. You said that the box office success of True Grit and Tron Legacy should be calculated differently, this I agree with (but the receipts are not the discussion here) Similar to this I think that the relative success or failure of Tron Legacy should be seen in differently to a film such as True Grit. Tron is not a personal drama like Paris Texas – there will be no lesson in the human condition. True Grit is aimed at a mixed audience of older people. Tron is for children, probably male primarily, and then families. There does not have to be a “character arc” of discovery – though I think there actually is – discussed later. Tron Legacy is also a sequel, not an original story. It has to fit the narrative that has been created in the first film. It in many ways is ham-strung by this. Tron was made in a less technologically aware era. The cyberspace there is like Greek myth, instead of Zeus creating lightning hammering clouds and Neptune creating the tides and giants controlling volcanoes, we have little computer people controlling a computer. Tron Legacy has to have this too: this is not the representation of a GUI, it is spirits in a machine. Also you say that many of the characters are archetypes which is some thing of a double-edged sword. Shallow, yes, but universally understood. I think there is some good character development. Clu and Kevin are played by essentially the same actor with a few effects too. They could not be different on screen. One a hippy, the other a tyrant. Yet it is the tyrant that first shows a tactile warmth for Sam then distance, and the hippy father who is originally dismissive and cold. Cora is also a very interesting character and well-acted. She would have been an over the top innocent like Sonny in I Robot but instead is more of a Pinocchio character – in search of a heart and humanity. The film in some ways belongs to her. The last shots are of her experiencing new sensations that the freedom of the real world brings her. She has evolved from a simple role as programme or daughter to Kevin to that of a person, capable of choices and emotion. Though there are few women in the film (certainly a criticism) a lot could be written about the gender stereotypes. Pacing and plotting was not a strong point but not ruinous. A few flashbacks appeared from nowhere and the film stock reminiscences of Sam and Kevin stuck out a little. The film had a lot of dialogue, but this did explain a lot, and was well shot and edited. It moved the story along and was not a shouting match such as the homoerotic grunting in say Transformers. In fact these moments were often a serene moment to counterpoint the action. So Tron Legacy had the problems of its basket-case original hanging over it and it had to deal with the same internal logic, the story was always going to be a muddle being in a different era now. This was also a strength. The 28 years allowed new characters to be introduced naturally, as well as a easy back story to explain what has happened to Bradley. There were some interesting subversive undercurrents for a mainstream film. Flynn Junior was an idealist eschewing property and privilege - certainly a reference to our post peer-to-peer downloading and bank bailout world. As far as Hedlund's acting goes it was unremarkable but not a disaster, rather like a cut-price James Franco. Did Mark Hammil sink Star Wars? No. Neither did Hedlund. Olivia Wilde and Bridges were good. Some hated Sheen as Castor... he played a nightclub owner in a computer, I don't think he could have method acted that. So Tron had deficiencies in story and character but it overcame them. What did it get right? It's audio visuals. The film looked amazing. No one can deny that, and for a sequel to such a visual original it had to do this. The film was true to it original designs and music but updated them faithfully. Blade Runner's umbrellas and glass lift, 2001's sterile white room, Ghost in the Shell's dive from a tower, Star Wars' spaceship operators were all there as references; but did not drown out the film's visual language in a post-modern clever-clever mishmash. The reason Tron Legacy was a good film is that it was a spectacle, sublime to look at, making you marvel at the creators – the designers, artists, musicians and cameramen. This was not a metaphysical meditation on the nature of man and machine combined as Ghost in the Shell was. It never could be. But it was a technical and artistic marvel.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Why is it ...

    by Cerpin

    that when the "quality" of a movie is debated, the people on the loved-it side do whatever possible to overanalyze the hell out of the story and search for some deeper meaning to give creedance to their argument. The truth: Tron Legacy was great up through the lightcycle scene ... then they talk for an eternity and the whole thing becomes the definition of tedious.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:03 p.m. CST

    gamecock You clearly were having a bad day

    by Buddha Master

    when you saw the movie. You definitely didn't see the same movie I saw. The acting was great throughout, the situations were great, your use of Emo exposes you and the kind of person you are, there was character development, and the movie was exciting. You must be like one of those ADD Bay lover and were thrown off by the lack of quick cutting and shakey cam. Do you love the first Tron gamecock?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:07 p.m. CST

    But it should have been better.

    by Ron

    The callback to the original was great for nostalgia's sake, but Tron's return to form was handled very poorly. If they had handle the return better, the callback would have been earned.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:09 p.m. CST

    quake ii

    by AnakinsDiapers

    Yet just about every Pixar film, which is made for families, does a better job of exploring whatever ideas and life lessons they set forth to tell a tale about. <p> Saying it's for kids is not an excuse for tackling the subject vapidly, or enacting no no's like having the plot dictate actions and not the characters. <p> Why exactly did Tron turn on CLU at the end if he was repurposed? "Because he's Tron" is not an answer. An easy solution could have been created by creating a confrontation between Tron and Flynn, say....when Quorra gave herself up and Flynn exclaimed the reveal..., that had Flynn using some of that User power we didn't get to see on Tron. Flynn could have touched him at some point, imbuing Tron with a little blue (read: good) infection, slowly overwriting his repurposed function. So when later, when we see Tron shaking his head, we understand what happened.<p> But no, the writers constantly went with the plot over character and function for simplicities sake.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I agree with you, Massa

    by prince_fufu

    Excellent take. I just hope there will be a sequel.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I paid $13 to see it in IMAX 3D and...

    by Bill Clay

    ...was very disappointed. The giant screen was nice, but the EXTREMELY limited use of actual 3D was a letdown. Of all movies you would expect to go balls-to-the-wall with 3D effects, you would think a computer animated film like Tron would be perfect for that. But no, the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 had more 3D in 2 minutes than Tron had in 2 hours. The movie even opened up with a disclaimer, "Many scenes are presented in 2D. This is intentional and how the movie was filmed." WTF?!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Enough with the tedious fanboy condescension.

    by CarsonDyle62

    I'm so tired of geeks telling me how "deep" Tron is. Granted the film has "ideas," but that's not really the issue. The problem with Tron isn't that it has nothing to say; the problem with Tron is that it dramatizes its ideas so incompetently that it's difficult to care about what's being said. This is a film that tells us the plot instead of allowing us to discover it. The characters explain to us (in excruciatingly belabored detail) how high the stakes are, but no amount of exposition is going to make me care about a story so completely and determinedly disinterested in the motives, fears and passions of real human beings. Tron may be the most smugly artificial movie I've ever seen. Certain fanboy "critics" seem to be under the impression that if a film has something on its mind (however half-baked that something may be) then the filmmakers have accomplished their goal. Bullshit. Coming up with "ideas" is relatively easy... the hard part is conveying those ideas in a way that resonates in the hearts and minds of the audience. Hell, that's what drama is. And as a work of drama, Tron represents an epic fail -- one that even John Lasseter was unable to save.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    But I did care carsondyle62

    by Buddha Master

    That's what I don't get about people like yourself. I respect you, but just because you didn't care doesn't mean the movie fails to make people care about what is being said. And dude, since when is Tron a work of drama?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    The Problem

    by Koyaanisqatsi

    is that most of this subtext people are saying is there isn't really there at all. Almost all of what Massa is trying to make out as subtext is stuff that is explicitly stated by characters. There's nothing there to lead people who aren't familiar with the deeper philosophical points the film tries to make in the direction of real discussion. None of these things are "understood" by the general viewer. In other words, normal people aren't having these conversations like we are. Also the entire third act is beyond stupid. Up until then it's entirely watchable if not a little forgettable but once Flynn's disc gets stolen the movie decides to stop making any sense and spend 20 minutes on a sailboat. It didn't work in the first movie and it didn't work here.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Tron is a Sci Fi Action film for families..

    by Buddha Master

    that has dramatic moments.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:34 p.m. CST

    anakinsdiapers ....Tron as Rinzler

    by Quake II

    I figured that Kevin Flynn thought Tron was dead the whole time as he thought he witnessed Tron's murder. He was suprised to see Tron (Rinzler) during the Quorra capture scene. True, maybe he should have gone up and tried to reprogram Tron then or activate a memory or something. Rinzler had a strange buzzing sound caused by him being either damaged or just "off" in some way. Why did CLU took his anger out of Jarvis (bald sidekick) instead of Rinzler when Sam steals the disc back? They make it a point to show CLU look at Rinzler in disgust before he derezzed Jarvis. I'm thinking it's because CLU still feared Rinzler/Tron and knew what he was capable of. Rinzler/Tron looks straight down at Kevin Flynn during the flyover scene. Kevin says "Tron, what happened to you?" The two make eye contact. After that moment, Rinzler starts hearing voices etc. I think he snapped out of whatever mind control CLU had over him and sacrificed himself for the users like he was programmed to do. And Pixar movies never go TOO deep. They scratch the surface but let's face it, the issues are human and I think Legacy had several "human" moments as well. I don't want a 25 minute explanation about ISO's or what powers Kevin has in the Grid. Keep it a mystery and leave it to the imagination. I too would have liked to see some awesome Jedi shit from Flynn, but it's only teased. Oh well. There was a lot of ground to cover for a 2 hour movie as it was. Speed Racer fell victim to trying to explain too much and it killed the middle of the movie. I actually think Legacy was rather dark and nihilistic for a PG rated Disney film. Not much happiness there and I think that soured some critics.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:35 p.m. CST

