Here is a short list of how ‘Tron: Legacy’ failed.

1. In the original, Flynn is a gaming nerd who gets to ‘live’ inside games that would have been pretty cutting edge to him. That was cool. I think that folks could appreciate a snarky video gaming slacker who was thrust into cool ‘games’ of the day. In ‘Legacy’, Sam is a rich kid who has inherited his father’s fortune and lives in a cargo container. He is more Christian Bale in Batman than anything. Look: Being a superhero guy who jumps off buildings and lives on the wharf as a lone outcast is only okay if you are already an awesome hero. The interest of a ‘normal person’ thrust into a new and dangerous world is lost when Sam Flynn yearly….yes, yearly pulls off some corporate hijack stunt.

2. And by the way, why does Sam Flynn need to race at dangerous speeds to the Encom building in the beginning of the film? Wouldn’t it make sense to just obey the traffic laws until you enter the building that as majority shareholder and son of the founder you probably can just walk into anyway?

3. Is it standard practice for taxi drivers to begin swerving dangerously to ‘shake a person off’ their car if someone is on the roof?

4. Legacy’s pacing drags in strange places. As soon as Sam and Quorra come to Flynn’s house the movie goes back into first gear. “Let’s have dinner.” is the first thought when seeing your son in a computer reality? And to sit far away from each other at an antiseptic table does not serve to set up Flynn as a cool, loving dad. Later, on the way to ‘portal’, while on the train thing not only is the train moving seemingly very slow (because their pursuers catch up easily) the dialogue is just like slogging through mud and Sam and Quorra are not given any chemistry or connection and this would have been a good time to set that up.

5. Racism is still not cool, Disney. When we are told about the ‘Isos’ who were ‘naive’, ‘spiritual’, we are shown a few in profile and is it just me or do they appear to be Black? And the only other appearance of a Black person is in the End of The Line Club and he is called “primitive”. What? Racism exists in The Grid? Did Flynn program that in? Why are there no non-White-European programs?

6. Campy, ‘gay’ villains are still not cool, Disney. What is up with Zeus’ over the top camp? To me, he is obviously portraying a stereotyped parody of a gay baddie.

7. The look of the original Tron was more unique and daring than Legacy’s. In fact, Legacy’s special effects are so dark that when you wear the 3D theatre glasses, I was struggling to make sense of The Grid.

8. Legacy makes no sense/Flynn’s powers are upgraded when convenient: So the ol’ switcharoo of the identity disk never crossed Flynn’s mind before? Flynn is scared to make a dash to the portal when he can (depending on the situation and his mood) turn himself into a giant vacuum?

9. There are critical plot failures: It is not Sam’s dad Kevin Flynn who reached out to the real world, but CLU. Why? “To get a new game piece on the board!” Okay. So Sam’s very presence and involvement in the Grid is based on a stupid and flawed ruse. Also, we are to believe that CLU and the rest of the computer programs will be able to exit the portal into the real world. Is it just me or is that a big jump of believability? Did they know that Quorra would be able to do it? Where did her flesh come from? The camera in the basement can create living things from programs? I bought that it could translate living things into programs so…Okay, I’ll let that slide. But I felt that the stakes of “rescue the people being turned into slaves” and “get Dad back home” were fine and when they added the “CLU is going to invade Los Angeles next!” thing, I just wanted to see that happen–and I didn’t get that.

10: The action sequences did not even match my limited imagination and I am not paid to think about such things. I was waiting for interesting uses of the Light Bikes, The Light Jets, and their light constructs…But no. I wanted to see a Light Jet slide down a construct like a rail. I wanted to see someone open a Light Bike in an enclosed space to crush somebody. Nope. I wanted to see someone’s identity disk ‘hacked’ to see if a person’s memory or identity could be tweaked. Nope. Even in the standard fight scenes, they were especially standard.

11. How come the bombs CLU set in the End of The Line Club took like 15 minutes to go off? Giving CLU and his baddies enough time to enter and fly away in their ships–but not enough time presumably for Zeus and his albino lady friend to exit? Lazy.

12. Why is this movie even called Tron? Oh yeah. He is a guy named Tron and he and Flynn destroyed the Big Bad in the first film. Now he’s some ninja guy in a dark suit that only ‘comes back around to being a good guy’ when it is most convenient to the script and then immediately dies. What? Why not allow Tron (who the movies are named after) some redemption, man? Why not give him motivation to change other than “I’m going to shoot at Users one second and then protect them the next. Because…I fight for Users!?”

13. Sam has no arc. He is a badass in the beginning and is pretty much the same guy all the way through. He is not even given anger at his father he must overcome. Why could the story not be that Sam is corrupted by the money and fame of his position and his father Flynn teaches him about sacrifice and freedom? Stupid! Whoever wrote this needs to rethink their career path. And what reasons are we given to connect with Sam? He has a dog…and that’s about it.

14. The movie is incomplete because Sam is not able to show us his triumphant return to the Encom company and step up to his role of positively affecting change there and giving the evil CEO guy a piece of his mind.

Overall, it is poor movie making. If you want a movie that is more fun and just as interesting to look at, go rent “Speed Racer.”

 

UPDATE JANUARY 30th 2012:
I felt that I needed to insert a good response by Critical Eye here that was originally posted as a comment below.
My thanks to Critical Eye and all the other helpful commenters–
Below is the comment in its entirety….

