Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Movies Technology

Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required? 429

MoldySpore writes "Stepping back from the positive and negative reviews of the new Tron sequel, Tron: Legacy (which has so far amassed over $111,000,000 world-wide), something occurred to me after seeing the movie and reading the numerous reviews. It seems many of the reviews, and perhaps the reviewers themselves, can be split into two categories: those who saw the original Tron when it came out and can put the new movie in context, and those who either watched Tron recently to prepare for the sequel or never saw it and jumped right into the new movie." Read on for the rest of MoldySpore's thoughts.

"While nostalgia plays an important role in any franchise's resurrection, technology has come so far in the 28 years since the original release of Tron, it would seem the human imagination regarding technology has become somewhat disenchanted. Back in 1982, most anyone who saw Tron (or a few years after, as it garnered 'cult classic' status) was captivated, not just by the amazing computer-generated graphics of the time, but about the possibility of a world inside a computer system, where programs walk around and interact with each other like humans, where bits and bytes are interactive things you could touch and see, and where artificial intelligence was something to be feared (in the form of the MCP) rather than embraced.

Most of my friends were born in the '80s, and the ones that saw the original Tron were much more open to the storyline of Tron: Legacy than the ones who never saw the original or who watched it only recently to prepare for watching the new movie. While they all agreed the CG and 3D was amazing, they felt the story was 'unimaginative' or 'run-of-the-mill.' Also, many people born later, such as my younger sister, who is very tech savvy herself, seemed to dismiss the plot and characters completely, instead speaking only of the quality of the graphics and the music. I believe this speaks to how the human race has grown out of its own imagination when it comes to technology since it entered the digital age. Young people can't see past the fact that there isn't a world inside the computer, that programs are just tools to be used by humans, and artificial intelligence is something discussed on a daily basis.

I'd be interested to hear what the Slashdot community's experiences and feelings have been about the new movie and its effect on the people who went and saw it. Imagination is something uniquely human and has always played an important part in our ability to look past our current limitations. With negative reviews of the new movie often referencing the 'sub-moronic script that feels like it was written by people who had never used a computer,' has some of this been lost now that digital technology is part of our daily lives? Does this signal a movement toward humans becoming indifferent to technological advances, and by association, the hindering of outside-the-box thinking when it comes to technology?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?

Comments Filter:
  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:19AM (#34682762)
    I'm in the group of people who just recently saw the first movie just yesterday, in fact. I was born the year after the original was released so was too young to get to see it early on. I also grew up with computers and scifi/fantasy and can say that I knew what Tron was going in. It was a move from the early 80's. It was groundbreaking for the time. I did feel it was a bit cheesy, but I blame that more on Disney than anything else. If you expect something amazing and epiphany-making, you're going to get let down. If you expect it for what it was at the time, you'll enjoy the hour-and-a-half you spend watching it.
    • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

      I was old enough to watch the first release of the movie in the 80's. I watched it again recently and I did not manage to watch it until the end because I was getting bored since I had watched it so many times back then.

      I enjoyed it a lot back then and, for myself, the thing that inspired me the most me was: what if our lives were part of a pretty large scale simulation ?

      The scheme has been reused in many movies and Tron probably wasn't the first one to exploit it. Let's state "The Matrix" as one of the suc

  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:22AM (#34682774)
    The reviews I've seen have tried (and failed) to cast C.L.U. as a clueless (pun intended) bad guy. But he wasn't a bad guy, he was Flynn's idealism wrapped up in a program. The movie is more about idealism and the folly of trying to attain perfection than it is about any sort of struggle between good and evil.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:23AM (#34682780) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't matter how old you are, or how you felt about the original movie. This one apparently has good graphics with a poor plot. Both reviews quoted in TFA were basically negative on the movie. Ebert thumbed his up to three by liking the visuals, but he said several times in his short piece that the movie is essentially plotless. The following quotes are all from his review:

    I'm giving this more attention than the movie does, which is just as well. Isaac Asimov would have attempted some kind of scientific speculation on how this might all be possible, but "Tron" is more action-oriented.

    "Tron: Legacy," a sequel made 28 years after the original but with the same actor, is true to the first film: It also can't be understood, but looks great.

    It may not have legs, because its appeal is too one-dimensional for an audience much beyond immediate responders. When "2001" was in theaters, there were fans who got stoned and sneaked in during the intermission for the sound-and-light trip. I hesitate to suggest that for "Tron: Legacy," but the plot won't suffer.

