Tron Legacy (2010)

Rated: PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.
Length: 125 minutes
Grade: B+BCD=B
Budget: $170 million
Box Office: $398 million (172 U.S., 226 Intl.)

Written by: Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (TV series Lost) , Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal (First script), based on characters created by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski (First film, but known for CGI effects work)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garret Hedlund, and Olivia Wilde
With: Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain, Beau Garrett, Anis Cheurfa, and Michael Sheen

In this (finally!) sequel to the original 1982 cult movie Tron, Flynn has disappeared and in trying to find him, his now adult son Sam but winds up being taken into the completely unknown virtual world his father created years ago, fighting for his life against a program created in his father’s image.

Entertainment Value: A-
Alright. I obviously have no idea how enjoyable this film might be for people who didn’t grow up LOVING the original Tron. But for me, this was thoroughly satisfying. The plot is weak. The writing is weak. But the effects, the homages, and the overall fun of it all made the whole thing highly enjoyable. For those of us who have been waiting almost three decades for an even cooler version of an originally super-cool and campy film, this was it. Aside from the impressive effects, the use of music is (no pun intended) pitch perfect.

Superficial Content: B
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A-, Violence B, Language B+
There is one very minor suggestive scene and a handful of extremely mild profanities (as in the original). The main concern will be violence, which involves dangerous driving, fighting, and programs which seem like people being killed.

Significant Content: C
Corporations are evil. Artist/hippie/visionaries are good. The goods humanity creates (like the Internet) should be as free as possible.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
Some movies are meant to be fun. This is fun. There is very little thought value necessary or invited here. Sadly, I think this movie could have been much more interesting a la The Matrix if it had tried to be, but that’s okay. Also, there’s lots of goofy conceptual flaws such as how Flynn could have created this sophisticated of a computing landscape back in 1989 and why Clu couldn’t have flown to find Flynn with his light-planes. Nevertheless, the point is fun, and it was fun.

Discussion Questions:
~What parallels do you see between the Tron world of this movie (Flynn as creator, Clu as his vice-regent of sorts, rebellion, etc.) and the story of humanity as contained in the Bible? Is Flynn like God? What is the connection with Sam as his son and the end scene?
~Do you think that programs or computer constructs (like game characters) have existential value or deserve moral consideration? Apart from what it does to our character in this “real” world, is there any case to be made that “killing” a virtual person is wrong because that’s a person in some morally meaningful sense?
~What do you make of the discussion of ISOs? If you can make any sense of it, what sort of ideas about life and creation are being offered here? Is this movie implying that humans, like ISOs were a blessed error of some sort?
~How many homages or references to the original Tron can you spot?
~One of the driving ideas of the hippie ideal is that everything ought to be free of control or ownership. Do you think this is a practically viable idea? Does Christianity seem to be in favor of this sort of free gift society or more in favor of one with controls and limits?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Light cycles, updated.
~Light planes.
~Sam “stealing” the new operating system and putting it on the web.

Overall Grade: B
This is really just the original movie with some very minor plot adjustments retold with modern effects and music. I do not object. It was very, very, very fun. My only real regret here is that there was no counterpart to the highly entertaining “byte” character in the original.

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