Thoughts on Tron and Tron Legacy

Some friends and I wanted to watch the original Tron a few weeks ago in preparation for Tron Legacy. We went to our local Best Buy to pick up the special blue ray edition… that didn’t exist. We looked for some sort of display with gobs and gobs of Tron DVDs… which were curiously absent. We left dejected and confused. Why would Disney keep such a movie under wraps in light of Tron Legacy coming out so soon? Don’t they want to build up some hype around the sequel? Why destroy the time-honored tradition of watching the first movie at home before going to the opening night of its sequel?

A few days later I got my response. Watching the first Tron with my roommate left me a bit… underwhelmed. The story was spotty, characters were boring and the visuals… well in 1982 they looked quite neat (though hardly comparable to Bladerunner which came out the same year).  They haven’t aged very well. Neat concepts in a boring package.

But enough nostalgia and on to the newest addition to the Tron universe. Tron Legacy has a better story (though spotty towards the end) better characters (“You’re really messing with my Zen man!”) and splendid visuals! Oh yes and the crowning achievement (in my book)…the music by Daft Punk! I just bought the sound track, highly addictive! Daft Punk’s techno music blends well with the orchestral arrangements of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.  You really must give it a try!

Back to the movie… my jaw was literally open most of the time. I really can’t explain it any better than that. Sure the story had its flaws (Why did the heroine just run out there to be caught towards the end?) but it was still good enough to carry you through to the end.

It reminded me of the old days of sci-fi where deep underlining themes drive the characters to do what they do (The Black Hole, Rollerball, and Forbidden Planet anyone?).  In this case the definition of perfection was explored by two versions of Jeff Bridges, the real human version and the sadistic computer generated one.  I wish these questions could have been explored further… perhaps this is one of the reasons the movie hasn’t done too well.  The story had too many angles with it.  The question of perfection could have unified it.

Seriously awesome visuals and head pumping music make this movie a must see… unless you are like my father.  I didn’t give him thumbs up to see it, too many plot holes for him to enjoy.

The first Tron should only be seen by for those devoted to the ideas and concepts behind the Grid.

What I’d like to see in another Tron movie… perhaps a little more of Tron himself! He was there in the background but had surprisingly limited lines for a movie that banked on his name. More fighting with the light cycles please: the best part of the movie by far. And bring back those tanks! A few cameos of the Battlezone influenced tanks are hardly enough to wet my whistle.

More user driven powers in the movie would be nice as well (like jumping from building to building in the Matrix). Include manifestations of a virus of some sort (they did do this in the game Tron Evolution).  But most of all… clean up the story!

I foresee a third Tron movie that takes place half in the real world and half in Grid. More users are able to enter it as the Grid goes online. There could be some interesting dynamics with the meeting of users and programs. Perhaps portions of the Grid could enter our world and vice versa. Maybe it could be set more in the future with our world looking more and more like the Grid.

Whatever it will be, keep: Daft Punk employed for the soundtrack, the look and feel of the Grid, and Jeff Bridges.

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