The Tron Legacy score, by Daft Punk, is in regular rotation in my writing music playlist. By far, it’s the best part of that movie. I wanted to like that movie. I really did…and I still do. But the story suffers from huge plot holes, inconsistencies, and too many things that defy logic.
Which is ironic considering C.L.U. was meant to build the perfect system.
It’s C.L.U.’s ENTIRE plan and execution of that plan that just defies that logic. Now, let me state, for the record, that it has been a long time since I watched the movie. so it’s possible I might not recall some of the finer details correctly, but this high level review of C.L.U.’s idiocy ought to be accurate. And that idiocy starts at the very beginning…
(Sigh) The premise of his plan is brilliant: He sends signal to Alan Bradley’s pager, trying to lure him into the system so the portal would be open and he could get out. But we don’t get this until a little later. The problem is, C.L.U. seems to forget he has a plan in motion!
He’s EXPECTING Alan Bradley – or someone – to come into the system. I get the impression there is ONE way into the system: the replica of Flynn’s arcade. Question: Why is there NO ONE there waiting for whoever comes in? C.L.U. would want that person caught and brought to him AS SOON AS THEY SET FOOT ON THE GRID because of the limited amount of time the portal stays open.
But there is no one there.
One might argue that Sam IS caught very soon after coming into the system, but that was part of a routine sweep for programs to be brought either to the Gaming Grid or to be put in C.L.U’s army.
So Sam gets taken to the Gaming Grid and forced into Disc Wars. No knows a user is on the grid. Not C.L.U, not anyone. The Sirens know he’s different when they are prepping him for the games, but they don’t alert any one.
So Sam is in the games. Sam somehow manages to beat an opponent, even though he’s never through an identity disc in his life and has only been on the Grid for perhaps an hour, may be two. All of this is going and for a bit, no one knows a user is there. But there’s something else no one notices.
No one, not one of the thousands of programs in the arena…or ANYWHERE ELSE, for that matter…notices the PORTAL is open!. It’s right there, on the horizon, like a very bright, shimmering star. AND (as we find out later) it was designed that way, to be a reminder that Kevin Flynn was around or something like that. I think it was Quorra that said something like that to Sam. The point is, no one noticed and I would think that would have been a pretty big deal to someone.
During the Disc Wars, Jarvis gives a C.L.U. an update that includes the status of his “private initiative”, which would be the plan to take an army through the portal. But…Jarvis doesn’t actually know that’s what the plan is!(?). As a matter of fact, I don’t think ANYONE knew what the plan was except for C.L.U.! Maybe Tron knew, but he wasn’t exactly a chatterbox. C.L.U. just had his people round out ordinary programs and ship them off to be reprogrammed to be in C.L.U.’s invasion army.
The army is being assembled and rallied at a base somewhere out in the direction of the portal. The ship is being loaded and they are acting as though they are definitely going to go through the portal at a scheduled time. But they don’t have Flynn’s disc. They don’t have the key to get out and know one even notices the door is open.
So C.L.U. doesn’t have what he needs to make his plan work and when he finally knows Sam is on the grid, his first instinct is to try to kill him??? To show the programs that the “tyranny of the user” will never return??? How does that help him get Flynn’s identity disc? Flynn doesn’t know his son is there either. Quorra rescues him from the grid, but it isn’t until sometime later that he’s reunited with his father.
And what about ol’ Kevin Flynn during all of this? We see him meditating, facing a window that looks out in the direction of the Grid. In the distance, the portal hangs in the sky…and we don’t get the impression he’s noticed it either!!!
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot
I would expect Kevin fricken Flynn, of ALL people on the grid would notice the portal! Even if he knows it’s probably a trap set by C.L.U., it’s still the first time in it’s been in the sky for 20 years. Is he anxious? Excited? No. He’s just kinda “meh”.
I could go on and on about the failures of the plot, but I think you’re getting the idea. The movie had a plot and all of the characters ignored it. Except for Sam. He’s the only one that had the right idea. As soon as he heard about the portal, he had a one track mind about getting the hell out of the Grid.
As I said, I wanted to like this movie and if really force myself to engage my suspension of disbelief, I can still enjoy it. To me, that final confrontation between Flynn and C.L.U. is a classic movie moment. The elements of the story they were trying to tell came together in an intense, satisfying way, and the Daft Punk score gives it just the right emotional weight and the result makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I feel like it’s that good.
For me, personally, the antagonist is usually what gets me invested in a story. Unfortunately, C.L.U.’s constant mis-handling if his master plan just made him (and his plan) and great big joke to me.
Tron and Tron: Legacy have given me a story series idea that I really like and will try (again) to write this year. But I know we aren’t likely to get a sequel in the foreseeable future, and I understand why.
Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below.