Just read your blog on your opinions about Tron:Legacy, and will have to respectfuly disagree. Why? I’ll go point by point;
1)Kevin Flynn wasn’t a man who got to “live inside video games” as you stated in the first film – he was a wronged computer programmer/turned video game creator, trying to hack into the ENCOM 511 to get proof that he was wrongly fired and that his work was stolen by his former boss, Ed Dillinger. When the MCP (Master Control Program) detected this, the MCP sucked Kevin inside the Game Grid (NOT the same system in TRON: LEGACY) in an effort to kill him, much like those who were thrown into the Roman Colisseum in ancient times; also, WHY did Sam pull the stunts he did – to prove to ENCOM that they were again STEALING Kevin Flynn’s work, which is clearly shown in the boardroom scene;
2)Why does Sam speed down the road on his motorcycle?? Hmmm. . .if YOU were pulling a corporate stunt, wouldn’t you want to do it WITHOUT POSSIBLY BEING DETECTED??? Hence the reason why he was speeding. Also, at that point, Sam was reckless and didn’t care, much like a young Kevin Flynn;
3)The taxi driver swerving to get Sam off – yes, this was a little over-the-top, however I’ve seen it done in PLENTY of other films, and no one seemed to have a problem with it before;
4)The “train” thing is called a SOLAR SAILER and as far as a chemistry between Sam and Quorra IT IS THERE if you watch carefully, starting when she rescues him from the light cycle grid on through the end of the film. As far as, “Let’s have dinner”, this was an attempt by Kevin to reunite and catch up with his Son. How would YOU have re-united with your long-lost father?
5)The ISOs and Racism – I partially agree with you on this one, and I put this on BAD WRITING (when you hire the writers of the TV series, “LOST” to write a film script, you’re bound to end up with serious flaws). Ironically, in the TRON: THE BETRAYAL comic book, and in the TRON: EVOLUTION videogame, all the programs, BASICS(non-ISOs), and ISOs come in many different colors. I too, would have loved seeing Bartik (the Black ISO with the slash in his face) not be reduced to a “primitive” revolutionary with unfufilled revolutionary ambitions, as well as more non-white programs in the film plotting a revolution against the forces of CLU 2.0; I agree with you a huge deal on this point, and that’s why I’m writing my own TRON fanfic. Instead of just getting mad about things like this, we must create our own to counter it;
6)The “overly gay” baddie – this isn’t exactly true. We don’t know if ZUSE is gay, especially since he had the Siren named GEM, with him. The actor who played him, Michael Sheen, based him on David Bowie’s ZIGGY STARDUST character. Why do I say this? Read here: http://www.contactmusic.com/news/michael-sheens-bowieinspired-character_1155197 AND here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/jul/25/michael-sheen-tron-david-bowie. I hated Zuse/Castor, too, because he was an ISO in denial, and he sold out Sam, Kevin, Quorra and all the other programs, but I understand why he was over the top;
7 & 8)Legacy vs the first TRON film – that’s because TRON (1982) took place inside the ENCOM 511; Legacy takes place inside a DIFFERENT SERVER, a secret, isolated server in the basement of Kevin’s arcade (sources: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2010/03/05/tron-legacy-director-we-are-on-a-new-server-now/ AND http://io9.com/5697228/building-the-grid-a-conversation-with-tron-legacy-director-joe-kosinski AND http://guitarsandmoviesblog.com/2010/12/interview-with-tron-legacys-director-joseph-kosinski/ AND several others);
9)Though Kevin has been missing for 20 real-world years, time in the Grid goes much faster; therefore, Kevin feels he’s been stuck inside the Grid for over 1,000 Years due to something called TIME DILATION, which the writers should have explained, but it is explained here: http://disney.go.com/tron/html/codex/tron-universe.html. Therefore, wouldn’t someone’s mental faculties be a little wonky after 1,000 years????;
10)These were cyberversions of the ancient gladiatorial games from the Ancient Roman Empire, that’s why the games were as they were in the film; however, you did see discs being hacked, i.e., when Kevin was fixing Quorra;
11 & 12) Agreed, and agreed again – I, too, hated how TRON/RINZLER was minimized in the film, however, they do hint at the end of the film that Tron isn’t dead, as we see his circuits change color after falling into the Sea of Simulation; again, bad writing (those DAMNED “Lost” writers!!!!);
13)Disagree – Sam does develop, although, due to bad writing again, it’s not completely obvious. He is angry at his Father, hence why he pulls the sutnts he does, and hence, his disrespectful comments towards Alan Bradley when Alan comes to his apartment. He also hasn’t reallly taken his position at ENCOM seriously, therefore he wouldn’t have been corrupted by it. While he hates his Dad’s disappearance, he hates ENCOM, because just in the first film, they again are stealing his Dad’s work. Once Sam is in the grid though, and after LEARNING the situation, his goal then becomes to free his Dad, get rid of Clu, and afterwards, take control of ENCOM with the help of Alan Bradley as Chairman. At the end of the film, Sam has reached some level of maturity;
14)I agree to a point – I too, would have loved another board room scene where Sam and Alan show up, and lay the corporate smackdown on Richard Mackey, and the top brass at ENCOM.
*One final point – how was Quorra able to materialize into a human? Basically, when one is digitized by the Shiva Laser (the “camera” as you called it) their biological makeup is turned into molecular material which is stored in one of two canisters at the base of the laser, while said person is in the GRID or inside the ENCOM 511 (from the first film); the other canister contains carbon and water. In the computer, the person is reconstituted as code. However, when Quorra and Sam came out, Sam was reconstructed with his biogentic molecules, and Quorra pulled from the carbon and water from Kevin Flynn’s biogenetic molecules. This is explained here: http://www.scifitv.com.au/blog/?ReferenceID=2011/04/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-tron-legacy/. Again, the script should have explained this.

In the end, Tron: Legacy was a great SEQUEL concept marred by bad writing and pacing that could have been much better. It also would have been much better if it pointed out that it was a WOMAN who pioneered the laser that transported people back and forth between the real and digital worlds, a character known as DR. LORA BAINES-BRADLEY, and her digital counterpart was YORI. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Best Regards,

Critical Eye

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