    None of those are positive statements with respect to the plot.

    CG is fine for avoiding expensive trips to filming locations in the remotest corners of the globe, or for rendering places that aren't there. But it's in no way a supplement to a plot. Transformers, 2012, Doom, etc., all proved that flashy visuals can turn a profit, but they can't turn suck into a movie worth watching.

    • by HJED ( 1304957 )

      I have to say I disagree with the reviewers, whilst the graphics in the movie where good I didn't think they where that spectacular. The plot however was quite good although it had a slow build up I defiantly wouldn't put it in the same category as Transformers. I haven't seen the original so I don't know whether that would have affected my view of the movie.
      It defiantly wasn't what I expected from a Disney film.

      • I defiantly wouldn't put it in the same category as Transformers.

        Whom do you defy not to put this movie in the same category as Transformers?

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @01:32AM (#34683210)

        First off, I haven't seen the original TRON in over 20+ years, and I never saw it in the theatres. But I've got a copy on VHS I taped off TV sometime in tne 80s, and I've watched it many times in the 80s on TV.

        It, like Starfighter, are mostly cult classics because us geeks saw how computer technology was going and we would flourish (and we have).

        That said, I enjoyed TRON Legacy. It's not going to be a classic like Gone With the Wind or Sound of Music, just like the original TRON wouldn't either. But it doesn't mean it's not a film a geek shouldn't watch. It's effectively a geek blockbuster - it's not going to be cared for by many in a year.

        In fact, I would classify this kind of movie as a "escapist movie" - we have classics, we have blockbusters. And we have movies that are simply a good way to spend a couple of hours but really don't do anything other than provide a distraction. It may be a bad movie, but it's entertaining. Just like I watched Transformers and Transformers 2 (also badly rated), they are great way to spend a few otherwise boring hours and get out and try to be social.

        The visuals were great, the plot trite, and the soundtrack asesome. But I don't care, because I enjoyed it completely and find it was an excellent way to spend the three hours I went out a couple of days before Christmas. I escaped the hustle and bustle of christmas shoppers and got wowed by eye-candy. What more would I want?

        (I personally hate classic movies - just like I hate all the English classes I had to take where I had to go identify hidden meanings in books and analyze every sentence. I don't care for subtext. I don't care for symbology or metaphors. I just want to enjoy the creative work that one or more people put in.)

        • Last Starfighter is a good comparison - and here's a few more: Space Camp, War Games, and the #5 Robot movie - is Dabney Coleman in all of these?
        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @09:08AM (#34685192) Homepage Journal

          Just like I watched Transformers and Transformers 2 (also badly rated), they are great way to spend a few otherwise boring hours and get out and try to be social.

          "Be social", you mean, sit in a darkened room and stare at a screen with other people, while you're not allowed to talk? I've done that, it's called "movie night at david's house", and if you can't even heckle then social it ain't... unless you're getting a blowjob at the time.

        • by plover ( 150551 ) *

          The problem (MY problem) is that I value a good story above the other elements. (The same can probably be said for anyone who enjoys Dr. Who.)

          I found Transformers utterly tedious the first time I endured it. It followed the current "kids movie" trend which is to emulate video game play with cut scene explanations. Introduce heroic kid figure leading his normal life, chase him with five minutes of special effects confusion, dump a convoluted 7 minute expository lump of plot on the audience, break into a 2

    • This.

      The first half of the movie was an homage to the original Tron, but the second half, with its silly plot, was simply a waste of time. For one thing, I'm extremely curious how the new Sark's carrier was supposed to fit through the transcoding machine. I also remember wondering, how long are these people going to sit and talk? Movies are supposed to be about showing people what happened, not telling them. The creators of Tron:Legacy forgot that.

    • I saw the original - I was staying with my Grandmother during summer vacation at the time, I think I was 14 - I never watched it again.

      From what I recall, now two lifetimes later, there wasn't really any plot in the first Tron, either. It had a sci-fi-ey premise, a couple of live action sequences clearly made to resemble practical video games of the time (especially the light-cycles), and a lot of black-lights. That's all that made a lasting impression on me. Actually, thinking about it for a minute,
  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:24AM (#34682788)

    I was in my 20's when the first Tron was released. Back then, computers were magical mysterious things. Today, your cell phone probably has more computing power than the computers used on the original Tron and amazing CGI is everywhere. Any kid with a cheap computer can do stuff that rivals the best movie effects of 30 years ago.. As a result, people aren't as impressed by fancy computer graphics as they used to be, and they notice that "hey, this story line and acting is pretty lame.

