So TRON was a film about the experiences of a man converted into digital data. It was a surreal fever dream that was fantastic and beautiful.

TRON 2.0 expanded the universe as far as it could when a new character found himself digitized the same way. Similarly themed, it gave the player the opportunity to explore a much larger world than was seen in the original film.

Then, TRON: Legacy rebooted the franchise, transforming it into a Flash Gordon knock-off with all sign of digitality stripped away. But it had enough charm, and added enough new quirks to the mythology to make up for it.

This new mythology has a lot of potential, despite the potential it could have had, if they stuck with the mythology established in TRON 2.0.

Regardless, it’s a story, and a moderately interesting one at that. Kevin Flynn creates a world to experiment with… stuff… in an accelerated digital environment. He made a major discovery, digital lifeforms with free will called ISOs. Then it all turned on him when his own creation wiped out his greatest discovery, and held him captive for a thousand cycles/years.

Oh, by the way, spoilers.

It had a lot of potential and it raised a lot of questions. For instance, when Kevin realized Clu didn’t like the ISOs, why didn’t he decide to reprogram his system administrator to ignore the ‘perfection’ goal, so he’d stop acting like the motherfucking Borg!?

As far as I know, that question was never answered. In fact, very few questions were answered when the opportunity presented itself. When the story of Clu’s coup, and subsequent campaign of genocide against the ISOs was told, in the TRON: Legacy tie-in game, TRON: Evolution. And man, does it suck. Continue reading


Closed Logic

What I love the most about TRON and TRON 2.0, is the feel of it: Surreal and fantastic.

It’s a world where anything is possible, where information is free, and where one’s very nature can be altered on a whim.

It’s not grounded in the logic we know. It’s a purely fictional world. Every element is distinct from reality.

Even something as simple as a city street can be bizarrely surreal.

There’s also the bright colour scheme, with flat colours maintaining the world’s artificial feel.

It’s a fantastic look, and a fantastic world. So how can someone fuck that up?

Well, by changing the look to reflect reality, and reducing the colour scheme to black, black, more black, off-black and the occasional neon light.

This is TRON: Legacy, where the TRON franchise went to die. Continue reading

Back to Digital

TRON was a revolutionary film for its time. One of the first films to use CGI, and it was actually the theme of the film. Which was pretty daring back in 1982.

A science fiction film through and through it managed to scare off some people. Something I don’t fully understand.

TRON was a box office bomb which I find wholly disappointing, and so did many others.

The late Roger Ebert raved about the original, giving it a rare perfect score, despite, and possibly because of, its lack of human characters. He also thought of it as a highly underrated film, featuring it on his show, Siskel and Ebert and the Movies, a decade later; And closing his first ever Overlooked Film Festival with a screening of it in 1999.

And if Roger Ebert loved TRON, who the fuck are you to argue!?

But over the next several years it went on to earn back double its initial budget. Eventually justifying the release of a sequel. Several sequels as a matter of fact. And how do they stack up?

Sigh… Where to begin?

Why not start with the first attempt? In 2003, twenty-one years after the release of the first film, the first sequel to TRON saw the light of day. And it was appropriately titled: TRON 2.0.

It was a fantastic follow-up to the first film, primarily because it wasn’t a film, but a game. Continue reading

Inside the Computer

To many, computers are an enigma.

The average computer user doesn’t understand the first thing about what goes on behind the screen.

They know how to do what they need to do. They know how to play games, browse the web, check email, use a word processor; but everything else is a mystery. And if something goes wrong, or things get complicated, they wouldn’t even know where to start. In those cases, they might call their friend or acquaintance who once used the word ‘processor’ and ask them for help.

It’s much like my relationship with cars. And as one of those ‘processor’ people, I should tell you, it can get annoying. Especially when you’re asked to do mundane stuff that a trained monkey could pull off.

However, these days, if you don’t use a computer, you’re either Amish or trapped in an underground cave. So people do have a general idea of what they do. But back in the 80s, this was not the case.

Most people didn’t use them at all, or at least, they didn’t recognize them as computers. The closest the average person might get to an electronic computer system was in an arcade, or through the Atari 2600, if they were lucky and rich.

Even their use in business was extremely rare. They were a brand new technology, that not everyone saw the purpose of, or potential in. Even the idea of a computer as a consumer device was received with skepticism, since few understood what a computer could actually do.

It was mysterious, and confusing; and as always, such mystery and confusion allows science fiction writers to do what they do best: make stuff up, and not get questioned on it.

You all remember the series, Reboot? Canadian-made by the way. It starred Bob, a sprite in the city of Mainframe, and his friends, Dot and Enzo. Ostensibly, Mainframe was actually the hard drive of a computer system, or something. Our characters were essentially packets of data… I think. It’s actually a little confusing at times, but the show was generally entertaining, and the computer nerds had a laugh with all the puns and inside jokes.

The series sort of took a turn for the dark in season three, which I kinda liked. But in season four, it just got weird. And there was never any need for Dot and Bob to get married, especially since they never actually dated or anything before then.

But, that was the 90s. We’re talking about the 80s, when this idea, of a story starring characters that were merely several ones and zeros strung together, first got traction.

It all started, with TRON. Continue reading