Aug 2, 2011
Tron Legacy (2010) (part 4 of 7)
Sam gets brought to Clu, and we finally see Clu’s face. I’ll give Jeff Bridges great credit for his acting here. He does a wonderful job of acting like a slightly “off” version of Kevin Flynn. He really sells this role quite well in a lot of ways.
It isn’t long before Sam is Clu’d (ha!) into the fact that this isn’t his dad. Clu postures a bit, and then sends Sam off back to the Games to play around on the light-cycles. When Sam gets to the light-cycle arena, he’s introduced, as is his competition, which, surprise, turns out to be Clu, and is handed a stick. He’s not sure what to do with it, so he holds it like a lightsaber and asks how it’s used. Jarvis, Clu’s suck-up sidekick, smirks and says, “I’ll give you a hint. Not that.”
Meanwhile, yet another mysterious masked figure is watching things from above the arena. This is Samus Arn—er… Quorra, but that’s a stupid name, and a pain in the ass to type, so I’m going to call her Thirteen. Thirteen watches most of the introduction and slinks off, but you can be sure she’ll be back.
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And so begins the light-cycle fight. I’ll say this for it; it’s quite lovely to look at. Very bright, and well-animated, and also as boring as a particularly boring stone that’s recently been found on a damp Tuesday in Borington, Wales, and then profiled in The Boring Stone Monthly. The original light-cycle duels, as pointed out by Spoony, were all about claustrophobia. The walls never disappeared, and so as the riders went along, they navigated a more confined and narrow space with each passing second.
In this case, the light-cycle fights have been set to 11, and the end result is that the players have a huge arena with several levels and not much use for the light trails, which are even turned off for large parts of the race. The sense of claustrophobia is gone, and we never get a good “feel” for how everything is laid out. What we end up with is okay, but like with so much of the film, it’s a flashier, yet more pale copy of what was done in 1982.
As the race goes on, Clu’s side really starts handing it to the blue team. Soon, there’s only Sam and one other racer. Sam shouts to him that they need to work together, the guy nods, and with no other communication than that, they somehow coordinate all their actions and moves. No practice needed, no actual strategy. I agree that, yes, they’d do much better as a team, but there does need to be a bit more to teamwork than just saying, “Hey, gang, let’s team up!”
In the end, Sam is about to get totally destroyed, when the Batmobile comes out of nowhere to rescue him.
In the process, it generates a wall that knocks Clu head over teakettle, but doesn’t kill him. Clu, apparently, uses cheat-codes. This also explains a line from earlier in the movie where it’s mentioned his bikes are faster than those of the blue team. Apparently, Konami’s codes really are everywhere.
The driver of the Batmobile, Thirteen, tells Sam to get in. She has to tell him this twice, because he is very stupid. It then drives off with a squeal of tires [?], and smoke [?!]. As it does, the Stig sets off in chase, and Clu says, “Game on, bitch,” or something to that effect.
The Batmobile drops a couple explosives to slow down pursuit, and then blows a hole in the wall to escape. Hmmm… blowing a hole in the wall to escape a light-cycle arena… Now where have I seen that trick before?
As the car drives along, Thirteen removes her mask and introduces herself, then explains that the enemy vehicles can’t follow them because they aren’t designed for the terrain they’re currently on. Okay, that makes sense. Well, it’s a good thing Clu’s forces don’t have planes, like the ones Clu’s forces have later.
Sam asks Thirteen where they’re going. She says, “Patience, Sam Flynn,” because as a sexy computer babe, she has to call him by his first and last names. At least it’s better than calling him Flynn-Unit, I suppose, though not nearly as wonderful as if he was called “The late Flynnsamflynn.”
The Batmobile rolls and goes up along a steep and narrow road, looking to all the world like a miniature remote controlled car, before driving through a tunnel and coming to a stop.
With the Batmobile safely stowed away in the Batcave, Sam and Thirteen are able to get out and take an elevator up to a small house, where a man sits meditating. No points for guessing who this is. Yes, it’s Kevin Flynn himself. He and Sam have a fairly awkward, but somewhat touching reunion, and it’s a testament to the acting skills of Bridges that he does a great job selling the scene.
Flynn then goes to look out a window, while Thirteen shows Sam around the house. This includes showing him an older prototype light-cycle, so that the audience will know it’s significant and will likely turn up later. Then she goes over to a game of Go, which I honestly know nothing about, but which has always struck me as somewhat silly.
Thirteen shows Sam some of her book collection, which contains works by Verne, Dostoyevsky, and other writers in the public domain. Thirteen comments that Flynn is teaching her about “the art of the selfless, about removing oneself from the equation.” I’m sure there’s no way that’s going to be relevant later in the story.
After a brief shot of Clu pouting, we go to dinner. It’s a happy family meal with father, son, and Thirteen, all gathered around munching and crunching. From the look of things, Flynn apparently has spent a lot of time learning how to properly code good food. I can entirely support that notion.
Okay, I didn’t want to come back to the age issue, but in this scene, Thirteen asks Sam how old he is and we’re told he’s 27. Like I pointed out before, that means he was 6, not 7, in the scene where a 12 year old boy is playing a character described as being 7. I really can’t tell you how much this annoys me and—
We also learn a few other things, like how Cal Tech apparently has a campus in Seacouver, and that Sam has no life, really. It’s a reasonably tense conversation and actually fairly well done, all things considered. Eventually, Sam gets to the main part of the scene, which is giving Flynn a chance to explain what happened all those years ago when he disappeared.