    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:40AM (#34682900)
      I think the people that saw the original Tron at the time remember it as a much better movie than it really was. You're spot on when you say the original Tron heavily relied on special effects at the expense of story. While we all decry that sort of thing as laziness and lack of imagination these days, when we think back to that original movie we think of how cool it looked to us at the time, and gloss over the bad parts (like the plot and the pacing). The only imagination required to appreciate the new Tron is the imagination it takes to believe your nostalgic view of the original is an accurate measure of the quality of the film.

      Disney tried to basically do the same thing with this movie, relying heavily on special effects. Unfortunately for them, and hopefully fortunately for the future of movie making, the movie-watching public may finally be getting to the point where cutting-edge technology is not enough to save bad movies. Maybe we'll finally get to where the big blockbuster movies actually have to have a coherent plot instead of relying purely on whiz-bang graphics. Of course, believing in such a future may take more imagination (or self-delusion) than believing either Tron movie is any good.
      • by jaymz666 ( 34050 )

        hardly. In the original a user could actually do stuff programs couldn't and was pretty dang powerful. In this new movie the user was a puss.

        That's where the story and plotting failed, and failed miserably.

        • There has got to be a snarky comment in here somewhere about the films reflecting the attitudes of the computer makers of their times regarding the amount of control users should have over their devices...

          • The new movie reflects the new reality. User's don't control the programs and you don't need a matrix to suck energy from humans. Look at Facebook and a host of Farmville-like apps and the control the apps have over users... and I thought WoW and Evercrack were bad, but they were just the tip of the iceberg as they were too complicated for the less than average user, which Facebook clearly makes up for.

            • Look at Facebook and a host of Farmville-like apps and the control the apps have over users...

              In what regard? These apps were authorized by the user at some point and the user may stop using them.

              and I thought WoW and Evercrack were bad but they were just the tip of the iceberg as they were too complicated for the less than average user, which Facebook clearly makes up for.

              Indeed. I also like the "WoW made me fat" argument. To that crowd, I know it's asking too much but how about a little personal responsibility?

      • In my opinion Johnny Mnemonic and Matrix stuck two very powerful tentpoles into the idea of cyberspace, but Matrix 1 was ahead of them by a decade, so those examples weren't around to study from. In fact, we barely had any SF to study from. I think we have a Sense of Wonder discussion going on here. Track the year carefully.

        1981 was pretty blah for home PC's.
        1982 saw Tron in Summer and a Commodore 64 for Christmas. That's a combo that wouldn't be topped for easily 5 years. Maybe not even until Windows 95 an

      • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

        I do think that for you to appreciate TRON, you have to make the mental leap that there's a digital Narnia on the other side of the wardrobe^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^laser. If you can't make the leap that there's this alternate reality / world behind something that to so many seems mundane--a computer--you'll never connect with the plot.

        I'm an electrical engineer with quite a bit of computer architecture experience. I'm also someone for whom computers have always held a fair bit wonder, despite that knowledge. I a

      • I think the people that saw the original Tron at the time remember it as a much better movie than it really was. You're spot on when you say the original Tron heavily relied on special effects at the expense of story. While we all decry that sort of thing as laziness and lack of imagination these days, when we think back to that original movie we think of how cool it looked to us at the time, and gloss over the bad parts (like the plot and the pacing). The only imagination required to appreciate the new Tron is the imagination it takes to believe your nostalgic view of the original is an accurate measure of the quality of the film.

        I've never understood why they don't just pay someone to write a good script when they make a movie. I can understand that there would sometimes be process failures when the best efforts of everyone involved yields a shitty product. I can understand when a studio comes out and says "Yeah, we're going to make a McDonalds film, loaded with titty and splosions and shit that tastes good but aren't good for you." Transformers is a formula that works. But if you're actually trying to make a good movie, why not st

    • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:58AM (#34683030) Journal

      You hit the nail on the head with the "magical mysterious" description of computers. I was 10 when Tron came out, and I had just gotten my first home computer - a TI-99/4A. This was the era in which computers finally began to make inroads to the home, and the C64, TI-99/4A and Atari 800 could be found set up and running in every Sears and KMart across America. Those that could fire up one of those computers (which all started out in the BASIC command environment) and could type "10 PRINT "DAN WAS HERE"; 20 GOTO 10 were demigods capable of working voodoo in this newfangled technological world. Everyone knew computers were the future, and that each home should probably have one, albeit for reasons they couldn't quite pin down (this might save me 10 minutes a month balancing my checkbook!).