    It's 2011 and we're still breaking down this horseshit?

    by AzulTool

    This particular cinematic disappointment is soooooooo late 2010.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Tron Legacy was a steaming Pile

    by Tracer

    Not because of all of that Jazz that you just mentioned. but because in the first Tron the programs did have souls. they carried a little piece of their programmers or Users. that's what the whole thing about "do you believe in the USERS." it's like when the roman's would ask if somebody was a christian back in the day. in fact that's what the games were they were digitized gladiators. also Tron went out like a punk in the first movie he took out what like six guys without breaking a sweat now look at him. if that cartoon doesn't stack up i might be threw with any new Tron from now on

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    see your point... my point is...


    much like CLU being a mistake, an unfortunate copy of Kevin Flynn but without a soul, so is Tron Legacy. Like CLU it lacks the ability to make important distinctions between the lines and undermines quality for lazy obvious decisions at every turn

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:08 p.m. CST

    "20 minutes on a sailboat"

    by Quake II

    Comments like that make me realize that movie viewers today simply have no attention span at all. If you felt any part Of Tron Legacy was too slow or "boring" then you deserve every single Prince Of Persia, Iron Man 2, Transformers, Sorcerers Apprentice etc that Hollywood shits out. The movie had something you never see in action films. It's this little thing called character and plot development. Helps the viewer invest in the images on screen. Action directors used to use this technique waaay back in the 1930-1990's before movies became fast-cut slide shows with soulless characters. This is why Michael Bay will always have a job, to please the Red Bull sipping gamers with the attention span of a ferret on speed.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Men like me built this company and their spirits..

    by UltraTron

    Yeah but he could have been talking about ISOs in the first movie. We all thought it was the programs but it turns out they were merely disillusioned. Trolololo...

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:20 p.m. CST

    quake ii

    by Koyaanisqatsi

    As it stands the entire sequence on the sailor served only to tell us that Quorra was the last of the ISOs. There was no evolution of the Flynns' relationship with each other. No character development and not enough plot development to warrant spending "20 minutes on a sailboat". It was essentially two tech nerds talking about tech and one vital piece of information.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Great Article, just missing...

    by Atomik Steve

    ...discussion about the failed/redeemed father-son relationships. That is the center of the movie for me. It is reflected in both Clu and Sam, and while each is a "son" of Kevin, the relationships and redemptions were different. The central theme is the father being to wrapped up in his work to raise his son(s). In Sam's case he was gone, and in Clu's case his own faults were reflected back on Clu. Loved the movie (minus the Star Wars ripoffs at the end) and glad you did too.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Information wants to be free

    by Dreamfasting

    So under this interpretation, what does this mean for Quarra? Is she the personification of "information wants to be free"? Or is she the ulimate corporate wet dream of creating artificial personalities that people would choose to spend time with over any real companionship?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Good article

    by zer05um

    And for some of you here, why did you even bother?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Story and Storytelling

    by BoStrike1

    People frequently blame the story for the faults of the storyteller. If you had a problem with Avatar (like I did) it was probably not the story itself (Dances with Wolves didn't suck), but the patronizing way the story was told that got to you. If story alone were enough to make something worth watching, then every production of Hamlet in history must have been a freakin masterpiece.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST

    I agree about the Campbell-myth usage

    by VAwitch

    It's a timeless story device. That's why Lucas used it in SW 4-6. There are just some stories, that are basic - and they repeat themselves in art & sometimes in real life (Avatar's conquer-the-primitives, primitives are saved for example). I was happy w/ Tron Legacy the same way I was with Avatar & Transformers 1 - I was promised Awesome Amazing Visual FX - and that's what was delivered. I knew the stories would be: mythic redemption & rebirth T2), tech doesn't always conquer nature, and a damn toy-movie. I hope to see Tron Legacy 1 more time in theaters, since my home-system sucks. And I'll be checking out any future Tron offerings - keep the SFX at least @ T:L levels or better, don't promise "it's the best movie EVAR!", and the studio will get my money.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 2:55 p.m. CST


    by Koyaanisqatsi

    I can't speak for anybody else but I bothered because I hoped it would be good. Even after all the negative reviews I held out hope that I'd find something to like. And I did more or less like the first two acts. I loved Michael Sheen's totally unnecessary but awesome scenery chewing, and the production design was generally spectacular but the unbelievable stupidity of the third act cannot be denied. They spend the whole movie emphasizing the importance of Kevin's disc and then when it's stolen they decide it doesn't matter. Then they just happen to come across it again and change their minds... again. The idea of Tron being in the movie as Rinzler is fine but the "reveal" was so mishandled. Kevin almost literally says "Oh hey look there's Tron. Neat! He's not dead after all even though I never saw him die and didn't say anything along those lines to you earlier." There's also no stimulus that leads to Tron breaking through his reformatting. It's just an "Oh wait, I'm Tron" kind of moment that presents an opportunity to reuse a catchphrase devoid of context. And there was no energy to the lightjet action setpiece, very little to no sense of motion or speed for vehicles that are supposedly flying as fast as they can towards the portal. How and why does Quorra need to use Flynn's disc to get off The Grid? She's not a program and has free will and an Identity Disc of her own that should work. The list goes on and on.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3 p.m. CST


    by VAwitch

    well said. While Tron1 will always have a sweet place in my heart, much like Transformers G1 - looking back at it 25+ years later - OMFG they look like "crap" and the story - what story?? But for their time, they were something different. Tron in its SFX & "what if?" about the nascient computer age, and Transformers for somehow taking a 22 minute toy-commercial & making the battle between good & evil and protecting "innocents" (humans on Earth) into a 26-yr enduring franchise (mind you, in Japan there has essentially been at least 1 toyline w/ accompanying story & often comics/manga, at all times). But then, being a fan of mythology since childhood, I've read the heroic, pyrrhic, etc character arcs for decades.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Masswyrm, you really do suck.

    by Ringwearer9

    I hoped you wouldn't do this, but you did. Harry insists on loving this because he's a "Tron Geek For Life" and just wanted to "High Five his Friends afterwards" so you are doing your duty as his loyal minion and "High Fiving" this awful boring film. And you did it in the cheapest, most cliched intellectual way known to film criticism, you pulled out the Joseph Campbell card. The card where every film ever made can be called "mythical" no matter how poorly it executes those "mythical" structures. And how insincere your belief in this "depth" of Tron Legacy is is indicated by how, although you claim it follows the "12 steps of the Mythic Journey" you didn't bother to outline those steps, and point out which elements of Tron Legacy supposedly followed them, for fear that the shallowness and desperation of your wankery would then become obvious. It's easier to just reference the "12 steps of the Hero's Journey" and let everyone take your word for it ... hey, most people won't even bother to Google what those 12 steps happen to be, and just praise you for making a pretentious reference, right? As I said before, you shouldn't review a movie because of what it's about, but how it's about it. As other talkbackers have pointed out, the "depth" you mention was deadly obvious to anyone, even to me, who was being assaulted by the dead, cliche, time-killing dialogue, and the messy, boring, consequence free action. Since you didn't bother to delve into the 12 steps of the Hero's Journey, or how it's echoed in the film, I'm not going to bother looking them up either, but even if they are all faithfully placed there on purpose it doesn't matter if the film fails to make the audience care about them being there. What does it matter if there is a "hero" in a story if no one can identify with him or really care if he accomplishes his "quest"? It doesn't MATTER if there are "12 steps" if none of them are properly or engagingly brought to an audience. Blaming the audience for "not getting it" because they didn't haul out their Campbell and tick off the checklist is insulting and condescending. I used to like your writing, Massa, but you use it to bullshit. I don't think I've ever seen a movie based on your recommendation that wasn't Armond White-ish in it's obsession with "seeing" things that others do not, or becoming offended by something no one else in their right mind would be offended by. You could actually use your talents to ... you know ... share your appreciation of films that are actually good, instead of throwing up smoke screens around bad movies that don't deserve the defense. What this "defense" of yours really is is a LIE. You versus the audience. You smirking in a mirror thinking "Lets see if I can pull off some pretentious bullshit and impress the plebes". Fuck you, Massawyrm.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:10 p.m. CST is CLU any different from Aritifical Intelligence?

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    I mean, he outsmarts his creator and develops things that Flynn never thought of. He doesn't speak in typified, stereotyped ways (think of those AIM bots), nor does he seem limited in his decision making process. You can write 1000s of words on it, but the fact remains, Tron Legacy was a terrible, boring movie with incoherent action, poor production design (sorry but black, on black, on black, with see-through walls is a terrible idea) and no internal logic whatsoever.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST is CLU any different from Aritifical Intelligence?

