TRON: Legacy - Review and Grading

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Neroon, Dec 16, 2010.


Your rating on "TRON: Legacy" ?

  1. Excellent! It should be permanently installed!

    63 vote(s)
  2. Good - could use an upgrade or two but overall stable and inventive

    89 vote(s)
  3. Average - Hold its oen with Tron 1982.

    29 vote(s)
  4. Poor - nice to look at but I then it abends all over the place

    12 vote(s)
  5. Should be immediately de-resed!!!

    2 vote(s)
  1. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    I just got back from it and I really enjoyed it. Given the very mixed critical reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect. But this once again proves the critics aren't always right. Legacy is much better than the original Tron although it didn't have to do much to accomplish that. Much better story and stronger character as well.

    -The world of the grid is awesome and is brought to life with today's CGI. Just exploring it was worth the money.

    -The games, particulary Sam's initial duel are fantastically done. CGI has enhanced the action.

    -Absolutely loved the soundtrack. Had a total 80s vibe to it and fit in well today.

    -De-agining might become the wave of the future in movies. The work done on Jeff Bridges was nothing short of incredible. It's not 100%, you can still see it's a little off. But it's a giant leap forward and it totally works for the movie. Very good work done by Bridges in both roles.

    -Recognized a few familiar faces. He has no lines and is in like two shots but Donnelly "Doc Cottle" Rhodes can be seen as Sam's grandfather. Also, Jeffrey Nording, the guy who played Larry Moss on Season 7 of 24, is in it briefly as the Encom CEO.

    -Seeing the backstory was pretty cool. I also read the Tron Betrayel comic. It was very good and I would recommend it to anyone who has seen the film or is going to see the film. It really gives a lot of background into what is going on.

    -Olivia Wilde is lovely and her character is a lot of fun.

    It did have some flaws though...

    -Garrett Hedlund is passable but the character is relatively dull and one-note. Either a better actor or script would have fixed that role.

    -The movie hits a slow stretch towards the end. The running time could have been trimmed a little.

    -I saw it in 3D and I have to say I was unimpressed with those elements. It wasn't like Avatar, where you felt immersed in the film. It just wasn't that good and the 3D trailers they showed before the film were more convincing. Did they really shoot those scenes in 3D or did they just convert them at a later date.

    Complaints aside, I really enjoyed this film. It's fun and a blast from the past.

    EDIT: I agree with you, God Magnus that that action scene towards the end should have been shown on-screen.
  2. God Magnus

    God Magnus Commodore Commodore

    Jul 10, 2001
    A world where criminals operate above the law...
    Yeah, and they still could have showed the "other" part of the scene in the same sequence by cutting back and forth. For me this was one of the weakest parts of the film, but it's still overall super fun.
  3. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    Speaking of that boardroom scene...

    Cillian Murphy appears in an uncredited role as Edward Dillenger, apparently the son of the villain from the first TRON. I thought he looked familiar. I would guess if there's a sequel he will be the new villain.
  4. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    May 27, 2004
    United States
    For those who have seen it, a sorta kinda spoilery note about Encom's future in a possible Tron 3, from the extended universe of the comic and the various games, and the AR games, all of which are canon.

    (Trivia note: Disney contracted Starlight Runner, a whimsically named firm that handles organizing fictional license materials, to work out a full timeline for the Tron universe and keep the various storylines generally in synch.)

    Basically, at the time Sam is called to the Grid, Alan Bradley has been shamed and demoted to a in-name-only position in Encom. But his life's work is still going on - that is, in point of fact, the Tron program. Alan has been working on, from his perspective as a user, an entire Tron network that is meant to be the ultimate firewall protection and anti-virus solution for the entire internet. It seems as if this new version of Tron is designed to go out into the Internet itself and hunt down viruses and malicious code, and shut down hackers. Encom is on the eve of rolling this out, to secure their place as the world's most profitable computer company.

    Naturally, speculation among fans is that Tron 3, if its made, will be about this version of Tron perhaps traveling around to different systems and networks. Also, it is presumed that Cillian Murphy would return as the new villain, to carry on Dillinger's/Daddy's work.
  5. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Jun 20, 2001
    More points...

    - About Cillian Murphy... I thought that was him, but couldn't confirm it until I got home. And yeah, I read about his possible involvement in a third Tron movie as well.