      For those of us that did know computers, the "ENCOM" mainframe in which the Tron world unfolded was hardware of unfathomable complexity, power and scale. Our home computers were puny things, that could only do one thing at a time and were totally stand-alone. Who knew what could happen in hardware of that magnitude! The sky's the limit! Of course now we all know that the only difference between a C64 and the most powerful supercomputer in the world is how fast it can calculate, and the convenience of accessing memory (swapping out billions of 5.25" discs by hand over the course of billions of years of computing doesn't sound very fun). The whole "Turing complete" deal sort of takes away the magic attributed to raw scale and complexity of computing devices.

      But my point in running my mouth endlessly is to say that when Tron came out, computing was a new frontier, and all it took was to throw in a few "factually correct" constructs (like the Bit, for example) to totally reel kids like me in hook line and sinker. Just like Star Wars, which elicited awe and astonishment in those of us that saw visuals on the big screen the likes of which had never been seen before, it was a movie with irreproducible impact and significance grounded firmly in the very era of which it was a product. The "story" Tron would never be written in today's world - it is simply too naive, metaphorical and anthropomorphic for today's highly advanced technological world.

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        Or it could have been The Matrix. When I heard that they were going to make a Tron sequel, my first thought was that the inside of the computer was supposed to represent how the graphics of the day looked. Since today we have photo realistic graphics, everything would have too look real. Thus, good or bad, The Matrix.
    • As a result, people aren't as impressed by fancy computer graphics as they used to be, and they notice that "hey, this story line and acting is pretty lame.

      I've seen lots of bad movies and panned them on IMDB only to be rebuffed by people that think it was "The BEST movies Ever!!!11!!!". Current example, Skyline, which is one giant CGI fest with zero plot, bad acting, and cardboard characters. I think too many movies these days are relying on the F/X instead of the story.

      Also, I saw Tron when it first ca

  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:27AM (#34682820)

    No, not enough imagination used.

    • by jorenko ( 238937 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:38AM (#34682886)

      More specifically, my main issue with the OP's point is that the movie's anthropomorphization of the computer's inner workings is too obviously inaccurate -- anyone who knows anything about computers can easily see that it's just a thin sheen of technobabble hastily thrown on top of a standard action movie. Props to the guy they got to do the UNIX commands in the real life scenes, but other than that, the tech stuff was so out of this world that it left none of what good sci-fi needs to engage the viewer -- that thin line of plausibility and the possibility that our world could really become like the one in the movie one day.

      • More specifically, my main issue with the OP's point is that the movie's anthropomorphization of the computer's inner workings is too obviously inaccurate

        Spare us an accurate movie about the inner workings of a computer.

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @01:37AM (#34683242) Homepage

          Spare us an accurate movie about the inner workings of a computer.

          I'd settle for a plausible one. Watching T:L's special effects, I couldn't help thinking: Why are there dust/debris cyclones being kicked up by the Recognizer's landing rockets, inside a computer/software world? Why does the Recognizer need landing rockets in the first place? Why do those rockets sound like they are burning chemical fuel? Why would a software construct need to burn simulated fossil fuels in the first place? Why have light cycles regressed over the last 25 years, so that they can no longer do instant 90-degree-angle turns, but instead have to turn gradually like motorcycles in the real world? Etc.

          The whole point (I would think) of creating a simulated world inside a computer is to do things that can't be done in the real world. So why spend so much time and energy limiting the simulated world to be just like the real one, except with blacklight decor?

          • by CFTM ( 513264 )

            I wonder if there are legal message boards that go crazy when a legal movie comes out and nitpick every little technical detail about how the law operates...

            It's a movie.

            Hollywood never portrays anything like it really is, it's always glamorized in one way or another. Get over it, or stop going to see their productions.

            • I don't know if there are; but I do know my wife (an attorney) absolutely refuses to watch movies featuring scenes with attorneys because the inaccuracies drive her up the wall.