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    I mean, he outsmarts his creator and develops things that Flynn never thought of. He doesn't speak in typified, stereotyped ways (think of those AIM bots), nor does he seem limited in his decision making process. You can write 1000s of words on it, but the fact remains, Tron Legacy was a terrible, boring movie with incoherent action, poor production design (sorry but black, on black, on black, with see-through walls is a terrible idea) and no internal logic whatsoever.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Well, damn, you gone and made me sign up

    by The_Unknown_User

    I was waiting for this piece and I'm glad it's up there as some deeper analysis of the movie, and I quite agree with Massa's Hero's Journey argument. Yep, that thing is, at this point, so ingrained in the psyche of all of us who absorb stories across all media that seeing it used as a literal template for the story itself rather than an off-screen shorthand that the story leans on seems terribly cliché: we're used to post-modern works that eschew the concept of heroes altogether, or bury the steps of their journey much deeper, or take it entirely as read in order to avoid writing anything resembling actual character. I'll be honest, I enjoyed Legacy. I think it's at least as good as the original (and that was always the weird thing for me, why were Disney making a sequel to a movie that nobody ever claimed to be a masterpiece aside from its aesthetic in the first place?), and unleashes Lisberger's original vision in a way that just wasn't possible back in the day (note how the lightcycle sequence quite literally goes into the third dimension: subtle, eh?). Not that I'm saying it's without problems. Two stand out in particular: 1: Sam's reunion with his father who's been MISSING FOR THE LAST 21 FUCKING YEARS. He's all like "Oh, boo-hoo, where were you for my formative years, you abandoned me, motherfucker but hey check out this hot chica in the latex fetish gear, hey, how you doin' baby?" Total tonal miss: that scene needed two more minutes and some decent writing to resolve Sam's character and motivation for the rest of the movie. 2: CLU's EVIL PLAN MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. So he's going to make himself a shitload of bad guys by taking all the good guys we haven't met and sticking them through some second-hand Nazi iconogography to make them bad and then he's going to send them all into the basement of Flynn's Arcade through the laser thingy TO. DO. FUCKING. WHAT? This is where's the movie's determination to hew to a model of computing that is 30 years out of date really cripples it. Imagine that all those programs CLU turns into bad guys are going to emerge into the Interwebs and start pwning all the WoW servers before they get into the ATMs and POS systems: that's a story that takes the original precepts of TRON, updates them, makes them relevant and also provides plenty of opportunities to make the tie-in video game super-cool. I actually hope that Disney has the cojones to make the second movie: I suspect it will be much more interesting. There's the whole Digital Jean D'Arc thing to explore in Quorra (tip: don't make it suck like the Matrix sequels), and she's the perfect conduit for getting the Grid connected to the Interwebs, once she's been out and about checking that Sam's fucking terrible dialog really doesn't do justice to a sunrise, getting her Facebook on, releasing a sex-tape on Youtube and then we can start to tackle the fundamental thing that happened during 21 FUCKING YEARS that Flynn was busy growing a beard: the democratisation of computing and its pervasiveness in our society. Where does that feed into? Well, freedom of data and a technological utopia...

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Totally agree with you Mass!

    by Machine Gun Simon Fire Viterbo

    The film is totally brilliant for what it is!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST

    koyaanisqatsi Solar Sailor was actually about 10 minutes

    by Quake II

    There wasn't 20 minutes of actual footage on the Solar Sailor. The film showed some flashback stuff as well as cutting to Rinzler tracking them and CLU talking to and eventually murdering Castor and Gem in the club. I would say the Kevin/Sam/Quorra stuff totalled about 10 minutes of actual screentime on the Sailor.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:51 p.m. CST

    bostrike1 Avatar was a blunt object

    by Quake II

    smashed into my face. The movie was entertaining but it definately was way too ham-fisted at times. The evil military with no souls who eat baby seal hearts for dinner and the peaceful N'Avi with their loving, natural ways. The evil corporation that doesn't care about life or nature etc. Cameron can still craft a very manipulative and entertaining movie that plays on emotions, but it's so obvious the way he does it. He used the winning Titanic formula again and it worked! And yeah, Avatar didn't do it for me. Tron did it for me and then some. Way better than expected. Avatar was exactly what I expected.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 3:59 p.m. CST

    YES!! Fully agree...

    by Marc W

    Loooooong time reader who is finally motivated to register for talkback--I could not agree with this article more! I was enthralled by Tron Legacy both trips to the theater, and could not understand the claims of "no story" at all! The great thing about Tron is it as deep or shallow as you want it to be--my 5 year old is obsessed with discbattles and light cycles, while I was blown a way by what was on the screen as well as the ideas bubbling beneath. Both levels were dead on for me and I love the film!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:19 p.m. CST

    @quake ii: Avatar is actually a remake of The Abyss

    by The_Unknown_User

    but without the incredible acting. Cameron had an epiphany when he shot Lindsey's resurrection scene: suddenly he realised that it's possible to create a moment that works on the cerebral and emotional levels at the same time purely by having talented people putting their hearts into a good set of words, and he's been trying to capture that particular genie and stick it back in the bottle ever since.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Clu Had NO IDEA What the REAL WORLD is Like

    by Buddha Master

    All he knew is that Flynn kept refering to it as the "Real world" and that he had some other son and business he kept leaving him and the grid for. To Clu, why wouldn't his army be enough? His motivation though out of ignorance was based solely on jealousy and his pursuit of perfection. To Clu his grand army would be more then enough.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    quake ii...see? You did it. "He snapped out of it.."

    by AnakinsDiapers

    Sorry, but that's saying, "because he's Tron". Tron was repurposed to be CLUs right hand enforcer. There is no good reason why Tron could just shake it off, otherwise there would be many, many, many of the thousands upon thousands of repurposed programs doing it. There obviously weren't, because that's too big of a plot point to ignore. But as Tron was such a bad-ass, and had the Flynns dead bang at that moment, he had to shake it off. All it would have taken to make any sense of that was a minute of confrontation between Tron and Flynn to sow that seed, but expediency was better than logic or emotional drama between the main character and the movies namesake.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:37 p.m. CST


    by Koyaanisqatsi

    OK, I had the screen time wrong. Besides that the flashbacks were showing what Kevin was actively narrating. So in essence even during those we were still on the sailor. Anyway, that's the least of my complaints.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Clearly Rinzler could have killed Quoarra and he didn't

    by Buddha Master

    I think its clear he was struggling or whatever long before he said enough (I fight for the user). I think it was demonstrated a couple times that Rinzler/Tron was no mere mindless slave to Clu.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST

    @ buddha master "To Clu, why wouldn't his army be enough? "

    by The_Unknown_User

    Enough for what? Maybe I tuned out a bit while CLU was pacing about because I was doing shot comparisons with a) Triumph of the Will, b) Attack of the Clones and c) I, Robot but despite all his strutting about and shouting I didn't manage to discern a single thing about what CLU was planning to do once he'd got out of the laser thingy (on a sidenote, I'm still pissed that Sam didn't get a proper digitization sequence with the accompanying trippy visual sequence, let alone its inverse where we could have had a wonderful sequence of Quorra becoming flesh and blood)

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST


    by MapMan

    I'm sick of dickheads here that think their own personal opinion is the right one for everyone. If you didn't like TL you are perfectly entitled to feel that way. Just don't criticize others that don't share your opinion. Apparently Massawyrm enjoyed TL so much he wrote two articles about it. What's your argument against? You're calling him pretentious? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    "And dude, since when is Tron a work of drama?"

    by CarsonDyle62

    Hate to break it to you "dude," but if it features a cast of characters reciting dialogue there's a pretty good chance it's a work of drama. A work of drama that in this case happens to fall in the sci-fi/action genre.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Who in their right mind is going to turn to Massawyrm...

    by rbatty024

    in order to unlock the "philosophical and political underpinnings" of Tron: Legacy. The man can right a decent film review about fifty percent of the time, but I don't think he's ready to delve into film criticism quite yet.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Story"telling" is the issue

    by onepunchmickey

    You miss the point Mass - the issue is in the Storytelling or lack thereof. The beauty of the original was that it was a complex story told very simply so that everyone had access to it (and its mythology) including children like myself that then imprinted the film in my film psyche. Tron Legacy takes something that on the surface is a very simple, clear, contextual and wraps it in waffle. The story was not told in a way that was accessible... it was like listening to an ad executive pitch the latest Cornflakes commercial. We get it - it's simple, so shut the fuck up and tell us that they are golden and crunchy already. Case in point - my kids are HUGE Tron fans and under 10 years old. They watch it every month. But Tron Legacy has not even come up for discussion to go see again. Their reaction - "The light cycles were really cool..." I asked them who CLU was and they had no idea. Oh... and if we are being honest - CLU's rubber mouth spoilt all hope of connecting with him as a character... but that's another 'story'.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Sorry, Rinzler was a dutifull minion...

    by AnakinsDiapers

    ...throughout the entire film. There wasn't any moments in the picture where this was questioned. First, the entire idea was for no one but the eagle-eyed to get that Rinzler was more than he appeared. The three dot Tron insignia and the fact that the only other person to wield two discs was Tron in the flashback. Second, dutifull minion doesn't mean stupid or zombie like. All of the repurposed still had the ability to process information and act accordingly. Rinzler didn't kill Sam in their first battle because he realized Sam was a user, something CLU would be interested in. Rinzler didn't kill Quorra because that ultimate act of genocide was too important and CLU would want that killing stroke.<p> I don't remember any other actions by Rinzler in the entire movie other than the fatefull face turn, that could be interpreted as questioning his allegiances.<p> Even if there were, which there weren't, that would be stupid. Tron was repurposed. He wasn't put under the voodoo nor convinced or manipulated into being bad. Tron didn't kill Mace Windu and then decide, "what the hell" i'll beome CLUs apprentice and kill children. He was programed. "I'm the goddamn Tron" isn't a good enough explaination.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST

    helveticaconspiracy- Flynn's portrayal

    by TheSecondQuest

    His portrayal in TL isn't far off from his performance in the original film- for instance, check out the scene in Flynn's apartment in the original film- he literally says "man" four times in a single minute alone.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:51 p.m. CST