    - The story is growing on me a little more and I like the characters.

    - I agree that it would have been nice to see Tron with his helmet off. I was waiting for that to happen as well. At least we did get to see Bruce in the part earlier though, even if it was brief.

    - The more I think about Olivia Wilde's character Quorra, the more I like her. She has that badass/skilled fighter quality, but at the same time has a certain innocence. They gave her just the right amount of each.

    - Sam Flynn isn't too cocky, which is refreshing for a young heroic lead of his sort.

    Spoilers ahead...

    The whole idea of a real flesh and blood person being disintegrated by a laser, put into a computer program, then reconstituted as flesh and blood back in the real world seems a bit much already, not to mention dangerous. Now even in that context, how could a "digital person" like Quorra make it into the real world? I figured that she at least had DNA, so that made it easier to become a real person. The real question is how could the same thing happen to a program like Clu? Unlike ISOs, programs are just programs, aren't they?
  6. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    May 27, 2004
    United States
    Ah yes. This is a very good and interesting point. It is perhaps one concept that could have had more dialog time in the film, yet would have been complex to explain from the various books and such for Legacy.

    Okay, if I have it right, this is the deal:

    When Flynn created the Grid, he wanted to make a more "real" reality for two reasons. First, so that hypothetical technology designed in the Grid could be exported back to the real world in some form, making engineering research in the Grid payoff in the real. So the laws of physics in the Grid had to simulate reality much more.

    Second, Flynn had his eye on making these portals to the electronic world a whole new universe for people to explore, and he was shrewed enough to realize the average person would not take well psychologically to turning into a cyborg-esque being with circuits in their bodies. So, he designed humanoid avatar code for the Grid to simulate human bodies in greater detail. Using himself as the first template - remember he cloned Clu from a scan of himself - Flynn created "digital dna" that extrapolated itself into a set of genetic instructions, so that avatars of any other Users who entered the Grid would simulate real bodies in full detail. As a consequence of this system, the Programs in the Grid enjoy a full simulation of human bodies, though they still "live" on energy and thus interact with energy conduit materials in their clothing.

    The upshot of this sci-fi technobabble is that we might assume the Digitizer can manufacture a human body for a Program based on the set of dna code assigned to simulating that Program's body in the Grid.

    Of course, the wild sci-fi part of all this is the idea of a "laser" converting matter to energy and vis versa, not to mention the late 80's computer in Flynn's arcade running simulations of stuff like human DNA. However, if you're willing to put on your sci-fi goggles and go the distance, there's actually an answer even to this.

    Again, if I have my stuff right, the Handwavium they've put out so that folks can enjoy a "plausible" explanation for it all, is that the computers in Tron's universe are technically not what is containing the reality of the Electronic World. The EW is actually a subspace dimension that is affected by electromagnetic waves. Before humans came along, subspace was just random noise and some pulsing phenomenon. It does, however, react to human brain inpulses a little, and the structured, ordered electric and magnetic impulses of technology, a lot.

    So. What computers have done, is to imprint a structure and begin organizing a reality to this electromagnetic subspace, and the ghostly imprint of human minds may explain users imprinting a bit of their "soul" into a program when they create it. (By focusing on the bit of electronic space that they're working with.) In this sense, what Flynn has discovered is that the digitizing "laser" or whatever it is, is a bit of a Mad Science one-off freak discovery that creates a portal to this other dimension. In building the Grid, he also was able to manipulate the shape of his "instance" of that reality; but no, his 1989 mainframe is not the sole substrate that's running the Grid. It is a doorway, and a remote set of claymaker's fingers. One might say it is piggybacking onto a natural effect for free.

    I think for some folks, trying to work out the logic of Tron's universe like this may spoil the fun; because the original Tron had one foot in "Disney magic" and metaphor, and there's nothing at all wrong with that.

    I feel what the filmmakers and expanded universe writers are doing tho, is to provide more pure science fiction rationalizations for it all, for the sake of having a firm foundation that modern audiences can possibly accept.

    Edit: I should add, I think what makes ISOs special isn't that they alone have "digital dna" but that they arose naturally. That actually supports the idea that the electronic universe is a natural place in its own way and that once human technology set events in motion, it began self-ordering and evolving - just like our universe.

