The Gig of Ham

One geek's contributions to the series of tubes

Feb 28, 2011 - 3 minute read - movies ramblings TRON

Thoughts on TRON: Legacy

I’m going to out myself: I really liked this movie.  Yep, I’m one of those: the few and the proud.  However truth be told I didn’t like it at first. I walked in to TRON: Legacy expecting an action film, and the first twenty minutes did not disappoint.  Light cycles, light car, disc wars, recognizers, it was all there. Then it just stopped, and that’s when I became confused. It was still a visual masterpiece, but something wasn’t right. I briefly discussed it with my friends, but I had to leave for work and they were all very tired. It was about six hours, and untold stupid email questions later, that I realized: that wasn’t an action film.

The movie starts about when everyone thinks it ends: 20min after the last trailer. Everything before that was the setup, the reminder of what the TRON universe is like. Pull up your copy of the sound track and I can tell out exactly where the movie starts: about half way through “Outlands”. TRON: Legacy is a real Science Fiction film, and a damn good one.

This film isn’t about Sam’s sexual orientation, battles on the grid, nor is it about a son finding his father. It’s about C.L.U., TRON, and Kevin Flynn. It’s about what happens when you build a universe. It’s about the limitations of working with an artifcial intelligence (“You are to build the perfect system”). It’s about evolution (like what the hell happened when TRON fell in the sea of simulation and what the hell happened to Kevin after Sam and Quora ported out). On top of that it’s about loss, finding one’s self, and redemption. This is a deep movie, it really burns the processor cycles – the trick is to not just spend those cycles looking at the visuals.

Speaking of the visuals: I didn’t catch the academy awards tonight, but I really hope Digital Domain took home at least one for their epic work on this film. I saw this film at least four times, and I found something new every time. Much like it’s predecesor, TRON: Legacy is visually groundbreaking. I can’t wait to freeze frame and study it in depth when it comes out on Blu-Ray in a few weeks.

Many have said that the visuals popped, but the plot fell flat. I don’t think they were paying attention. Roger Ebert got it, but in a different way than I did. The original TRON is speculation into the future of computing by a lot of talented artists at the dawn of the computing revolution. TRON: Legacy is speculation into the future of man/machine interaction and the moral implications of the power of computing available in the near future by people who are clearly connected to that field. I appreciated this film much more than I ever would have had I not taken a course on speculative fiction last year. That part of my brain woke up after watching this film the first time, and made me really appreciate it on my second viewing.

Many people dread the words I’m about to say: Disney has green-lit a sequel. I couldn’t be more excited. I want to know what happens next. What became of TRON? What the hell do the Dillenger’s have planned this time around. What are Sam and Alan going to do? What are Sam and Quora going to do? How does the world change? What did Kevin become? Can the cast and crew make a film as good as this last one? At least I won’t have to wait another twenty years to find out.