    True... but it's all about the Pacing

    by Phil

    A concise summary of the film, which wrestles with some weighty issues. However, the issue with the film is not the content, or the FX, but the pacing. It was clunky and felt like a selection of chapters stuck together; rather like some of those films made from books that take excellent stories and forget that movies have to be an 'experience' rather then a retelling of a tale. With better direction, more thought of the correct way to build tension, release it, and combine action with drama, it could have been a masterpiece.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Mapman, I doubt Massa wrote this article out of "enjoyment"

    by Ringwearer9

    If you check his original review, he talks less about what he enjoyed in the film, and more about other critics who did NOT enjoy the film, and how he planned to counter their criticisms. And in that original review he said that these intellectual appreciations were occurring to him as he "got further away from the film", which I understand to mean, further away from the actual film, and his actual reaction. I don't know why he feels the need to distance himself from the actual film, from his actual reaction, and get involved with countering criticisms from other critics instead of relating his own HONEST reaction, but I expect part of it is political, the need to not alienate his big fat red headed giggling buddy who has decided to embrace TRON: Legacy in the same insistent bullying way he decided to embrace Scott Pilgrim.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST

    jimmy_009- Clu's threat

    by TheSecondQuest

    It wouldn't just be Clu and his men- by having Flynn's disc plugged into the Rectifier carrier, he was taking everything aboard with him- including the weapons and military hardware (did you think the tanks, planes and other craft aboard were just there for show? Clu could have taken his forces to the portal in a smaller craft that didn't need to carry all that if he wasn't planning on taking it with him). Now, of course, we have no precedent for how technology from The Grid converts into the real world (would it be Grid-tech, or a real-world equivalent?), but the presented threat was, essentially, that the Rectifier would suddenly pop up in the middle of LA and unleash some significant hell with advanced tech before a military response of sufficient size could be assembled.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6 p.m. CST


    by TheSecondQuest

    What happens if a user is rectified? Assuming Clu gains his foothold in LA, he might use the digitizing laser to either imprison captives and/or have them rectified in the Grid, then sent back out as additional troops? Or, perhaps even easier, he could just hook up The Grid to other computer systems (or, just jack a few Best Buys in town) and send a whole new stream of programs into the Grid to be turned into Sentinels and Black Guard upon their "export". With the time displacement between the two realms, the creation of supplemental battallions would practically be instantaneous in the real world

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Masswyrm pulled this same pretentious bull with "Scott Pilgrim"

    by Ringwearer9 Good God.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Pacing was mostly excellent until the sailor

    by TheSecondQuest

    Everything is paced very well up until the solar sailor scenes (everything in Flynn's safehouse is interspersed with either drama (the reunion of father and son), comedic scenes (the awkward dinner table), great tragedy (the ISO genocide) or bursts of action (Tron's last stand/Clu's coup)), essentially everything that leads up to the awesome End of Line Club brawl. However, the solar sailor sequence does slow the film down quickly. Now, i actually still like that sequence since there's some great father/son and Sam/Quorra moments there that really add to their characters. Everything from the Rectifier onward is golden, but there is that one stop in the middle of the film which I can understand being critical about, but it works to the story's favor (plus, it's nice to have a character scene or two while our heroes are already on their journey and have moved passed the angsty "what will do?" stuff).

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6:57 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    Seriously. Google the 12 stages. Right now. There are dozens of sites with them listed. Read the stages. You won't need the handholding. I promise. This isn't mythical sounding "I dropped a literary reference" bullshit. They used the stages as a roadmap so obviously that my 10 year old nephew could explain it to you. I'm not kidding. You of all people should enjoy having something else to piss and moan about. Go. Learn something. And stop being such a dick.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Serenity dealt w/impossibility of a utopian society

    by jaytcc

    I liked Tron (6 or 7 outta 10) interesting story, great visuals and soundtrack, solid acting....but the story wasn't told in a compelling way. Whedon dealt with the impossibility of a utopian society in his film and it wouldn't surpise me if some missed that aspect of the film. If so, maybe worth a second look.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:02 p.m. CST

    CLU is evil.

    by Robet

    A program tasked for a certain job that goes to the point of even trying to take down the USER, trying to be MORE than the user shows that CLU had malicious intent. I'll give you CLU not wrapping his mind around the ISOs and being annoyed at how they do what they want and then he has to deal with it making "perfection" take even longer but he crossed the line when he went for Flynn and wanted to venture out to the real world. No question on that.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:03 p.m. CST

    CLU is evil.

    by Robet

    A program tasked for a certain job that goes to the point of even trying to take down the USER, trying to be MORE than the user shows that CLU had malicious intent. I'll give you CLU not wrapping his mind around the ISOs and being annoyed at how they do what they want and then he has to deal with it making "perfection" take even longer but he crossed the line when he went for Flynn and wanted to venture out to the real world. No question on that.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Analyze is as much as you want

    by D o o d

    At the end of the day, the film is B.O.R.I.N.G! I mean the 3D was COMPLETELY pointless and shit. The story was whatever it was, who cares, it's Tron right..?!! No they even denied us the entire journey from being zapped and into the world of the computer. Anyone remember that scene, when we travel down the tunnel and see the world of the computer. It was amazing! and yet in this new turd we just get a cheap pixelisation done in Notepad or Word or something! CG Jeff Bridges was just a shame on Digital Domain. They should've kicked that one out of the park. Hell no, we get a cheap ass translation of him! Bad model, bad animation and bad rendering! I could go on but I can't be arsed!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:08 p.m. CST

    I actually thought CLU was kinda tragic as a character

    by D.Vader

    I really loved his heartfelt screaming to his father at the end. "I did what YOU wanted!!!"

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Kevin Flynn's 'coldness' towards Sam at first meeting

    by SifoDyasJr

    That scene bugged me the first time through, but I paid careful attention the next two times and here's what happened. Things were fine, if a bit awkward (to be expected after all that time), with the reunion up until the point where Sam mentions that he got his page from the arcade. Then Kevin pulls back and withdraws. I think he realized that CLU had just changed the game so that became the foremost thought in his mind.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:15 p.m. CST

    And aren't the best movies the ones that people are divided on?

    by SifoDyasJr

    The movies I hold dearest are the ones that people either completely love or completely hate.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Hey Guys AICN removed my post

    by D o o d

    I made a post, it showed up and now it's gone! censorship lives on!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST


    by NeonFrisbee

    Me too! I felt bad for Clu at the end. And I think Flynn does too. He realizes he made this damned, doomed creature. A child born of idealism gone hopelessly wrong. Both a weird, stuck-in-time, warped version of himself *and* his fallen son. So the Failed God / Failed Father does the only thing he can, the only mercy -- End It All. Love this movie. It really does reward repeated viewings. I won't say it's not flawed, cause it is, but it's WAY better than critics are saying, way more emotional, and way more intelligent as well.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:31 p.m. CST

    So THIS is what we're doing now? Matrix-ing it up?

    by GoodTimeBobby instead of becoming a poorly-plotted blown chance at a great scifi action film; it is now the tip of some philosophical iceberg that I am told I cannot understand because I havent bought enough of its merchandise?

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Tron Legacy

    by Winston Wijangco

    Bravo Massawyrm, Bravo. Way to show the haters.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST


    by doom master

    It wasnt all that back in '82, and it sure as hell wasn't all that back in '10. It was just a dumb Disney movie about a guy living inside an Atari video game (which was insanely popular at the time (see Pac Man fever). There is no further depth to discuss on this. And Disney trying to pull some kind of philosphical horseshit out of Tron's neon ass in this film is bullshit at its best. Rinzler=Tron=bunch of shit. Leave the lightcycles and flush the damn toilet already. Why ELSE do you think the actual arcade game is in the movie? This is Nostalga jerkoff. Just leave Tron dead. It worked as an Atari-like video game back in the early 80s...AT BEST. i put like 1 buck total on it back then and i never looked back. THATS it. No need to write a bible over it!

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Honestly, this film was amazing


    Loved everything about it, found the story, the score and the actors to be pitch perfect. Amen, Massawyrm, I too picked up on all the theological and philosophical tidbits as well, that is what made me love the film even more.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    "Textbook Joseph Campbell?" Seriously?

    by sonic3305

    If all you need to be "textbook Joseph Campbell" is to throw in nothing more than the literal bullet points of the hero's journey - and Tron literally has nothing more developed than single-sentence bullet points - then I should get into screenwriting.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Does Alan have Clu on his belt clip?

    by TheSecondQuest

    I've seen the film 3 times, and it's definitely a film that rewards repeat viewings- almost every single element of the story is setup/foreshadowed or explained ahead if time ( even if in sometimes subtle manners), or an extrapolation/homage to the original film. It's perfectly plotted/structured, so far as that goes. But, so far as I can tell, only one thing was never explained in the film and one might consider it a plothole, but it could very well be a seed for a sequel: How could Clu send a page to Alan from The Grid, if the portal was closed and The Grid is being hosted on an independent server without outside access to a telecommunications system? Because, if he could send a message through the various systems used to transmit a page... surely he could have sent a program, or even himself (or, rather a backup copy of himself), through those systems and accessed other related telecommunications systems/computers? Does Alan have a copy of Clu hanging on his belt clip, mirroring how Sam has a copy (presumably) of Flynn around his neck? Heh. So, not only "Flynn Lives!", but "Clu lives!"...