    I think there's actually a theme to think about there, that contrasts the religious overtones in the original Tron. In the original, there was definitely some thinking to be done with Users being, oddly enough, personal "gods" who even "intelligently designed" the universe and inhabitants of the beings below them. In Legacy though, that is turned about on its head. We discover it is "turtles all the way down", and that Users are not the gods it seems at first; the digital world has its own natural life.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 11, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    I enjoyed it enough while watching it in sometimes tortuously-loud IMAX 3D, but in retrospect... it has some interesting bits, but it's mainly rubbish. io9 nails the problem:
    And while Olivia Wilde is as lovely and beguiling as everyone says, it's telling that she only has three or four lines in the second half of the movie - she's too luminous and interesting for the wretchedly pedestrian action climax.


    Maybe... or maybe it says "we know our poor man's Matrix gets old pretty fast, and if we give you 3D right out the gate that opening arena sequence (which is pretty nifty) will lose a lot of its power." :p

    There was a Pirates 4 3D trailer, but since it was cut like a normal trailer, I can't yet say if that movie will be worth it in 3D. As in Tron: Legacy, 3D's main asset is its immersion effect, and once they leave the nightclub there's nothing to see.
  8. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 11, 2006
    Regina, SK, Canada
    I was a little let down that the MCP/Sark/Dillinger didn't have anything to do with this movie except for Dillinger's son having a cameo, but apparently David Warner doesn't like Tron as much as Bridges and Boxleitner do. Pity, but at least Cillian Murphy shows potential for future films.
  9. Emperor's Prize

    Emperor's Prize Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 3, 2009
    Hmmm ... y'know, I disagree with some of those io9 critiques. The computer world (The Grid), isn't sterile; in fact its lack of sterility (ISOs) is precisely what caused the conflict between CLU and Flynn. Furthermore, the quest for perfection -- achieving a sterility from imperfections, in other words -- is something that Flynn ultimately learns is not only futile, but fundamentally destructive both personally and globally. Besides, The Grid has plenty of imperfections even within its purged areas -- CLU himself isn't "perfect" and that doesn't even begin to account for all the corrupted programs we see at the beginning being sent to the games or repurposed.

    The io9 critique is right when it says, "this is not a film about the world inside your computer. It's not a film about how you interact with technology, or how you use technology." But to call Legacy "mindless" is to ignore what the film is actually about. This film isn't about interacting with a computer world because The Grid is a metaphor for the real world and for our very real attempts to impose a perfect order on a world of chaos. What we have to do is learn to appreciate making meaning from chaos, "It's like jazz, man," and when we do, miracles can happen. So yeah, Legacy borrows heavily from its predecessor (including much of its story structure and pacing), but it's certainly not the same movie; far from it. I can completely understand people not appreciating the film's message, or not particularly enjoying how the film itself unfolds. But let's not be like io9 and simply ignore what's in the movie.
  10. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 25, 2000
    Out there... thataway.
    Visually the movie was cool, although 3D was wasted on this picture. This is the first 3D movie that I've watched where afterward I'd wished I'd saved a few bucks and watched the 2D version.

    The story was uninteresting, as were most of the characters.

    My favorite thing about this movie was the "younger Flynn" visual effect. He still has that Polar Express / Pixar look, but he looked more convincing than the reverse-aged Patrick Stewart in X3 and Wolverine.

    Overall... meh. I had more fun watching Piranha 3D than I had watching this movie.
  11. John Clark

    John Clark Commodore Commodore

    Jul 4, 2008
    Just got back from seeing it in 2d. It may have been panned in the local papers, but I enjoyed it.

    I'll have to try and rewatch Tron at some point:)
  12. Rett Mikhal

    Rett Mikhal Captain

    Jun 9, 2010
    I don't understand why a lot of people are bashing the story and characters as uninteresting or second to the visuals. I thought, while watching it, that there was a lot going on. Clu had sympathetic HAL9000 roots that he was simply programmed to do a task without gray areas and had to conform to that. Ultimately he was stuck in time; while Flynn was able to move on and evolve as a person, realizing mistakes and changing over time, Clu was forever the same person (program) he was the moment he was created.

    The real conflict of the story was Clu's world changing and he, as a program copy with one objective, was unable to change with it. The only two options he had were giving up or forcing the world to change back to fit him, to make things like they used to be.