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
              There's willing suspension of disbelief, but it only goes so far. And that line is cultural. Tree running (and much of the overt wire-work), a-la Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is laughed at in the US. But the sit-com where the fat slob idiot is married to the hot chick who puts up with his idiocy (starting with Archie Bunker, but Edith was definitely not hot, Married with Children, King of Queens, and many many more) would be ignored by the Chinese (at least based on what I've seen for the equivalent the
      • ... anyone who knows anything about computers can easily see that it's just a thin sheen of technobabble hastily thrown on top of a standard action movie. Props to the guy they got to do the UNIX commands in the real life scenes, but other than that, the tech stuff was so out of this world ...

        That gets to the heart of the difference between Legacy and Tron, and I'm surprised I haven't seen that comment made more widely. Tron's world-inside-the-computer was visually cool, but it also allowed those in the know to geek out a little over how they rendered real computer concepts. Tron had --

        • programmes as characters (of course);
        • a bit as a minor character (Disnification, sure, but it's true to the core conceit);
        • the MCP assimilating other programmes' functions;
        • a "game grid" that actually related isomor
      • Plus, people have developed the world-inside-a-computer theme in fiction so much since those days. Cyrstal Nights [] by Greg Egan comes to mind as a story that could totally blow people's minds on the big screen.
  • Ok, yeah, I was born in the 80s and didn't see the movie in the theaters, but I saw the movie originally at a young enough age to have a lot of that same sense of nostalgia. Make of that what you will. It's just full disclosure.

    The plot did suck, but not because it had a script that felt like "it was written by people who had never used a computer". Clearly anyone who is familiar with the Tron universe knows that Legacy fit in fine. It sucked because it was cliche, it sucked because it was predictable, it s

    • I was born in the 60s and I don't see many films at the cinema these days. Its too hard to find the time. I can enjoy a movie with a good plot at home. At the cinema I can appreciate movies which are just fun to watch. I went out to see both Avatar and Tron Legacy, and had a good time, despite their limitations.

    • by Nilatir ( 179045 )

      Kevin Flynn is The Dude...

      From Tron:

      ---*Because*, man, *somewhere* in one of these memories is the *evidence*! If I got in far enough, I could reconstruct it.

      ---Paranoids, Matrix Blaster, Vice Squad, a whole slew of them. I was this close to starting my own little enterprise, man. But enter another software engineer. Not so young, not so bright, but very very sneaky. Ed Dillinger. So one night, our boy Flynn, he goes to his terminal, tries to read up his file. I get nothing on there, it's a big blank. Okay,

      • Yes, Kevin Flynn IS The Dude. I was very happy that they kept his characters personality intact with his little "that was radical!" asides amid his more monk-ish, zen outlook thing. (he says at one point "You're really messing with my Zen thing, man" or something to that effect. I loved that. Like he had changed but underneath it all was still the younger version of himself, with all the 80's slang talk still intact).
  • I've never seen the original as I was to young when it came out, but I quite enjoyed the new one. It was defiantly one of my favourite releases this year. The friends I watched it with also enjoyed it a lot and had similar opinions. Then again I do watch a lot of SciFi.

    I also felt that as movies go it was reasonably realistic (apart from programs being able to exit the computer), although not possible with our current level of technology. I disagree with the OP I think people still have a lot of imaginatio

  • In 1982, would most who saw Tron (or a few years after, as it garnered 'cult classic' status) been watching with a friend/parent/loved one who could draw them into the tech 'magic' of computers.
    Todays well educated young people might respond to the movie as the 1980's people would to a toaster doco or car movie ie. known tech
    Thats the problem with remakes, people start to feel a few basic scripts are been rewarmed a few to many times by people with the skills and cash to create.
    As for AI, the real questi
  • by microcars ( 708223 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:42AM (#34682914) Homepage
    - the original Tron, on XMAS eve as a family.

    That would be me, my wife, her son and daughter in law and their 3 teenage boys (the grandkids)

    I think we had the entire spectrum of possible viewers there that night.
    I saw the film when it came out in 1982 and remember how great it was in the context of the day.
    My wife saw it but doesn't remember much because she was too busy being a Mom and dealing with her 8 year old SON who she had apparently taken to the theater to see TRON.
    She spend most of the movie saying "I don't understand what is going on, which one is Tron? They all look alike, I don't remember any of this".
    Her son (now 36) sat silently and did not comment. I'm pretty sure he lapped it up but did not want to admit it to his kids.