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Totally agree, neonfrisbee

    by D.Vader

    On everything you said. That father/son relationship between Flynn and CLU was what really sold it for me. It is a better film than people are giving it credit for. May not be fore veryone, but its not the shitstorm a lot of hyperbolic critics and fanboys are trying to sell it as in this "I must be extreme in my opinions to be heard and considered" climate.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 10:08 p.m. CST

    uuuuuh wow, it's just a movie...and

    by boogy110

    not a very good one at that.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:08 p.m. CST

    Maybe. But that doesn't make it entertaining.

    by cloneomat

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Freewill isn't real

    by TheJudger

    Sure we decide, but what makes us desire, and not every one desires the same things.

  • Jan. 6, 2011, 11:58 p.m. CST

    sifodyasjr totally. Flynn was genuinely surprised

    by Buddha Master

    and equally puzzled that Sam was there. How? Clu paged Alan. Oh fuck... He dreamt about a better time with Sam the night before right? ... they were hanging out fishing I think. It was years since he had a dream about Sam. Quarra said it was a sign. Alright So is there some kind of strange connection between Clu and Flynn where Clu's mere planning and making contact with Alan trigger Flynn's dream about Sam? And damn, that dream is a trip. All Pixelated and white silhouetted. That was very cool. Curious...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Some thoughts way down the thread here

    by Shubniggorath

    My biggest complaint about T:L was that they spent so much time explaining when they should have been showing, or as The Monarch would call it, "monologuing." The biggest offense being the genocide story. However, this is supposed to be covered in the animated series, so I will be looking forward to seeing what they do with it. As a kid who saw Tron in the theater 5 or 6 times back in the day, and spent many, many weeks allowance on the arcade games (Disc of Tron being my favorite), the nostalgia points really clicked for me. I was VERY surprised to check IMDb and find that Rinzler was not played by Ray Park! I guess Wu Shu is the new Karate. Lastly, @anakinsdiapers: Tron's "face turn" I love it! I smell a fellow Smark LOL

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:48 a.m. CST

    This 'reading' might impress 16-year-olds...

    by justmyluck

    ...who are impressionable enough to shell-out for a repeat viewing(s). The screenwriters seemed to crib from THE MATRIX, TRON and STAR WARS; probably in that order. CLU is MATRIX 2's 'Agent Smith' - the autonomous chief of regulation and order in the computer system - copying himself into a collective army which, like in MATRIX 3, is trying to cross-over into the physical world. So, Kevin Flynn figured out his 'copy' went out of control and Kevin is holding on to his life-worn 'identity' disc for TRON:L's MacGuffin..wooo, woooo-hooo....'Copyright vs. Open Source'...wooo...weee-ooo-hooo, you Einsteins, thanks for that one. There is a place for open source and a place for copyright - they exist and flourish rather harmoniously in the computer and business world. LINUX & pigeons and squirrels, each seeking breadcrumbs and nuts in every verdant park's 'utopia'. I have no idea why Massawyrm hooked on to a non-existent conflict for some sort of TRON:L plot conflict congruency between ENCOM/Sam, CLU/Kevin, Kevin/Sam, CLU/Sam. The 'flawed utopia' thing has been done to death in Sci-Fi, from METROPOLIS onward - it's OLD stuff. Plot/literary cribbing exists in practically all popular entertainment, but TRON:L had no 'loving winks', just an assembly of lifeless structural plot points getting Sam Flynn from irresponsible to enlightened - with a computer babe at his side. Likewise, TRON:L needed a 'Sark' and a 'Sark's carrier', so they threw in an Agent Smith-like villain with a carrier full of 'Rectified' (copied) agents trying to 'cross-over'. Why did CLU's agenda of perfection need games vs. rectification anyway...eliminating the weaker elements, while simultaneously retaining the weak as a subjected army instead of de-rezzing them? Makes no sense. TRON:L was made to incorporate CGI and electronic music, to 'sequelize' the original. If TRON:L had actual subtext, be sure more reviewers and fans would have caught on, or at least have been polarized by it. To yield any sub-text from TRON:L, you just first have to turn your brain off.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:24 a.m. CST

    Just because a film has "ideas" doesn't mean it's good.

    by Executor

    A Nobel Prize winner can write a 100 page essay full of ideas, i can set up a camera, and he can read it. Is that a film full of ideas? Yes. Is it entertaining? No. The trick to making an entertaining film is conveying your ideas in a way that is both coherent and dramatic. In the case of "Tron: Legacy", they did neither. Besides many of the films smaller problems, or even subjective ones (such as, I found the light cycle and plane battles to directed without any eye for geography.)...the main problem is that there are no dramatic stakes. I defy any of Tron's supporters to tell me either (a) what would happen if CLU got to Earth or (b) what happens now that the magical Quorra got to Earth? Without knowing what the risk or reward is, there is nothing at stake. Everything's a red herring. CLU must be stopped only because they say he must, not because he is a threat. Quorra is the future of mankind not for any reason that can be defined, but just because they say she is. So while I agree with you on some of your reading of the film's ideas, that still does not make it a dramatically effective movie or an entertaining one.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:04 a.m. CST

    Good analysis but..

    by krylite

    it's still a film poorly executed and cliched and ineptly directed. The plusses are the performances and Quorra. I read the 2 part comic "Tron: Betrayel" which showed the backstory and some of the scenes were played out in the movie. And the big plothole at the end where if they all got back to the real world they could deal with CLU, or if Flynn made it he could just keyboard and change the code like Sam was planning to do in the first place... That Flynn had to merge in a death-flash is a poor plot point that doesn't fit. I mean, I like the original movie , and I liked the idea they had this massive production. But I don't feel the urge to watch it again. It's not a classic, and it should have been.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:08 a.m. CST

    And if you look at the command shell

    by krylite

    Sam types on, you see the grid is running on a Solaris port running on an old circa 1989, 386 system! Since Flynn vanished, there were no upgrades in the real world. Sure, maybe the intelligent AI could self evolve itself, but that system had serious limits. Something the first movie did a lot better , showed the rules of the tron world. At least they used Linux commands in the real world scenes. Made it look decently authentic.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm, I love you- but you're FULL OF SHIT. The movie STUNK !!!

    by JonChambers

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:30 a.m. CST


    by JonChambers

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:39 a.m. CST

    thank you Massawyrm!

    by brightgeist

    awesome analysis! i can't wait to see it again (after BNAT, from which i remember it kind of blurry) in about 2 weeks when it finally gets here to Austria

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night and walked out

    by eleikus

    Action was boring and story was plodding. I actually went home to clean. Some of the music was good though.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:49 a.m. CST

    An Interesting Interpretation, but...

    by MakNeil

    An interesting interpretation, but I am not quite sure of it's necessity. If you look at anything long enough (with the exception of Michael Bay's Transformer films, which are remarkable because they are little more than robots and explosions with a thin veneer of plot) then you are going to find significance. The real question is: Will other people be able to access it? Perhaps, or perhaps not. None of what you saw came to my mind at all during my two viewings of the film, though not only does that not invalidate your interpretation, but it adds layers to a film that is much, much richer–both visually and depth-wise–that many give it credit for. Perhaps a third viewing...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:20 a.m. CST

    TRONs story is just a copy... of Nazi Germany.

    by dacheeze

    Although I enjoyed the movie, and I think it is thought-provoking in some of the concepts thrown around... I really do think you read way too much into it. Basically, this story boils down to this... Flynn begins with creating a "perfect system", a utopia. What does he do... he creates a carbon copy of himself, who then goes all Hitler-esque on him. We see the oppressed people in the ISOs with their arm symbols (as opposed to wearing a Judaen star), we have reference to "sympathetic programs", we have conscription of the population into brainwashed soldiers, we have genocide (nee the holocaust word). We have the big rousing speech in front of the people promising a "new world order". Some other stuff too... but basically you get the idea. The problem I have with the take on this, is that the ISOs are portrayed as "benevolent and benign" which is a very one-sided way to paint a society and it's characters. What were the rest of the programs in the system supposed to be, mud people ? This script makes the ISOs different and special because of their lineage and thereby puts them on a pedestal. They will "change the world" as Flynn puts it. How are these beings different than anyone else in the digital world ? Just because they came out of the desert? I have a problem with such a simplistic take. The "free information" idea is just to push the plot forward so that we can see that Sam is not a "corporate" like Dillinger was, and still holds the same convictions as a character his father supposedly had. "See, i'm a rebel like my father, I drive a motorcycle and i'm parasailing". In a way, Sam is no better than Clu, because he's trying to carry out the actions he thought his creator would have wanted him to do... Yet Sam could have easily taken control of his fathers company at any time... instead he shirked that responsibility because he wanted to rebel. It might be noble on the surface, but he's really just lost because he doesn't know what he wants to be. He has no self-identity, just like Clu. So he's rebelling like a child, I really dont think he cares about "electronic freedom". If he did, he would have taken control of the company and given out EncomOS for free. I dont think he had a problem cashing the checks to keep his waterfront loft... We then have the idea that "Flynn is God" and Sam basically becomes the "son of God" in this story. He rescues the ISOs from extinction. Tron himself really has no purpose in the story at all, other than pushing the plot forward by delaying Clu. Rather than dealing with the issues of self-identity and the motivations of the characters, we are pushed into a story that's as one-dimensional as the environment it's supposed to portray. I'm not saying it's not entertaining, I'm not saying that there aren't interesting concepts to mull about... but the more I look at it the more simplistic this plot really is... the actual high-concept character ideas are kinda wasted. Clu and Sam are just two copies the same bland character. Just like in the first Tron, we are too blinded by the environment to see who the characters really are. There's a lot more I could say, but I really wouldnt think too deep about Tron... I dont think the writers did.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:48 a.m. CST

