Tron: Legacy, and What Is Wrong with Movies Today (Part 3)

Hey, Tron is back. I decided to take more than those couple of days off on this. Just because, like all things, once I’m done with them, I cease to be interested in them. I move onto the next thing. Sure, I’ll go back and revisit thing again and be like, “Ah, this is why I like this,” but, once I’m finished with something — especially something I’ve written — I’m no longer interested in it. Which, poses a problem when it’s something you’re technically not finished with.

I wrote those first two — which, here’s Part I and here’s Part II, just so you’re not confused — and just lost interest in it. I should have kept going continuously, perhaps this entry would have been more interesting. But, this will be like the Godfather III of the bunch. But, when it’s done, we’re done. So, you got that going for you.

It took a few days to get back up to speed on this. At first I didn’t want to continue, but, I figured kind of had to. I had that feeling of being out on the shaky drawbridge without a parachute (hear that, Sam? Without a parachute), of, “Am I doing the right thing?” Then I thought, “Fuck it.” As I often do. So we’re gonna continue to the bitter end. Which is what I say every time I finish a Manhattan.

There are bitters in a Manhattan. Just checking.

When we last left Tron: Legacy (not Tron. Still checking.), we hadn’t even gotten onto the Grid just yet. Sam had just pulled his whole Encom stunt and had gotten “arrested.” This “arrest” lasts for about — oh, I don’t know, how many frames does it take to transition from one scene to the next? That many.

And before we actually get into the movie, standard disclaimer applies — I understand all the “logical” explanations that can be had from most of the things I’m pointing out (as evidenced by the comments I got — I think — on Part II), but, my entire point here is, okay, so maybe some of the things they do make sense, but what I’m saying still holds water. It can be both. I’m choosing to ignore the obvious because one, that’s what movies do all the time, and two, that’s not the point I’m making. My point is that, aside from the things it does and the things it has to do, for whatever reason, could have done those things slightly differently, and with a lot less condescension and forcible advertising to its audience, and made the film just as good as (and even better than) it is. Say all you want about how it does all those other things, but they’re still doing my things too. I’m bringing up my things to say that they should just stick to your things and then everything would be great.

I’m also gonna say flat out, once we get on the Grid you’re gonna see a lot less interference from me. That’s because the film is actually a pretty good movie and does things correctly (aside from a few minor details here and there). But we’re not up to that part yet.

There’s Sam. Sam has just been arrested in the last scene. Less than a second later, we cut to him leaving jail. All he has in his hand is a piece of paper. Which could be one of two things. First, it could be a ticket. For what? Well, one would assume, since he owns the company he stole from, probaby base jumping off a building without a permit. Or, it’s a piece of paper that allows him to pick up his impounded Ducati bike. You remember. That bike we saw so many fucking closeups of in the sixteen minutes this film has lasted thus far? Yeah, well, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

Sam goes back to his house, a garage — I’ll spare the pictures because, you’re about to be bombarded with them. Basically, it’s made up of shipping containers packed together with a retractable garage on two sides that allows him a big view of the river and bridge and skyline and stuff. (This view includes Encom tower.) Actually I will show you a picture of that because, it’s a nice view.

The only thing I’ll point out in this shot is the obligatory “Hero takes off his shirt” moment that all action films must have. Nothing wrong with that, we’re all used to it, and it’s done mostly harmlessly here. Though one piece of dialogue does seem to make him doing it here not make much sense. More on that in a bit.

So Sam shows up at home, tosses a juicy steak to his dog, Marvin, the one from the video he uploaded to Encom, and gets a beer — as one does after a stressful day. Standing behind him is Alan Bradley, aka Tron, aka the man who is “loyal to the bitter end.” What follows is this exchange:

“Why are you in my apartment, Alan?”

“You don’t answer your phone. How you been, Sam?”

“Well, you know, when I was twelve, I really appreciated the surrogate father thing, but come on, Alan, I got it all under control now.”

“Oh. Clearly.”

“Well what is it, you want to help me with my homework, like old times? Have a catch?”

“You know, you got a pretty nice view here. Heard you did a triple axel off of her a few hours ago. (as Sam takes his shirt off.) Rough landing, huh?”

“Could have been worse.”

“I also thought you’re message to the board was very clever.”

“You like that? That was Marv’s idea.”

All this is fine. The exposition feels a little clunky — though maybe that’s just how the lines are delivered — but overall it’s understandable. The problem is what happens in the rest of the scene. At this moment, we go from a standing shot/reverse shot, to a cutaway of Marv the dog — which is the obligatory closeup of cute animal, something you’ll find in most movies of this nature (or any, for that matter) — to this shot.

Subtle, huh? If you even thought for a second Disney wasn’t trying to advertise, just watch this shot — and the ones that follow it. For the entire duration of this conversation, every reverse shot just drives home that Ducati logo right in the center of the frame. This is what I mean by forceful advertising. Sure, one closeup of the Ducati as he gets off the bike outside Encom is okay. I can deal with that because, hey, advertisers pay money and they help finance films. It’s okay. But, when you put a logo in the center of the frame, so much so that it pushes your protagonist to the side, just so you could plaster the logo front and center, that’s a problem. I won’t even say anything else about it except, I will now write down what happens for the entirety of the conversation, and insert every shot of the Ducati logo (not counting the one earlier on Sam’s fridge, which may not be noticed to those not paying attention). Ready?

Sam sits down and puts his arms out like — “What do you expect me to say?” (Note: The shot up there.) The best part about this is — this is essentially the filmmakers saying this exact phrase to us about the Ducati logo. They’re like, “Hey, we’re all whores. We’re just getting the best price.” Once again, an argument that can easily be made, but one that goes against the very root of the problem. Sometimes too much is too much. I will provide evidence — now.