    And while the movie is on I am trying to explain the context of the original to the 3 boys who see an arcade filled with video games and think WTF is up with that?
    They paid attention and just dealt with it.
    As soon as it was done, the youngest went outside and made a snowman while the other 2 made a few comments about how dull the story was.
    That and a discussion ensued about "Why do movies always make the future look like flat grids and cubes and things?" Which then became a discussion of vector graphics which then bored the hell out of them.

    Then my wife and I took the 3 grandkids to Tron: Legacy in 3D yesterday.
    I personally thought the story was better and that it was not really necessary to have seen the original, my wife agreed but then she will forget what Tron:Legacy was about in a month or so anyways.

    However, she was obsessed with how they got Jeff Bridges to look old and young in the same film.
    The 3 teenage boys had a great time with the new film and during the *very* short discussion that followed before they began to wrestle they decided that they liked seeing the original before the new one.
    This was a surprise for me.
    One of them pointed out to the others "Hey remember how dated the original looked and it was only 27 years old? How do you think this film is going to look to us in 27 years?" This then started a discussion about the future and technology that stopped as soon as they got home and started a snowball fight.

    • It makes you wonder, doesn't it, why snowball fights never go out of fashion? I mean, they've probably been going on for thousands of years, and haven't changed a bit in all that time. If Tron looks dated after just 27 years, then snowball fights ought to seem downright prehistoric. Surely they need a bit of modern technology to bring them up to date?
    • by tobiah ( 308208 )

      Pfft. My great^22 gradkids went out mastodon-tipping after the film

  • The original Tron was pretty poor *as a movie*, but nevertheless I enjoyed it, and continue to enjoy it today. What it really came down to, though, was that the movie was *extremely* metaphorical, and that those metaphors made sense in the context of computing at the time. (And in fact those metaphors hold up today, which is what makes the movie so much fun to watch today.)

    The new Tron: Legacy didn't actually try to play with metaphors. It used the old ones from time to time, and it threw in some Unix an

    • I guess that means that Tron: Legacy is about the GNU Public License.
      If so, then yes, that means that Clu represents Richard Stallman.

      But Clu spent the whole film trying to kill Sam Flynn, who is the only character who actually promotes something like free software.

      Come to think about it Sam seems a bit like the young Steve Jobs. He is orphaned, a bit of a smart arse, rich....

      Perhaps in Tron 3 he turns the occupants of the grid into slaves to drive his domination of the market for laptops and phones.

      • by MsGeek ( 162936 )

        Actually that would be quite cool...Sam Flynn takes over Encom, and he eventually thinks his crap don't stink. And furthermore he has millions of fanboys exquisitely sensitive to his Reality Distortion Field.

        The Tron sequel idea I had would have had Kevin Flynn basically becoming a Bill Gates-esque zillionaire with a Jobsian fanboy following. He eventually rewrites and unleashes the MCP on the Internet cloud because he craves complete ownage. However, there is a young Eastern European hacker kid who steps u

  • I noticed the split as well, but had put it down to movie critics vs. the folks who actually go to see movies because they want to enjoy them. You might have put your finger on the real cause of the split, though.

    This is a film people either love or hate. Personally, I think that just about everyone involved is really just now getting their feet under them is also a factor. It wouldn't surprise me to see an even/odd factor similar to the one in the Star Trek movies take form.

  • I don't think people get it. Even when the original Tron came out, nobody really believed that there was actually a world inside a computer. I was 10 at the time and even at that age it was obvious the concept was pure fantasy. What it did inspire in me at the time was the possibility of the computer as a creative medium, expressed not only in the cgi animation but in the analogy of the programmer as a creator of a world. I credit the movie with inspiring me to pursue a career in computer science, by showin
  • Some people don't get that Tron is a classic fantasy story, set in a technical setting. It's not a science fiction film trying to create some realist believable technology. People don't question "The Force" or Hobbits, but the do question "User Power" and Isos. As soon as you find yourself asking "Why does Flynn age?" or "Why does Flynn eat?" you've already decided that you were not going to watch the film for it's storyline, but instead for some preconceived idea about the technology is should portray.
  • Probably is too little imagination what is needed to enjoy that movie. You start with a virtual world, your body gets digitized and gets into it and... well, somewhat, you get old (ok, you as user, your avatar keeps being of the same age), you need to eat and drink (and if well the water looks like something of that world, the food shown definately belong to this one) and sleep, even and specially when time matters.

