Editor’s note: Some people on the Manitoban staff are really into the film Tron and its sequel Tron: Legacy. And by “into it” I mean, write its name all over their notebook, keep its picture in a locket, get sweaty and flustered when it’s mentioned kind of “into it.” An average film review just wouldn’t suffice. After some hemming and hawing, we considered a point-counterpoint in which its merits and demerits were discussed, but no one wanted to take the demerit side, so instead we have two resident Tron-fans “debating” the same position: Why it’s just so great.
Tron: Legacy is a sequel to the movie Tron. In our story, video game pioneer Kevin Flynn creates a digital world within computers, populated with programs that act in very human ways. He is digitized and transported to this world, and must fight against a dangerous computer program in order to escape. In Tron: Legacy, he has been trapped in the system for years, imprisoned by the program Clu (Codified Likeness Utility). Clu was created as an exact copy of Flynn, to run the system when he was in the “real world.” However, things don’t go entirely as planned.
Leanne: What drew us to this movie despite its widespread dismissal by our peers?
Spencer: I think that a large part of it was the deep emotional undertones of the movie and the themes that were covered: the idea of the Ego and being unable to grow beyond our youthful arrogance and desire for power and control. Tron embodied that concept in a very real and tangible way with the character of Clu.
Leanne: I like how the Tron character only appears in the movie for about ten minutes. It seems like he was supposed to be Clu’s counterpoint but they ran out of time. I wish I could make a case for Tron representing the psychological Id, what with the powerful forces and the rising out of some lake to save the guy and all, but he just wasn’t in it enough.
Spencer: What scene in Tron resonated the most with you and why?
Leanne: Probably when Quorra is feeling up Kevin’s library while Sam crankily muses about the shittiness of their situation. She asks Sam if he knows one of her favorite authors — Jules Verne. He misinterprets her meaning as whether he’s ever heard of the author, which he had. The naive joy with which she jumps at the chance to meet said author vicariously through Sam was really sweet. How about you?
Spencer: I would have to say the scene where Clu meets Kevin after years, likely hundreds of years in the system, of being apart. He seems quite hurt, almost like an abandoned child, and still seems to be looking for the acceptance of his creator. Despite being the bad guy in the story, he is very sympathetic, as he is acting based on his programming and was doing what he thought was right. He was tragically unable to ever grow beyond his initial prejudices and views.
Leanne: Do you think that his death was the only way the conflict could be resolved?
Spencer: It seems that way by the end; their goals were so diametrically opposed.
Leanne: But Clu wanted to create the perfect system. Kevin wanted that same thing, didn’t he?
Spencer: Kevin’s view of the perfect system changed when spontaneous things happened. He saw that spontaneity and chaos could be a good thing. Clu demanded order and was unable to grow in his understanding.
Leanne: I maintain that theoretically they could have hugged it out. Clu was upset and jealous, and unfortunately imbued with the skills to enact upon innocents the wrath he didn’t understand. Kevin could have been a little more sympathetic, given that he was ultimately responsible for bringing the wretched program into existence.
Spencer: Clu would stop at nothing to fulfill his view of his programming, as seen when he tried to enter the “real world” to make it perfect as well.
Leanne: I don’t feel like the movie made a strong enough case for Clu as an unreasonable killing machine. All I saw in him was a groping adolescent desperate for his buddy-dad to take interest in him again. I think that might have been all it took. [spoiler alert] Though, I’m glad they both died in the end, the fuckers. “Hey look I’m so intelligent I can create a whole world. Oh shit, a problem. Maybe if I avoid it, it will go away. Oh shit, it didn’t!”
Spencer: Haha. It was about Kevin Flynn learning to take responsibility for all of his creations — which in the end he did.
Leanne: I did not like Tron’s ending. Quorra’s rapturous sunrise viewing was not enough to convince me that the Flynns had any redeeming qualities beyond a facility for business and technology.
Well I liked it a little because she really was extremely cute, and I appreciate a good sunrise from time to time myself. I could see where she was coming from. But still.
I’m not convinced you think the ending was sufficient, though. Why was it a good ending?
Spencer: It was good because it left some hope for the future, and because Kevin Flynn finally came to terms with his responsibilities.
Leanne: I think the hope it left was pretty damn murky given Sam’s abandonment issues and Quorra about to experience some pretty spectacular culture shock.
We didn’t talk about how cool the lasers are yet. We should end on how cool the lasers are.
Spencer: The lasers were cool.
Leanne: That’s it?
Leanne: The lasers were amazing! I’m surprised at your lack of laser enthusiasm.
Spencer: That’s all right.
Tron: Legacy is still playing in theatres.