Mar 1, 2018
Tron Legacy (2010) (part 7 of 7)
Now we have Clu’s big moment of exposition where he explains exactly what his plan is and what his motivations are. From what I can tell, his plan is to get his army of a few thousand into the real world and completely take over. His motivation is because… I’m not sure?
He’s pissed about Flynn, that much is obvious, but clearly he’s not yet completed his task of creating a perfect system, so why is he abandoning that task and going to go take over our world? This doesn’t make much sense. The speech that he gives is the mirror image of Flynn’s speech from earlier in the movie, and that’s kind of clever, I guess. Also, at least the scene looks impressive in a vaguely disturbing, Nuremburg kind of way.
While this is going on, Sam sneaks into the area where Clu has placed Flynn’s disc. He has about four guards on this disc. Well, yes, that makes sense. Spend 365 years looking for something and you develop a somewhat casual attitude toward securing it. To be fair, there are also some other guys who immediately hide behind shielding, who remind me of those goggle-wearing guys from a certain other movie.
Sam, of course, dispenses with the guards easily, despite him having, as mentioned before, no notable combat training. He gets in, grabs the disc, saves Thirteen from Rinzler, and then grabs a wing-suit to escape to freedom, rendezvousing with Flynn, who’s managed to get his hands on an aircraft.
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Back up on Clu’s ship, he goes to where the disc was, exchanges a significant look with Rinzler, and then, for no obvious reason, kills his lackey before leading his troops to jump out a window. He activates an airborne version of a light-cycle, and begins chasing after our heroes.
On the plane, Thirteen is piloting, and Flynn tells her to “head for the light”, a line which doesn’t sound that good unless it’s coming from Zelda Rubenstein. Thirteen then notices the light-jets following them. Flynn sends Sam back to man the rear gun turret, and the fight begins!
The fight itself is reasonably well done, though I do find myself confused at one point when Thirteen flies their plane straight up, and another plane follows and then stalls and begins falling. What, there isn’t enough virtual oxygen for his virtual jet engines?
The fight is also reasonably important because it’s when the Stig… Rinzler… Tron… whatever… finally remembers who he is, and that he fights for the users! He turns on Clu, and they wind up fighting each other. In the end, Clu flies off with Tron’s light-jet, while Tron crashes into the water, his lights turning back to blue. So he’s apparently alive, but we’ll never see him again. Meanwhile, Thirteen continues to fly the plane, heading toward the portal.
The plane lands and they get out, making a beeline for the portal. Clu, of course, is waiting there to stop them. Clu and Flynn have a bit of a talk, and then Clu kicks Flynn in the crotch so hard he flies backward several feet. I imagine his happy-parts are now in the vicinity of his tonsils. Sam attacks Clu, but since Clu still has his cheat codes enabled, he doesn’t accomplish much.
Thirteen then pops up in time to save Sam from Clu. Clu lets them go and grabs Flynn’s disc, which, unsurprisingly, is actually Thirteen’s disc. He jumps over to the portal to stop Sam and Thirteen from escaping, and it’s at this point that I felt there was something very familiar about the set and the staging, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what.
Clu charges toward the happy couple as they start to transmit out. Flynn does some weird floor thing that activates a big tractor beam effect, and pulls Clu toward him. The two merge and then explode, taking out the portal station, Clu’s carrier ship, and lots of things for miles around. Sic Transit Kevin Flynn, at least until we need him for the reported sequel.
Back in the real world, Sam loads the grid onto what appears to be some fancy USB drive that he then wears as a necklace. At least I assume that’s what he’s loading onto it. For all I know, he’s vacuumed up some Russian porn site.
Out in the arcade, we find Alan staring at his pager as Sam appears out of nowhere. How he didn’t hear the sound of Sam’s steps and the opening of the secret passage is beyond me, but there you are. Sam tells Alan he’s making him chairman, and taking back the company. Sam makes some enigmatic comments about Alan being right about everything, and then goes out to his motorcycle, where Thirteen is waiting for him. They then ride off into the sunrise as the movie draws to a close.
So there we go. 27 years of waiting, and we got this. Here’s the thing; it wasn’t a horrible movie. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it as much as… well, basically anything from Michael Bay. The f/x were decent, if not great. At no point was I blown away by them like with the first movie, but they got the job done. The acting was acceptable, especially by Bridges (and I had no problem with the CGI face, unlike many other people), and there was a decent emotional core to parts of the script.
But there were so, so many problems. The ISO concept made no sense to me, and wasn’t well explained. We never understood exactly how they were supposed to change everything in the real world. Clu’s motivations were also very, very murky. I never got exactly why he was doing what he was doing, or what his grand plan was supposed to be. Get out and take over the world, apparently, but that just didn’t make any sense.
Then there’s the other stuff that the first movie did better than this one. The light-cycle race was frankly more interesting in the first movie. The costumes looked better. The MCP and Sark were better villains than Clu. The world that was presented was unique and interesting, and not like anything we’d seen on screen, whereas in this movie it was just reality with a few racing stripes laid over it.
Then there’s the confusing nature of the computer world, which wasn’t exactly clearly explained in the first movie. Okay, so you have an alternate reality where programs are out doing things. If someone was a debugging program, you’d see them out hunting logic errors and the like. But here, you have programs that apparently do nothing but attend games and go to clubs, or are homeless and out on the streets. They don’t appear to have any real function.
But perhaps the most annoying part of the film is that it’s somehow less savvy about computers and cyberspace than a movie that was made back in the early 1980s. In that movie, you had a lot more references to computers and how they function than you do in this one.
A lesser complaint is the fact that Tron himself had basically nothing to do with this movie. He had little enough in the first film, but almost nothing happened in this one, and that’s irritating.
Ultimately, this was just a wasted opportunity. The producers could have made something really, really great, that could have showed us a really original vision. Instead, we got your basic summer sci-fi action film released in December, and that’s just not what we deserved.