    executor- Clu escaping

    by TheSecondQuest

    Well, I went into some of the possibilities already earlier in the talkback- the short of it being an air carrier full of tanks, fighter squadrons and tens-to-hundreds of thousands of soldiers appearing out of nowhere in the middle of LA could cause a lot of damage (especially with the nearly unlimited, instant reinforcements the combination of the laser, Grid, rectifying and time dilation would allow). But, regardless of the actual form his army takes, Clu pretty much spells out his intents in his speech. Doesn't take much to figure the rest out.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Re: dacheeze

    by MakNeil

    While your interpretation is an interesting one, you seem to be trying to force Tron: Legacy to fit it, which perhaps means that it doesn't. Or perhaps not as easily as you would like it to. Though I am not quite sure that you can say that it lacks depth just because you don't see it. To use an overused example (by me at any rate): I can look at Transformers all day, and while I may see some nice, shiny robot go "boom" I suspect that that little else new will be gained from such an exercise. The same cannot be said for Tron: Legacy, which numerous people here make abundantly clear.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Okay Tron Isn't for some of you. Go Re Watch The Road or something.

    by Buddha Master

    I will never understand people who hate on Tron 2 or Avatar. But fine I get it, its all subjective whatever. What I don't get is when a movie that I don't like, like Transformers 2 or Wolverine Origins, I just don't even want to really talk about it. I don't get all wound up relentlessly freak out on a board for it are flip out on people who may like them. I never even did that when the first 2 prequels came out, and I am a very passionate Star Wars fan. Some of you just sound like you are fucked up angry people who need to just breath and chill out. I am sorry for any of you that don't like Tron 2 and feel the need to relentlessly attack it. So negative. I really am sorry for you. Tron 2 was great, no matter how hard you try to convince otherwise. There are more positive ways to get yourself off then to fuck with peoples day. Good luck to you.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    And another thing... CLU is being illogical.

    by dacheeze

    I also want to dispel the idea that CLU was interpreting his programming the way he thought necessary... because the way he does it is completely illogical, contrary to what his character is supposed to be. If CLU is based on Flynn, his memories and knowledge, and decision-making abilities.. then he is acting irrationally and illogically. 1. Flynn told CLU "you will build a perfect system"... that was his prime directive. 2. Flynn saw the ISOs as "perfect" then CLU should have seen that as well, since he is a copy of Flynn. He would have seen the same "perfection" as Flynn did. Why didnt he? 3. If the ISOs were "benign" then how were they a threat to CLUs directive? If anything, CLU would have used the ISOs to help build a better "more perfect" system. If you go by the reasoning that the ISOs were an unexpected anomaly that CLU couldn't handle, that still goes against his prime directive. It also makes no sense, since he is a copy of Flynn... he would have been able to embrace change and the unexpected just as Flynn did. He would have accepted the ISOs. Without any background on the ISOs, we have no reason to think CLU actions against them were anything other than simple human-styled ambition or racism... 4. CLU did "what Flynn said to do". But then why try to kill Flynn? If Flynn is the master, and everything points to Flynn, why does CLU rebel? Because he HAS TO BE THE BAD GUY TO HATE THE ISOs. CLU and Sam are two sides of the same useless character because they go through no catharsis throughout the film. If CLU was a victim of his programming then fine... but Sam doesn't even say "I'm sorry I hated you Dad, I'm sorry I rebelled at what you built." The script makes both of Flynn's creations blind but does nothing to open their eyes to the world around them.. Flynn has to carry them though the whole thing... with everyone saying "tell me what to do next". Nobody realizes "OH THATS WHAT YOU REALLY WANTED ME TO DO? "... no, they have to be told. Even Sam's want to take over his father's business is illogical... why ? Because he met his father again? Because of the EXPERIENCE ? Because he has a girlfriend now ? If anything, Alan Bradley is the truest character in this film, Sam should have allied with Alan and ran the company... he should have respected Alan because he was there for him all that time and was noble and giving in his efforts, yet we are treated to far too little of him.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Massa's apologism is lamer than the film itself

    by psycros

    Ringwearer9 OWNED your ass, Massa, and you clearly feel the sting judging by your petulant reply. And now its like everyone in the talkback is glancing at each other uncomfortably, all wondering the same thing: what POSSIBLE motivation could you have to put your rep on the line to defend this piece of drek? Matrix: Revolutions did a better job at the virtual mindfrak than this threadbare, utterly transparent cybersnooze. The eleven year old behind me in the theater was quietly muttering, "it should have been like *this*", and his ideas WERE BETTER THAN ANYTHING IN THE MOVIE. But Massa, let's pretend just for a moment that your Campbell defense (*shudder*) actually somehow justifies the money I flushed on this disaster. Just answer one question for me...just one: How would a laser-based teleportation system create matter? From nothing? Because we know that it takes something, turns it into nothing, and then back into something. How would it turn an avatar born of the Grid into a living being? Oh, and remember that we're talking about a laser that required a large room full of support gear to function, but somehow now works just fine in a small cellar..? "But..but..that was 25 yrs ago! Its like...computers! They got smaller!" Right, right. And we also figured out to convert energy to matter during that same time, right? "But..but...TRON was never about hard science! There were motorcycles and stuff inside the computer world! You're splitting hairs!" Except that nearly all of the things on the Grid were actually created by the "creators" whose spirits had given life to their thoughts through the alchemy of the Grid. Created in their own image, if you will (that's straight from another well-known dramatic blueprint somewhat older than Joe Campbell's). We're told straight out that a NEW grid was created, a grid that clearly has no links to the outside world other than an ancient modem connection. That's presumably how CLU manages to page Alan..which is interesting, because CLU should've had no knowledge of that number or what it might represent. And no, TRON did not have Alan's pager number - if programs could dial up their users, then Dumont would be out a job pretty effing quick, dontchathink? I could go on, and on, but why bother? I suspect you've got a serious Nightingale complex regarding terrible movies that you desperately wanted to be good. You think *I* didn't want Legacy to be good? I was twelve when Tron came out. Twelve. Could there be a better age at which to be exposed to a groundbreaking cinematic epic? Yeah, that sets a pretty high bar in a young subconscious, but you know what? That doesn't excuse a damn thing about this rotten, cheap, nostalgia cash-in that Disney excreted. The threedee was horrendous - why the hell did they even bother? The virtual face thing was an abomination..children will have nightmares about that shit. Tron: Legacy was a class A failfest, and no amount of mush-mouthed, egalitarian prancing on your part or anyone else's will change that fact. Be big enough to admit it and earn back our respect.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST

    RE: me

    by dacheeze

    Macneil, I am not saying that there isn't anything to be gained from the movie or not. And what I have said was to simply draw parallel to what I believe the writers were going for. It's not that I dont see what the "movie is about" or "trying to be".. it could have just done better, and done more, in my opinion. Instead, upon additional watching and thought... I felt I was given something rather pedestrian, with flat characters. Something that could have been better. And honestly, just because you say "I dont see it".. that does not a rebuttal make. I dont believe I have to force anything to "fit into" a particular mold... If I did "force it"... show me how I did... which elements of what I said are not based on something taken from history, something we have seen before... prove me wrong. I have another post which really delves into my problem with the film's characters. That's really what irks me about this film... more than anything else. DaCheeze

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST

    TRON is obviously above some nerd's understanding

    by Jeditemple

    You haters can go suck it, because the movie was incredible. We've been dealing with your complaints since 1982, so if you hated the film, you can politely go fuck yourself. I'm sure Nacho Libre is more your speed...or maybe there's something on SyFy that you will like. Oh, and again...go fuck yourselves.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Energy to matter and vice versa....

    by AnakinsDiapers

    I don't have a problem with that concept. The scientific community has basically accepted that everything..EVERYTHING, is energy. What's an atom anyway but a particle of energy.<p> That's another thing that bothered me about the script. Why did Sam bleed in the disc battle with Rinzler? He was converted into energy and restructered into the makeup of programs. Why does he have blood? Even if users are basically Jesus allegories it doesn't make sense. Jesus was a higher being who came down to our level, which is why he was flesh and blood and could be crucified in spite of his "user powers". Sam shouldn't have blood. That was another example of expediency over logic. Rinzler needed to not kill Sam and present him to CLU. The quickest way to get there was to have Sam bleed even though it doesn't make sense.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Re: And another thing... CLU is being illogical.

