Tron: Legacy


An interest in all things technological and cutting-edge means I was pretty excited when news of Tron: Legacy hove into view, and yet more so when, by by sheer chance (okay, by sheer breaking-and-entering) I managed to get my grubby paws on a copy of this sequel to that cult classic in which Jeff Bridges isn’t The Dude and doesn’t have his rug stolen. Here isn’t my review.

The film centres on Sam Flynn. He talks to machines. The townsfolk say he’s mad. Flynn is looking for his father, who vanished from the face of the physical universe and became absorbed within the code of a C64. This was shit-hot stuff in 1982, but as the years went by, Flynn’s disappearance was spoken of with acute embarrassment and consequently concealed from his son. ‘Daddy?’ says the young Flynn Junior to an ATM machine. He sleeps clutching a tear-stained calculator. The film lurches forward to Sam aged 27. He is employed in his local branch of Currys. With no father-figure and a misspent youth playing video games his education has been neglected, evidenced by the fact that he does not know nor care a whit about the missing apostrophe in Currys. All he cares about is finding his father and beating customers into submission with his impenetrable techno-babble. Flynn Senior used to wander round the self-same store, fingering the keyboards. Sam is looking for clues.

When the store is closed, Sam speaks to the computers. He whispers to the store’s mainframe. ‘Pops?’ he conjures. The lights on the mainframe wink on and off coldly. Then his eye lights upon a digital laser opposite the mainframe. Switching the laser on, Sam is transported into the world of the Master Control Program, the world into which his father had vanished.

Things have changed. The visual effects are stunning throughout, except for the crappy 8-bit graphics that are Flynn Senior’s legacy. Sam climbs aboard an 8-bit light-cycle. Its wheels are pixellated blocks and damn near square. The light-cycle makes all the stately progress of an elephant in concrete boots to the accompaniment of lively, parping music, generated by the C64 SID chip. It’s enough to make you weep into your popcorn. Other inhabitants of this technological world mock and scoff as they flash by on their upgraded velocipedes. This is a dangerous world, for this is the world of the Internet Age. Armed only with obsolete technology, and with the help of his father, Sam must defeat the nefarious and unruly Programs he encounters. The MCP once again demands conformity to its plans. Loyalty to the MCP is expressed by clicking the ‘Like’ button and sending invites to up to 20 friends. An army of depressingly stupid Programs quickly amasses. A rogue cow breaks free of FarmVille, nearly trampling our hero to a bloody, pixellated pulp. Sam finally saves the day with an ‘I bet I can find 1000,0000,0000 people who hate the MCP’ Facebook group. Unfortunately, Sam does not fare so well with the group ‘Unless 50,000,000,000 ppl join i am changing my name to Farty Guffpants’.

Nice work, Farty. Nice work.

In all, this wasn’t the futuristic whirlwind I expected, and I was temporarily stricken blind by the garish, 80s graphics, but at the heart of the film is a Message. The kind of Message that might be written on actual paper rather than digitized on a screen. The Message is this: let us not rush to embrace technology indiscriminately. The closest you got to Facebook in 1982 was to shut your face in a book, which was an altogether less painful experience. Let us tread the road to the future carefully, saith this film. Or so it would have done.


11 Responses to “Tron: Legacy”

  1. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Man. I cried at the bit when Farty Guffpants mistook a 2-bit dancing mushroom for his dad, and trumped (that’s e-Yorkshire-speak for farted), autologically.

  2. Banjo Fett Says:

    How come in the days before the internet no-one thought to actually make a printed version of Facebook? Like a massive tome with maybe a new edition every six months. How exciting would that be? Sending your status update in on a postcard would be one of the highlights of the year.

  3. oldrope Says:

    Yeah but think of the fallout Banjo. By the time it was published it wouldn’t be “only 26 sleeps till my holiday in tennereef (sic)” and no one would no what to make of the world. I for one have always kept a big book with the details of all my friends within it’s hallowed pages. I even get your pals to send photos of you looking like a right bell-end on a drunken night out, which I carefully selotape in and label meticulously. Sometimes when a friend is very mean or a she is a girl that I think is pretty but she isn’t giving me the sex like I hoped she would I tear her it of the book out and throw it away (being careful not to crumple it too much, because when she texts me “lol luv ur status!” I always decide to put her back in the book…

  4. oldrope Says:

    “And no one would no” should of course have “know” at the end, not “no”. Fucking learning spanish is dicking about with my English. I cant use double letters any more, fail to capitalise the names of languages and goodness knows what is happening to my grammar

  5. pariahrustbucket Says:

    Given the popularity of Facebook, such a tome would quickly rival the Oxford English Dictionary in volume, most of which would be glued-in pictures of a horse / plate of spaghetti / mobile phone / pavement / other everyday items with ‘I LIKE THIS’ scrawled in large, crayon letters across the page. Because everyone ought to know how big a ‘fan’ you are of these things (hey, you like breathing? Me too!!!!) Imagine a Facebook-OED mashup. You’d look up the words ‘Fuckwit’ or ‘Waste of Living Matter’ and be directed to profiles of individuals who succinctly define those terms.

  6. johnlebaptiste Says:

    With every comment the Great Analogue Book of Facebook moves closer to reality. Let’s do it chums, like Diderot and and his Encylopedie friends in c18th France, or like Chunk and his chums on that pirate ship in that film!

  7. oldrope Says:

    And if anyone were foolish enough to write in the book that they “liked” a band because their mate happened to be in them, kind of agreeing to have their name written on a list of people who officially like the group, like in a gang but instead of one which solves crimes like the Secret Seven or Scooby Doo’s lynch-mob, but one where you do nothing and get seven million post-it notes a week telling you about gigs you cant or wont go to…

  8. spicyeggnog Says:

    Old rope, it will get worse, I tell thee. A spanish-welsh fusion released my latin alter-ego El Bonko, and recent exposure to Nordic has now left me sounding like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. To this day many friends are adamant I have a Scouse accent following my time in the Pool of Livers.

    Arrrghh!!! Undo, undo!

  9. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Jesus. Listen to these two bumhead students going on about their gap years. Stick it up your joss sticks you hippies.

  10. spicyeggnog Says:


  11. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Call a priest! I’ve been dealt a vicious jealousing.

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