(Warning: there are spoilers)
A few weeks ago I went to see the movie Tron legacy with my son. I still have mixed feelings about it. Sure the special effects were great and the story was compelling, but something was missing. Maybe it ended too soon, or started too late. Maybe it was because I was sitting too close to the screen. I usually sit at the back of the theater, but this time I was right up front with my son where he could sit comfortably next to his wheel chair. Maybe it was due to some of the special effects, there was too much gratuitous filler in the movie that didn’t contribute to the plot. After about ten minutes of going oooh and aaah at the special effects I would suddenly stop and think, ‘sure it was fun but what was the point?’
I liked the feel of the virtual reality universe and the ambiance, however I felt uncomfortable with the lack of connection to the real world. In the original Tron movie there was a connection between the characters on the screen (programs) and what they did on the outside.
Program: “I can’t fight, I am an actuarial program”
The one concept that I really enjoyed seemed to be rather hidden and almost an afterthought. A self aware computer program being brought to life in the real world is the root of the movie, but I felt it was lost in the battle to get her out. It almost seemed that the screen play had it right but by the time all the special effect enhanced action scenes were done they had to cut it down in length thus missing some of the plot.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the whole father and son dynamic, but it seemed to be kind of out of place. It was like re-shooting the movie ‘On golden pond’ on Mars.
From what I understand there is no plan for a sequel, what a shame. Not because I want to see more of the same, but because there was so much more to Legacy that seemed to be left to our imagination. Normally I am cool with that. I like movies to be left a little vague at the end. But this time I was left wanting more, but not more of the same.
I give a lot of credit to the movie for how it caught my imagination. It left a playground in my mind that most movies fail to do. Three concepts in particular really caught my imagination.
First is the idea of being able to move a living person into a computer virtual reality universe where the consequences of life and death are real.
The original Tron explored this idea pretty toughly. But Tron Legacy took things a bit further…
Second is the concept that a damaged program (person) can be repaired by opening up their “Disk” and doing a little troubleshooting. Cool.
Third is the thought that a computer program that really thinks can be brought out of the machine and become a real living person. Really cool.
Take these three together and there are some awesome opportunities to explore.
Imagine being able to take a wounded, sick, or elderly person into the computer realm and repair them? Fix the wounded, heal the sick and make the old young again.
How about parents being able to design their children for physical perfection? Too much? How about no birth defects, no more need for braces or glasses, no more food allergies, or colic.
On the down side there would be an immigration problem. How many computer programs would like to become real? How many real people would rather exist in a virtual reality universe? Who controls the swap? What would happen if the real world was invaded by computer program warriors? Would earth born people seek asylum with in the virtual reality universe?
Another down side; what about countries fighting wars using duped programs that are recruited to fight so born humans don’t have to? This was explored a bit with robots, but not like this.
What about space travel? Could we send space craft out to colonize the stars with only computer programs as passengers? Acceleration would not be an issue nor life support. Then once the ship arrives at their destination the occupants could just be beamed back into reality.
There are so many possibilities. I hope they get explored.
I guess I would have to say that the movie Tron Legacy did a fine job planting the seeds of fancy. I just wish I had a better time during the actual movie.