    For me the movie was a wasted opportunity. They had the chance to do an epic movie, somethi

  • Suspension of disbelief is much easier when you are young, impressionable, and don't totally understand computers. That said, if you're going to have an unrealistic plot, better not to skirt the boundaries of realism too much. Both Tron movies work better than garbage like The Net precisely because they abandon all pretense of being realistic and base it on supremely fantastical notions. For this reason an "old" guy like me (35) was able to enjoy Tron Legacy's premise and characters. But although the plot s
  • Lacking in heart (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @01:15AM (#34683112) Homepage

    On the scale of 0 through 10, I'd give this movie a 10 for visuals, a 10 for music and sound effects, a 10 on costumes, a 4.5 on story and about a 3 on heart.

    Those of us with some love for the original movie are somewhat more inclined to let the lack of heart slide, or to view it through nostalgia-tinted eyes and not think about it too much.

    One of the basic problems is that I didn't like most of the main characters. I found it hard to empathize with Sam Flynn; he was incredibly privileged yet pointlessly emo. (By the end of the movie, he has set aside his emo-ness but I'm not sure quite why, probably because I don't understand why he was so emo to start with.) Kevin Flynn was more of the actual protagonist than Sam, but he spent much of the movie doing nothing and saying that doing nothing was the right thing to do; and the scene where he is reunited with his son didn't have the emotional impact it deserved. (From Kevin Flynn's point of view, he hadn't seen his son in centuries at least, centuries where it must have eaten at him to wonder what was happening in the real world.) CLU was an unsatisfying villain, especially if you compare him to Sark and MCP from the original. The only character I actually liked was Quorra.

    It would have helped if we could have seen more emotion. Did Sam believe his father had run away and abandoned him? That would explain the emo, but we didn't get a scene that suggested it. Did Kevin feel hatred for CLU, for the horrible things CLU had done? Did he feel anguish, that something he created had gone so far wrong? He talked about the situation like some sort of chess game: "Any move we make helps him win" or something like that.

    Despite the flaws, I'm glad I saw it, and I actually hope they will make another one right away. I wish they would get a really good script for the next one, one with a bit more heart. All this needed was a better script and it could have been a great movie instead of just a good one.

    P.S. As a geek, I care about continuity, and there were egregious continuity breaks with the original. Programs in the original just wanted to drink some electricity, but now they have actual food and drink. In the original, Kevin Flynn had powers because he was a user; in this movie, Sam Flynn didn't seem to have any user powers, and Kevin Flynn had rather limited powers for someone who had had centuries to refine them. (I wanted to see the two of them fighting together like a pair of Jedi.) Did I want to see bits? *+YES+* Did the movie have any? *-NO-* And it would have been great to see Cindy Morgan in at least a cameo. (I wish the plot line had said that Sam had been adopted by Alan and Lora after Kevin disappeared!)

    The costumes look totally different, but I don't count that as a continuity violation; it was UNIX now instead of an IBM mainframe, so of course all the programs were cooler-looking.

    P.P.S. There were some cool plot ideas in the TRON 2.0 video game, and I would like to see those ideas used in future movies. What if shadowy government agencies got the TRON laser technology, and started sending agents into the Internet to spy on computers, sabotage systems, or even assassinate people? What if data errors during the laser digitizing process caused people to go insane or even become mutant-looking monsters in the computer world? How about a scene where someone (say, Alan) is in grave danger in the real world and Sam has to protect him from the computer world, by hacking?


    • by CyberZen ( 97536 )

      Kevin didn't have limited powers; he intentionally didn't use them as part of his "do nothing" strategy.

      (At least, I think. I wish they had played this up a bit more. The scene where he came into the bar to save Sam and everything went all blue and all hell broke loose - that was a little taste of it, I think. I mean, he destroyed CLU with just a thought.)

      (Also, did anyone else think the Zuse character was more well-done when it was the Merovingian from Matrix: Reloaded?)

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @01:23AM (#34683158)
    Tron is no more Scifi than Starwars was. Just because there's space or computers involved in the plot does not make it Scifi. I'm not saying either were bad movies, but really, if every single aspect of the movie is scientifically impossible it's FANTASY not science fiction.
    Look at this garbage:
    WALL-E is Scifi?
    The Thing?
    Back to the Future?
    The Iron giant?