    by MakNeil

    Your whole premise is off. CLU is not based on Flynn. He's Flynn's avatar, whose mission was to create the perfect system. He wasn't Flynn, which would make him a User. He's a program, and seemingly incapable of the leaps in logic that Flynn (as a human) is capable of. The aforementioned explanation answers your first and second points. The only time in the film that I recall CLU actively trying to kill Flynn was when Quorra, Flynn and Sam were escaping from his carrier (by the way, the design of the carrier was a cool nod to the design of Sark carrier in the original film). Other than that, he was trying to get Flynn's identity disk. Sam wanted to take over Encom–I believe–because his experience in The Grid showed him that his father had not abandoned him, as he prior believed, but that he was unable to get back to him, despite his efforts to do so. Since his father had–as far as Sam could tell–sacrificed himself to set him and Quorra free (which prevented the homicidal CLU from entering the "real world") it gave Sam a purpose that he lacked prior to entering The Grid. He wanted to remake Encom–and perhaps eventually the world, enter Quorra, into a place where he could continue his father's legacy. In short: One layer of Tron: Legacy is a story about fathers and sons, growth, discovery (of who they are and their place in the world–whichever world they happen to be in).

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Re: Me

    by MakNeil

    But you cannot say what the writers are going for, because you probably aren't one of them or in their heads. What you can do is to take their work, and extract from it parallels to your own experiences/knowledge. This is why you cannot definitively say Tron: Legacy was an allegory about Nazism; though you can say that that's the way YOU see it. It doesn't mean that it's wrong, but that is your theory. That's what I mean by "forcing it." You're trying to say that it fits this or that explanation, and when it doesn't your appear to hold it against the film, while no one said that the perspective you hold is indeed the one that the writers intended. That doesn't invalidate your beliefs; but they are simply your beliefs. You're entitled to your perspective, though that doesn't mean that it's right or it's what the writers of the film intended to so.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Re: Me redux

    by MakNeil

    I mean "do" instead of "so" in the last line.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Good points..

    by Axl Z

    I loved this film, amazing. Kept picking up on many of the same points you'd put above. Found Clu to be a bit Hilter on the first viewing. Does anyone know if Tr3n is likly based off the boxoffice of Legacy? Think they were going to push ahead with the cartoon either way!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Damn makneil You are a smart dude.

    by Buddha Master

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    religious references

    by niniwat are bang's a very deep and intellectual film, which much more going on than most people can wrap their head noodles around. There is also very heavy religious overtones... Kevin Flynn's character as God...the programs belief in the users which Clu is trying to extinguish from the system (destruction of religious beliefs)..which was also fairly heavy in the first film as noted in Sark's initial speech. The Grid or system representing heaven, Clu being Lucifer and resenting his creator's love of humans (ISO's), Tron being the Archangel Michael fighting for control of heaven goes on and on... This is truly a very deep, intellectual, mythological, religious and political film that works on so many levels. People that say it has no story, and that there wasn't enough action are full of it!!! All the action is happening because of the story and the characters. There is no gratuitous action thrown in just for the "wow" factor. Everything happens for a reason, which is what you want in a great film. Legacy takes the initial ideas of the first film and flushes them out fully. I had a greater understanding of the first film and it's characters after watching Legacy. I found it helped bind the two films together, making it seem like one body of work. Truly Epic!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST

    This 'reading' might impress 16-year-olds...

    by niniwat

    I think you missed the entire drive of CLU's character... like the quick speech at the beginning, where the REAL Kevin Flynn was stating that is was our destiny to venture forth into this digital realm and that he wanted everyone to eventually be able to go there. so too was Clu's logic, although opposite since he was already on the inside...once he discovered the "real" world, like Flynn, wanted to go there and bring as many with him as he could to break the bondage of the system and it's users and controls...he thought that it was his destiny, and programs, to venture into the real world and make it a free system. The 2 characters were mirror images of each other with the same logic, twisted by their environments. Like people spending time in Second life and their digital selves finding out about the real world and wanting to get out...similar to 13 Floor. And The Matrix ripped from Tron, not the other way around. check out my post on the religious references in Legacy ..will further the understanding of Clu's character and beliefs.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    RE: This 'reading' might impress 16-year-olds...

    by niniwat

    my last post was a response to JustMyLuck's post

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    All this bullshit on this talkback proves one thing...

    by vettebro

    We all care about how good T:L could have been. I loved the original, I liked the video games. I had high hopes for this movie. I was looking forward to it for YEARS. Nevertheless, it FAILED. Everyone's defense and justification proves one thing and one thing only. We are Tron fans. That still doesn't change the fact the movie was one BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. Kudos to "psycros" and "anakinsdiapers" and the majority of everyone else for truly "getting it".

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    by Walter Kovacs

    So if it looks like shit, smells like shit, and feels like shit, it's not really shit I just haven't delved deeply enough into it? That's the message I'm to take away from this? Or that If I didn't like it I'm somehow not intelligent enough or didn't "get it"? What a shameful piece of apologism.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Re: rorshirk

    by MakNeil

    Not at all. What people here have been saying is that Tron: Legacy isn't just eye candy; it has a theme and is rich enough story-wise that it can be interpreted in numerous ways. You don't like it. That's cool because it doesn't in the least detract from our enjoyment in the least. And 'shit'–in the way that you use the word–is relative because not only are there are clearly lots of people that disagree with you but you might find the same contempt directed back at you at some point.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Re: rorshirk redux

    by MakNeil

    Christ, I wish that this site had an edit button. My second 'in the least' is redundant.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Flynn's Disc Idea - Disagree

    by YerMomsBox

    The idea that Flynn goes from an advocate of free information to a intellectual property uber protectionist ala Andrew Joseph Galambos is inherantly flawed. The Disc concept flatly contradicts how ideas and knowledge actually work in the real world. "Off the grid," even if CLU did steal Flynn's disc, it would make no difference because "ideas are not like a cheesburger;" Flynn would still retain everything if CLU got his neon-clad paws on it. This is a basic, basic mistake all I.P. advocates make and if this is one of the philosophical foundations you're hanging your thesis on, then you've not convinced me in the least.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:15 p.m. CST


    by justmyluck

    Nope, can't say I missed CLU's drive - he was the typical antagonist with a misplaced sense of purpose. Also can't parse your logic of CLU wanting freedom for all by subjugating so many of the programs weaker than gameplay to rectification (army status) and sending that philosophy of order, enforcement and obedience 'Earthward'. I also read your religious interpretation, per request, and the God/Lucifer, heaven/hell dichotomy plays into almost every archetypal genre which involves creation of a world or form. This no different from Massawyrm's mention of Joseph Campbell - most mythic heroes are likewise fused by the same archetypical journey. There is nothing new there. <<"The 2 characters were mirror images of each other with the same logic, twisted by their environments.">> Do you find that interesting or unique? It's the same for almost every hero and villain in a genre film. I'll bring up THE MATRIX again, with Neo and Agent Smith as opposites who must fuse for evolution of the (computer) world. "We are all mothers of god, for god is always needing to be born" - Meister Eckhart. Yep, that's a real oldie, too. The Wachowski's cribbed from everything from Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation" to Eastern religion, then Western religion, and most noticeably Japanese anime ("Ghost in the Shell", "Akira", etc.). Even Joel Silver admitted the anime influence an as he did press for THE MATRIX (speaking for the conspicuously absent Wachowskis). The only substantial lift from TRON to THE MATRIX I would say is NEOs gateway, which is like TRON's portal from one world level to the next. beyond that, it's simply the two films partially taking place in a computer simulation with a master program which has to be defeated. THIS IS THE SAME SUBJECT AS MOST VIDEO GAMES - vintage and onward. I do (actually) appreciate your input on TRON:L, but you'll have to 'take it up a level' before I re-consider my appraisal.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:17 p.m. CST


    by justmyluck

    the quote where the '>' is didn't go through...your quoted text was: The 2 characters were mirror images of each other with the same logic, twisted by their environments. TYVM!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:07 p.m. CST

    dacheeze- Clu's view on ISOs

    by TheSecondQuest

    The film does address this- at the end Kevin even tries to explain to Clu that the reason Clu doesn't see the ISOs like Kevin does is because Kevin didn't know or understand certain things at the time he created Clu, so it wasn't something he could pass onto Clu.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:57 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    "The idea that Flynn goes from an advocate of free information to a intellectual property uber protectionist ala Andrew Joseph Galambos is inherantly flawed." Yes. Which is why I don't say that he does. As there is no clear final thesis presented on these issues, one can only assume that the films is saying "It is far more complicated than such a young, idealistic, oversimplified view as 'all information should be free'."

