Tron: Legacy

Unless it's a Disney animated flick like Tangled, I generally don't get to see movies in the theatre. Tron: Legacy, didn't quite make the cut, but I've finally had a chance to watch it on DVD. How does this match up with the legacy of Tron? While the original movie was revolutionary, the animation has not aged well. Tron: Legacy is a visually stunning film, paying homage to the visual style of the original film, while making many visual improvements. In particular, the youthful face of Jeff Bridges in the opening, and as CLU are very well done, especially when compared to the older, bearded Kevin Flynn we see later in the film.

Where the film fell flat in my opinion, was the underlying plot. The "Isomorphic algorithms" was not sufficiently explained, for them to be as important a plot point as they were. In particular, the actions of Kevin Flynn seem relatively obscure. The "vast potential" of these new lifeforms are mentioned several times, but never in any way which proved meaningful. The best the movie manages is to get us to understand that Kevin believes they would change the world.

Kevin also appears little like his impetuous character from the previous film. The Zen inspired themes are an interesting addition to the film, and increase the way in which young Sam acts as a foil to his meditative father. The example of the game Go fits this theme quite well, in which caution and planning form the foundation of many good strategies, much more than the game of Chess.

While I found Tron: Legacy to be an enjoyable film, it doesn't have the same cultural resonance that the earlier movie did. The original Tron dealt with an era where mainframe computers were new and poorly understood. The idea that people might be pulled into some alternate universe inside the computer was outlandish, but so was the idea of actually using a computer. Today, computer use is ubiquitous, and thus better understood. The changing technologies, from mainframe technology through the personal computer age, until the current cloud computing networks is not adequately represented in the film. Part of that can be explained by the fact that the virtual world of Tron: Legacy was built in the 1980s, building upon the fictional technology of the original film.

I've heard there's a sequel in the works, which should be able to capitalize on the technological advances made during the research and development for Legacy.