    I also felt a lot for Flynn in the end. You can tell he feels responsible for not only all that happened, the constant war games and martial law, the iso genocide, but additionally the way Clu turned out. He knows it was his own fault for programming him as himself at a time when he was affected by tunnel vision and obsession for perfection, leaving humanity on the back burner.

    Maybe I'm just one of few that saw it for these things. Don't get me wrong, I'm big on visuals because I love thinking about how exactly the film makers came up with them and even more so, created them. I like seeing effort. I just also like seeing emotion and character, especially in subtle ways. It's one of the reasons why I enjoy movies like District 9, where nothing about how the characters are feeling is explained to you and you have to SEE it to FEEL it, versus something like that awful 2007 Beowulf movie where every five minutes the characters remind you how they're feeling with extremely obvious cues.

    I think there's at least something to take out of the story in Tron. We all live in a world that constantly changes and there is no going back. The only choices we have are evolution or trying desperately to stop change.

    Lastly, Gem was way hotter. You know you love the sexy robotic backwards walk.
  13. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    May 27, 2004
    United States
    The io9 reviewer seemed dead-set on a sequel to Tron that he already envisioned in his own mind. And when this film wasn't that vision, he turned on the hurt-fan tears. I believe he way overreacted.

    Also, his review seems a bit disingenous considering the site he's writing for has done tons of interviews and examinations of Tron Legacy in advance, and those previews (and even spoilers) gave a pretty detailed picture of what Tron Legacy was about. The filmmakers even said that it's not a movie about the Internet, or about contemporary computers in the literal sense. It's a place out of time, sealed off from the rest of the world.

    That guys idea of "Tron" was, as he stated, far more whimsical and light hearted than Tron Legacy, but it seems he was looking forward to seeing things like what Facebook and Youtube looked like inside Tronworld. As one commentator on io9 said, there's no way a Tron like that would be possible without looking like a hokey joke or satire... just like the Futurama episode that *actually was* based on that premise, where the cast went into the future Internet, and it was a "Tron" world, except filled with Facebook games and porn shops :p
  14. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 6, 2001
    Sac, Ca
    Overall, I thought it was pretty freakin awesome. Yeah the story does slow down quite a bit in the second half (they definitely could have spaced the action out better than they did), but the disc battle and lightcycle scenes we got at the beginning were so absolutely, jawdroppingly cool and perfectly executed that they easily made up for everything else in my mind. I mean, WOW. :eek:

    But even then, when the story shifts gears, it still remains fairly engaging I thought. The flashbacks were interesting to see and the character moments on the light ship were well done. As simple as much of the story was, I didn't see any glaring dialogue or acting problems in this, contrary to what the critics have been saying.

    Other little things:

    --LOVED seeing the tanks again, although it's a shame we didn't get to see them in action.

    --and loved seeing some of those badass moves Tron had in the flashback (as well as the earlier generation of suit he was wearing).

    --Was really looking forward to seeing an updated "digitizing laser" effect early on, but they never showed it
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Oct 8, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    I loathe 3D, but this isn't really any different than the use of color and black & white in THE WIZARD OF OZ, where black & white depicts the real world and color depicts the fantasy world of Oz.

    The reviews have been pretty bad of TRON LEGACY, but it seems like most people here are enjoying it. Maybe I'll see it next week, if my brother wants to go.
  16. Chris_Johnston

    Chris_Johnston Captain Captain

    Jul 3, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, after reading all those nasty reviews on SF Signal & io9 yesterday, I'm very happy to see a lot of positive comments here! I'm agreed on pretty much all points Kajima's made.
    Saw it in 3D last night, and my only complaint was that the 3D glasses were these big, bulky red/black jobs, with a sharp triangular notch for a nose bridge. Very painful!
    The RealD glasses for Avatar were ever so much more comfy!

    I don't have much of a head for math or computer coding, but hearing Flynn describe the ISO's made me think of Cellular Automata, which I'd toyed with via Conway's Game of Life years ago.
    Would an "Isomorphic Algorithm" be the ultimate progression of that?
  17. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    May 27, 2004
    United States
    If I understand it right, Isomorphic is a term that applies to comparing two systems together and seeing how they match up. An item which is "Isomorphic" has spawned out of a system that produces identical copies. For instance, all crystals have a certain crystaline structure no matter what conditions they form in - the structure will always exert itself.

    I am not sure how the writers are using "Isomorphic" in Legacy, and maybe it's just a pure technobabble term because the word sounded cool and ISO sounds like a pun on a computer term.

    However, there might be a vague connection. If the ISOs evolved spontaneously from the Sea of Simulation, aka the digital ether, that evolution followed the rules set down that create humanoid Programs. Thus, some Isomorphic principle was being followed; the System generating new entities that naturally duplicate the structure of a Program.

    As to why this was revolutionary and important, a guess is that it is the discovery of how to genuinely create life from scratch. The ISOs are new beings, following a pattern that causes them to grow into humanlike intelligences, but not merely copies or simulations of human beings (like Clu).

    This is not unlike some ideas regarding the creation of AI, that ponder that creating true intelligence may require devising conditions under which it has to evolve "naturally" instead of just being designed as we conceive a simple program. One might even see Clu as an example of catastrophic AI failure, as if that type of AI's flaw is that it cannot evolve past its initial conditions, and so becomes psychotic as circumstances and reality diverges from its baseline expectations.
  18. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 11, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    The io9 reviewer is female. I met her last night. ;)

    Yeah, I got all that - I'm surprised you didn't cite the large Tempest influence in your review - so while I agree with the reviewer's characterization of the world as too insular, I wouldn't call it entirely mindless, just Saturday-morning cartoon-level thin. As I said above, the generic action climax was pretty weak sauce.
  19. Rett Mikhal

    Rett Mikhal Captain

    Jun 9, 2010
    I didn't consider the dogfight to be the action movie climax, I felt Flynn's confrontation of Clu to be the climax of the story. Of course unlike novels and like all hollywood movies it occurs two minutes before the end, but what are you going to do?
  20. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

    May 27, 2004
    United States
    Upon further reflection, one of the real crits of the film is that they didn't have time on-screen to justify everything that happened or was supposed to be inferred from the extended universe/backstory materials. Here's two observations tho, from discussing it with a friend:

    First, we both came to the conclusion that an intentional nod to the nature of the digital world was the crystaline matrix of pseudo-stone that took over the further away from the Grid you got. This seemed to be a direct reference to the Grid literally carving out a cohesive reality from the subspace chaos - which devolved into fractals as you reached the edge of the Sea of Simulation. Unlike the spherical world from the Encom mainframe in Tron, the Grid seems to be an intentionally smaller scale concept. It doesn't form the raw stuff of that space into an entire planet, just a floating island amidst the quantum foam, if you will.

    2. Ok, big spoilers at this point in the thread. We both laughed at how most people are going to take the idea of Clu's apparent intent to drive his giant battlecruiser out of the basement of an arcade in Los Angeles. It's the most unexplained thing, of course, and we couldn't blame anyone for a hearty "WTF?" at it. However, we both agreed there could be a method to the madness that unforunately isn't fully explained on screen.

    Basically if you look at the portal as an actual portal, quantum teleportation, between subspace and our substrate of reality, things make more sense and become a lot more ominous. It was clear that in the Grid, a vast amount of power/energy was being harnessed from from the stuff of that reality. Clu may have his wisdom stuck in place, but he's as smart as Flynn. He's had a thousand years to research all this, and Flynn made a reference to Clu having figured out something.

    Combined with the fact that the Grid was designed to simulate reality so its technology could be applied to the real world, we think what may have happened had Clu gotten Flynn's disc and screwed with the portal from his end, isn't that an aircraft carrier would squirt out of the teeny laser in Flynn's basement. Rather, most of Los Angeles would have gone up in a fireball as the portal ripped a hole - a subspace rupture.

    Oddly enough, the entire scenario bears a striking similarity to a sci-fi short story from the 50s, in which a scientist creates a miniature world that evolves in accelerated time. Eventually, the inhabitants of that world figure out the nature of their reality. They use what is already super advanced technology to erect a shield around the facility the experiment is taking place in, and at the end of the story, a scientist who understands what is happening worries about what will happen when they drop the shield and emerge... because in the months it has been up, on their scale they've had a millenia to improve their technology further.

    Oddly, there's almost a justification for Clu's turn to world-dominating aims, since he is a snapshot of Flynn at the moment Flynn was full of himself and determined to "conquer the world".