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9 p.m. CST

    It helps to have studied some of the field...

    by Lobanhaki2

    The story was very comprehensible to me, in part because I knew what a genetic algorithm meant, and what the isomorphic in isomorphic algorithm (the full names of the ISOs) meant. Between the days of Tron and now, there's been a lot of development in the field of AI that's changed the line of thinking on what intelligence really is, and how to create it. We used to think we could just program it straight, just discover the right algorithm. Now, we're beginning to understand a lot of the process by which humans develop and come to possess their intelligence have their own wisdom to them. When he talks about genetic algorithms, he's talking about programs that have been developed by a process of competitive code battles, with each set of code runoff against the other to create better suited varieties of code for a given purpose. This helps create very well adapted programs to complex problems without the mind-boggling necessity of having to code for every nuance of the real world. When he talks about isomorphic algorithms, he's talking about code that can preserve information within itself, that can map it's world in a way that preserves an understanding of its complexity, and manipulate that within. And when he talks about these programs not being simply his creation, but manifesting? Ah, that's the heady stuff. Read Marvin Minsky's "The Society of Mind", and Douglas Hofstadter's "Escher, Godel, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid". Trust me, if you rise to the challenge of understand that, you'll never see the world in the same way again. Couple that with what we know about complexity and information theory, and we begin to see the growth of understanding in science that our intelligence is a product not merely of inlaid programing, but of that program's interaction with the environment and with other minds. Human beings have never had to come up with thought or language simply from scratch. There's always been some sort of learning process going on, some sort of social interaction. We've been communicating, passing on what we have learned, so on and so forth. We see Children pick up languages from their surroundings with terrifying speed, and they can do it, in part, because their brain is set up to be receptive to it. We're not merely passive computers, downloading information from our senses. We're shaped into our intelligence by the world around us. So, too, it seems, the ISOs of Tron Legacy. I think Tron Legacy is as much about rigid ways of thinking versus adaptational. Right now, we're faced with a bunch of politicians and leaders who rigidly adhere to a set of policies and to a kind of politics, and though they might have the best of intentions, their unwillingness to accept that what they are after might not be attainable has put them in a position where they can do little more than try to destroy the old order. They're fresh out of creativity. What we need are people who are not beholden to a vision of perfection, but who deal with the imperfect world out there maturely, adapting to its character, rather than insisting that it always follow their rules, their ideas.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:04 p.m. CST


    by Lobanhaki2

    Your subjective impression is not a fact. The fact would be that different people have different ideas, both of what they like out of a movie, and of what they wanted out of Tron. People get very emotional about their perspectives when it comes to art, but that conviction does not create a fact in terms of what the absolute quality of a work is. There can be consensus, but there can never be just one view on any work of art.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 6:24 p.m. CST

    I hate to do this...

    by justmyluck

    There was a computer program named CLU. He was given a task: create a perfect world. CLU didn't like any other programs having free will in the system, so he started killing them off. CLU ultimately couldn't be reasoned with, as he had a singular misplaced directive. In the end, we learn that CLU wasn't all bad, but he had impossible instructions ("perfect system"). -- -- -- There was a computer called HAL. He was given a mission : get to Jupiter and seek a higher intelligence. HAL didn't like the humans thinking outside the parameters of the mission, so he started killing them off. HAL ultimately couldn't be reasoned with, as he has a misplaced sense of purpose. In the end, we learn HAL wasn't all bad, but he was programmed that way ("mission priority"). Kevin Flynn lives in a room like David Bowman ended up in at the end of 2001 : A SPACE ODYSSEY. Ding, ding ding?

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Call yourself movie geeks?

    by screenweekender

    Not a single one of you, NOT ONE has realised Tron Legacy is an elaborate Homage. Not to the original Tron, but to "Weird Science"

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Re: Me (and Me: Redux) and CLUs view

    by dacheeze

    Makneil et al... Upon tonights third viewing.. I wish to retract something... in that I said that Sam and CLU were useless characters. After I viewed it again tonight... I realized what they were... They are two children left hanging... wondering what their father wants of them. You have CLU, who was to create the "Perfect System".. not a "utopia" - both of these things are open to different interpretations, and do not necessarily mean the same thing. He was to "accomplish great things" with Flynn. He is abandoned by Flynn because Flynn saw perfection in the ISOs, and basically abandons him to persue that... CLUs "left hanging".. he thought he was to create the "perfect system" and rebels against Flynn. You then have Sam, who thought he was "on the same team" with Flynn, but who is then abandoned by his father for the "perfect world" of the grid when he seemingly disappears... Sam is "left hanging" figuratively and literally after he dives off the Encom tower and onto the light post. This has been his life since... and all he has been able to do is rebel against his fathers empire. CLU and Sam are indeed two sides of the same coin. They both are at a loss.. "Why did you abandon me? what am I supposed to do?" They are, well, CLUless, for lack of a better pun... However.. I do stand by the rest of what I have observed. CLU does create what is similar to a Nazi state and I do believe much of what was done in the script does echo that. I'm just pointing that out.. whether anyone agrees with it or not, it doesn't mean a hill of beans. As far as the "freedom of information" is concerned... I do see it in the story... I do hear it when the cab driver says "no free ride!" ... but that doesn't really mean a hill of beans either. It just sets the stage and lets you know who the good guys are. Do I think CLU was acting logically.. not at all. CLU was raging against Flynn because of Flynn's abandonment of him. It had nothing to do with his "interpretation" of what the ISOs were or were not. All he did was kill them out of spite toward Flynn. We are reminded of that when he lashes out in Flynn's apartment reminiscing at the silver apple. He is angry at Flynn. But, he is not carrying out his programming. In a way, Sam isn't carrying out his programming either... only when Quorra says "Its what he wants" does he actually realize what he is supposed to do. That's his answer, therein lies that character's pathos. CLU, unfortunately, has no answer that will satisfy him. He is quite tragic... given Flynn has to sacrifice them both to save his son. Do I think he is simply acting out his programming? Not really... as far as characterizaton is concerned, CLU is a mirror of Sam. Neither of them are thinking logically... in fact, both of them are being very irrational. I had wished I had more of an opinion of certainty upon my first two viewings... I did feel that I had "missed" something the first two times. I take back my comments of pedestrianism, insofar as these elements were concerned. I was very wrong in that regard.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Horseshit indeed ...

    by Nickytea

    This film is has an incredibly balanced story. A generation will grow up with THIS as their Myth. It speaks on vital issues of a timely nature in a way that echoes through timeless mythic structure. Resoundingly beautiful. And even your analysis here, Massa, shows only a sampling of the perspectives from which this narrative can be interpreted. The religious implications of certain character relationships in the film offer staggeringly appropriate commentary on modern religious conflict, both personal and global. (Clu was said to rid the grid of a "false diety" ... ) I think a lot of structural beauty of this movie also comes through the situationally parallel conflicts of both worlds absent of Kevin's influence. The oppression that afflicts Encom as a company is the same oppression the grid finds itself suffering from under Clu. (Aside from the obviously echoed Kevin/Clu speeches, there's a nice visual tie in with the stock market earth map and Clu's domination earth map.) Before Sam quest, with the family divided, both worlds suffer. Sam may be twenty seven, but he hasn't grown since his father left. It is only through their reconciliation, together that both worlds are allowed to flourish, and Sam to become a whole person. As an internal journey, it is the constantly questioning uncertainty that comes with the lack of a father figure ... would he be Clu? Disappointed, cold and unfeeling? Or Kevin? Accepting and proud in spite of his lack of achievement? Which version of his father's memory will he allow to run his company? The ideology corresponding with Clu that runs it now? Or the reconciled, evolved form that comes only after their experiences on the grid? Rich, rich stuff going in this movie. (Also some interesting Creationism/Evolution issues being presented, but we can talk about that later.)

  • Jan. 11, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Just as a reminder, Blade Runner got crap reviews too..

    by orcus

    ..when it first came out. It's brilliance only became apparent years after the fact. The first Tron hit it's nerd stride when it came out on video. What these movies have in common is that they were WAY ahead of the curve upon their initial release. Orcus had his second IMAX/3D viewing and senses it will really take off in the years to come

  • Jan. 11, 2011, 9:07 a.m. CST

    BTW Olivia Wilde = young Giada De Laurentiis

    by orcus

    it's that smile

  • Jan. 14, 2011, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the analysis!

    by elwinransom451

    I hated this film when I saw it on opening night, but liked it much more the second time. I agree with your analysis, but I think that the film's major shortcomings were: 1. It's inability to give a good reason why K. Flynn did nothing for so long. 2. It's inability to make more of the relationship between father and son. There is so much inherent emotional material in it. 3. Not spending enough time on the genocide or the rectification of the programs. 4. Showing us an army but not seeing them in action. I think the film would also have been stronger if Sam had killed CLU and, ergo, accidentally killed his father. It would have given the film more emotional heft. That being said, it was a GOOD film, and I hope they make a kick-ass sequel. Thank you very much for your thoughtful analysis.

  • Jan. 21, 2011, 1:27 p.m. CST


    by orcus

    1) Kevin was hunted by CLU and went into the only spot on the grid where he would not be found. That and the portal to the outside world was closed off. The only way to open it was if someone from the outside came in. There it would stay open (for 8 hours). In short, Kevin was hunted and could not get get out of the grid 2) The movie was not long enough 3) See 2 4) Clu's plan was to: a)first amass an army by re purposing programs since he lacked the ability to create them b)trick someone from the outside to open the portal, hence the phony page to Allen c)With the portal open and the army in place, invade the outside world. Since this was stopped, we could not see the army in action. Hope this helps All hail Orcus