    The fact of the matter is, most people don't know enough about science to know this stuff isn't possible. But today most people DO know enough about computers to know that Tron isn't possible. Now if we could figure out how to make relativity required for facebook updates we might get somewhere.
    • by vikstar ( 615372 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @06:56AM (#34684644) Journal

      This stuff is scifi, your definition of scifi is actually what most people call hard scifi.

    • by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @08:25AM (#34685002)
      science fiction
      A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.

      Science fiction is FANTASY -- by definition! Your statement : "if every single aspect of the movie is scientifically impossible it's FANTASY not science fiction." has no merit for the examples you listed.

      Starwars -- space travel, life on other planets, robots with sophisticated AI (all science fiction)
      WALL-E -- robots with sophisticated AI, life aboard a space ship, ecological disaster due to human pollution (ditto)
      The Thing -- intelligent alien life (ditto)
      Back to the Future -- time travel with paradoxes, ripple effects, etc., hoverboards, flying cars, fusion powered vehicles, etc. etc.
      The Iron Giant -- giant alien robot

      If this were the 1800's, you'd probably complain the works of Jules Verne weren't sci-fi either.
  • This is the only question that is meaningful.
  • Funny, I see it the other way around. I was a big fan of the original Tron since I was a little kid, and even today I could appreciate the plot that entangled religion and politics in the little details. This is where Tron Legacy let me down: it was a cheesy Hollywood hack-job of a plot, about an absent father and his confused son. It was unconvincing on its own, but more importantly it completely dismissed the almost-cohesive fantasy world of the original film, where the users were seen as mythical god-

  • I think the only part that I got interested in was Quorra becoming human. They could make a WHOLE movie about that, did you know? What does it mean to be human? Why is pain so awful? What are these things called emotions? Et cetera.

    I expected to see more stuff about "the user has superpowers" that Flynn displayed in the original TRON (after all, he's the USER). But I guess they chickened out from being compared to Matrix just because the user can do things that programs can't.

    Anyway, the 3D was awesome and

    • I think the only part that I got interested in was Quorra becoming human. They could make a WHOLE movie about that, did you know? What does it mean to be human?

      Yeah if that had turned out to be the whole point of the movie and Quorra had sent the page to get the portal opened, it would have been All Tomorrow's Parties []. And not bad too. She could turn out to more of a superhuman baddie in a subsequent film.

  • I thought the movie was good enough. Of course, I grew up with Tron on VHS in the 80s and watched it many, many times (nearly as many as Star Wars). I'm sure that has me biased, but I still thought it was good enough.


    The whole Isos concept was lame - like a digital evolution or some garbage nonsense. Suspension of disbelief is a skill required for most movies, and this one is no different.

  • But I am already confusing it with Lawnmower Man.

    I guess I need to see it to disambiguate them.
  • I saw Tron in the theater when it came out. I was really looking forward to it. It had a gotten a lot of tech coverage, including a fairly detailed account (in Byte, IIRC) about the mainframe rendering in New York with data streams being fed back to LA. At the time, it was an enormous amount of data to be moving around.

    Anyway, I wasn't disappointed by the rendering, but the storyline was stupid. I went with a friend, and we laughed through large portions of it because it was so incredibly ridiculous. I was

  • Now that Tron: Legacy has made kaboodles of money, will it be long before we see a remake of Automan [] on TV?
  • The idea of humans going into a machine no longer new, but I thought it would have been more interesting to have programs come out into the new world, opening up the possibilities of taking human evolution into a next stage. The fact that the ISO made it out was a starting point, but if that's an intro to the sequel, then this installment was a waste of money.
  • Tron: Betrayal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brian Kendig ( 1959 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @10:21AM (#34685722) Homepage

    There's a graphic novel titled "Tron: Betrayal" that helps bridge the gap between the two films. I read it before I saw Tron Legacy; I think it helped me enjoy the movie a lot more.

    The graphic novel goes into more depth about Flynn being split between his responsibilities in the real world and in the computer world, his creation of Clu to help him achieve a perfect society in the computer world, and Clu's frustration at Flynn's increasing absence. Eventually Clu decides to take a more active role in realizing the perfection he believes Flynn wants. This makes him more of a sympathetic villain; instead of just being a generic "bad guy", he is genuinely trying to do what he sees as right and he resents Flynn for having a problem with it.

    The graphic novel also goes into more of an explanation of the "Isos". In the novel they're interesting; I felt disappointed that the movie does away with them quickly and plays the whole "last of your kind" card.

    Ten bucks from Amazon:

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault