Tron: Some history and my opinion of Legacy

Introduction

Feel free to skip past this, If you’d rather cut to the chase and  want the summary of my thoughts and opinion about the movie feel free to skip to the Tron Legacy: My Opinion portion of this post. Smile  Otherwise I’m going to ramble quite a bit talking about some Tron History and also provide some details on how and why the movie is and always will be #1 on my list of favorites.  My Disclaimer: As such, odds are that you might as well understand this is going to be a positive review as I am biased to begin with. 

I as well as many others have seen the new Tron: Legacy movie.  Seems Disney has another winner on their hands this time around as the first movie released in 1982 flopped in the box office but wound up with a huge cult following later in life.  Disney, in both cases of the movie took huge risks.  In 1982, Steven Liseberger was a first time director with a seemingly crazy idea on how to build Tron.  That man must be one heck of a sales man as he sold Disney executives to the point of getting their backing on something that had never been done before.  It is my opinion that the reason the movie did poorly in the box office was because it was so far ahead of it’s time that people just didn’t “get it” until later in life when computers became more and more of a core component of society.  I’m guessing that if Tron was released in the 90’s instead of in 1982, it would have made Disney quite a bit more money in the box office, but we’ll never know as there is no such thing as a time machine.

“Jeff Bridges IS Flynn.”

I’ve read many other posts and it seems the movie is now in profit mode which I hope is 100% true and if it is that is fantastic as I’m sure even more money will be made from media sales post the movie’s release.  I must admit I’ve been a Tron freak for a very long time.  I remember the first time I saw Tron, I was a young kid and my dad took us to a drive-in theater.  If you do not know what one of these is, it’s basically a hug parking lot with parking spaces in front of a giant screen that the movie was projected on to and each spot had a pole with a microphone.  The fancier establishments had the kind that you could put the speaker on the window. It was the IMAX of the 30’s.  While Wikipedia is not considered a creditable source from educational facilities, it still gives you a good idea on what a drive-in theater is if you have no CLU what one is. Winking smile  But I digress.  Back in the  80’s I watched a VHS version (VHS, what the heck is that!? Open-mouthed smile) of the movie so many times the tape actually broke!  Suffice it to say I now own it on DVD and decided to watch it again before going to see the new movie.  What a fantastic movie that is still, to this date, one that has a huge following and a fairly large community of web sites on the net.

I think one of the components that made the movie a success was the chemistry between the three main good guy characters.  It’s really very simple Jeff Bridges IS Flynn.  He plays the role of Flynn as if that one of his main purposes in life.  He also did one heck of job playing CLU in both movies and I’m betting he had fun playing CLU 2. Smile 

The “Official” Tron Time Line

According to Disney the time line is as follows:

  • July 6th 1982 – Initial Tron movie release.
  • December 7th, 2010 Tron Evolution the game was released.
    • This game served as a “bridge” between the 1982 release and the 2010 release and ended pretty much right where the movie picks up.
    • I played the game the whole way though before going to see the movie and was glad I did as it added more depth to the movie and the game as there were hooks between the two.
    • An example of such hook: In the game you play as a new type of program written by Flynn called the System Monitor.  In the movie when Sam asks Flynn why he didn’t come home that night he proceeds to explain to Sam what happened.  In the movie there is a flash back where C.L.U stops Flynn and Tron in the street and the following dialog takes place:
      • CLU: “Flynn!  Am I still to create the perfect system?”
      • Flynn: “Yeah…”
        • At this point CLU’s helmet closes and Flynn and Tron are surrounded by four guards that glow red in color and they begin moving closer to the two.
      • Tron: “Flynn, GO!”
        • Tron makes short work of killing the guards and finds that CLU is chasing down Flynn and runs and tackles CLU to give Flynn the chance to escape.  Flynn believes Tron sacrificed himself to save him and believes Tron is gone.
      • This was in the game, as the System Monitor you witness this from a passage way so it was cool to see that flash back in the movie.
      • Another hook was during the end of Legacy Quorra was explaining to Sam that a sympathetic program (Aka: System Monitor, the character you play!) smuggled her out of the city.  As the System Monitor you saved her from CLU as she was threating to tell everyone she knew he was to blame for the destruction of the ISO’s, Tron and Flynn.  He told her: “Well I thought I was being discreet” then holds his disc to her throat.  That’s when you step in and CLU suddenly finds his disc on the ground and orders his repurposed programs to attack you.
        • In the end you wind up defeating the Abraxsas virus.  And he inadvertently destroys the ship you are fighting him on.  As the ship is exploding and derezzing all around you, you grab Quorra and make a run for it. 
        • Saddly you have to deal with the virus and do not get a chance to deal with CLU I’d sure like to go to disc war with that guy.
  • December 17th Tron: Legacy released.

Tron Legacy: My two biggest disappointments

If you’ve not yet seen the movies I have two pieces of advice for you:  1) Watch the Classic first as this will give you a basis upon which the new movie builds.  2) Some of my comments and thoughts on the movie will spoil it for you, so perhaps it’s best you not read this post until after you’ve seen it. Smile

I guess the biggest bummer I’ve witnessed thus far with regard to the movie is there seems to be some negativity around the story.  Friends of mine gave the effects an A+ but the storyline received an undeserved it was not original, or it was just so-so lots of critics have given the movie a grim or poor review and I just don’t understand.  I guess I am biased.  I’ve been a Tron fanatic from the beginning.  When I first saw the movie I was nine.  I remember always being fascinated with computers, how traffic lights and train signals worked, etc..  And for a while I had been tinkering with computers a lot and playing a lot of games on the Intellivision so to an extent the movie made sense to me and it did nothing more than deepen my fascination with computers.  To think of programs running around inside of a computer represented as people was a fascinating idea.  The idea of a program that could be written to consume other programs to grow intrigued me and as much as I hate the MCP, it’s hard to blame him as he basically was written to behave the way he did.  The person to blame is his user, Ed Dillinger.   But as a programmer the very concept is one that sparks wild dreams of writing software that is capable of acting like the MCP, so the movie and I have always  had a close relationship, even if it is only a one way street as the people behind the movie have no CLU Winking smile who I am.  Oh to meet Jeff Bridges or Bruce Boxleitner, I would give almost anything to meet these guys and just get a chance to have lunch and talk about Tron the entire time. Smile

Kevin Flynn and Kevin Mitnick are the two people I basically grew up idolizing as computer geniuses who loved to play/write games as well as dabble in hacking when necessary.  So when he died at the end of Legacy I was most displeased!  What a horrible fate that I honestly did not see coming and would have preferred an alternate ending.  In fact, why wasn’t  it Rinzler that met him there?  And for sure Flynn could have snapped him out of his CLU controlled mode and all three of them could have gotten out… Hadn’t Sam been though enough already?  To see his father sacrifice himself for he and Quorra must have been difficult at best for Sam to swallow, hell it was hard for me to do so and it’s just a movie!  All I can hope for is that some how, Sam, Quorra and Alan can come up with a way bring him back, perhaps from an old backup or something?

Tron Legacy: My Opinion

All in all, I must say the new movie is fantastically done, of course the special effects were stunning and the movie and the sound track done by Daft Punk blend together extremely well to create a robust environment that is exciting to view as the movie progresses.  I believe Joseph Kosinski did a fantastic job at keeping the Tron feeling and spirit alive in the movie, about the only disappointing moment for me in the movie was the very ending.  I am not sure what the logic was to end Flynn, but I don’t like it at all.  Jeff Bridges IS Flynn and Flynn is an essential component of the Tron universe.

Other useful information about the Tron Universe

On a side note, check out the Tron wikifor tons of detailed information about the entire Tron universe, even Tron 2.0 which Disney seems to be completely ignoring, heck they even pulled the backing game’s web site down.  As much as I love the game, I guess that is a good thing, because according to the story line there Lora Bradley met with her demise (For non-Tron freaks, that is Cindy Morgan and she played Lora Baines and Yori in the original movie.) in the Encomlaser laboratory as such it leaves me torn about the situation as Yori, in the end was a part of it too, without her user’s quick thinking I’m not sure Flynn would have gotten what he was after.

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About the author

Eric Brown has been developing software and tinkering with computers both as a hobby and professionally for well over twenty years. Currently he's expanding his horizons by learning the “other side” of coding by exploring penetration testing, white/grey and black hat hacking to help build more secure software, networks and systems. He's attending various local events in an attempt to get to know other ethical hackers in the area.  He currently owns several various hacking, networking, reverse engineering, malware analysis and forensics books as well as maintains an active subscription to "Pen Tester Academy".  He’s also studying what is new in the .NET Framework 4.5.2 as well as learning Python, Assembly and spending time in Linux.

 

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