Note: Every time another picture appears, it’s exactly after where it appears in the film. As in, if it is said during a line, the word directly underneath the picture is the first word spoken in the shot of that particular picture.

“Alan, are we really gonna do this again. Do I really look like I’m ready to run a Fortune 500 company?”

(cut to Boxleitner) “No.”

“But truthfully, the company’s pretty happy with where you are too.” (They cut to Boxleitner at “are.”)

“I’ll bet.”

“See, that way they can just — “ (cut to Boxleitner) keep doing whatever they want.

(Please notice the hilarious subtext to everything that’s being spoken right now.)

“I guess what I find –”

(Now they cut to a sideways shot — Sam and Boxleitner in profile, from the side. I guess because even they realized that it was overload.)

“– curious is the crazy charities –“

(Now we’re back to the original Boxleitner reverse shot.)

“– the annual prank on the company.”

(Oh no, the dildo’s back.)

“You sure have an interesting way of being disinterested, Sam.”

(The blocking in this scene is exquisite.)

“Why are you here, Alan?”

(Cut to Boxleitner, who pulls out his beeper.)

“I was paged last night.”

“Oh, man, still rocking the pager, eh?”

(cut back to Boxleitner, looking at his beeper the way one remembers one’s first (whatever people are fond over).)

“Good for you.”

“Yeah, your dad once told me I had to sleep with it.”

(What kind of fucked up friendship did they have?)

“I still do.”

(Dude, Alan, you got some problems.)

“Page — “

(cut back to Boxleitner about as he starts speaking.)

“– came from your dad’s office at the arcade.”

(Now we cut to a medium close-up of Sam, with the Ducati logo mercifully blurred and obstructed by Sam’s body. I guess even executives have morals. Never let advertising get in the way of a Father/Son conflict.)

“So?”

(At least, not immediately.)

“So –”

(cut back to Boxleitner.)

“– that number’s been disconnected for twenty years.”

“Sam, two nights before he disappeared he came to my house — “

(cut back to Boxleitner)

“– “I’ve cracked it!” he kept saying. He was talking about –“

(Cut to the MCU of Sam again.)

“–genetic algorithms, quantum teleportation, he said he was about to –“

(cut back to Boxleitner.)

“– change everything, science medicine religion.”

(cut back to the MCU of Sam.)

“He wouldn’t have left that, Sam.”

(Cut back to Boxleitner, who moves to the couch.)

“He wouldn’t have left you.”

(And now, they’re both advertising Ducati. Great.)

“Oh, Alan. You’re the only one who still belives that.”

(Thankfully now, the chain is broken and they stand up against the view for the rest of the scene.)

“He’s either dead of chillin’ in Costa Rica. Probably both. I’m sorry. I’m tired, I smell like jail, let’s just reconvene in another couple of years, huh? What do you say?”

“Here. The keys toe the arcade. I haven’t gone over there yet. I thought you should be the one.”

The rest is irrelevant to the discussion. That’s what I wanted to get down. First, do we all understand that 11 shots is too much? Do we understand what happened in that entire scene underneath the nose of the narrative? Good, because I don’t want to rant about it. I think by now we understand. This is the heart of my argument. Without that bike being there, the film would have been exactly the same, and would have been a better film overall. This is it’s big character flaw. The one where, because of it, I have to point out the other flaws, because I don’t want to pretend like those aren’t there either.

Also, those last two lines. The first one — “I’m tired, I smell like jail” — so, if he smells like jail, why did he need to change his shirt? Just asking? Obviously, he needed to change his shirt to let Alan see the parachute marks (probably to tell kids how unsafe parachuting off tall buildings can be) and because all action heroes must have their shirts off at some point. My point is, then don’t have him say he smells like jail. Why would you waste a perfectly good shirt then, buddy? Also, where you gonna shower, the river? Just sayin’.

Now, the second line — I find this funny because, the film tells you this, then goes ahead and tells you again in the next scene. Which, we’ll get to — now.

Sam rides over to the arcade. Right where we left it. Surprising it hasn’t been torn down in all these years. But I guess when you’re owned by a multi-millionaire, you have some kind of pull. Strange no kids have broken in and vandalized it, just because. You’d think shit like that would happen to a place like that. But, you know, whatever. These are standard jokes we make at every tiny moment of logic.

Now, Sam pulls up, and we get that nifty focus shift from the logo to his face in the mirror. Then he goes and does this:

In case Alan actually throwing him the keys wasn’t enough, we get a closeup of him opening the door to prove that, no, he’s not breaking in. I think. I don’t know. This one is more of a pet peeve than anything. Why do we need closeups of keys going into doors and things like that, when we clearly understand that this is what happens? It’s like seeing someone get on a bus, then showing a closeup of them dropping change into the coin slot. I never understand why films include that. The only time I find that it works is if you’re in a long take form of cinema. When you have scenes play out mostly in wide shots. Then a close up spices things up visually. Re-watch the Apartment encounter in Pulp Fiction to see what I’m talking about. You get long shots of Sam Jackson talking over Brett’s shoulder, and then the reverse shot, for most of the scene. Then they cut to the closeup of him picking up the burger. That, to me, feels less annoying because, well, I don’t know. It just does. It feels like punctuation instead of exposition. Here, it feels as though they want us to know he’s not breaking in, unlike how he got into Encom. It just feels heavy-handed, or at least, explanatory in some way, rather than just being. You dig?

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

I’m not sure the necessity of the flashlight in a place like this, especially with all the studio lighting coming from all sides around you. But, hey, you know, it’s what you do, I guess.

Then he flips on the circuit breaker, and we get all the old music from the first movie, and it’s a nice good time. All the reminiscing and stuff. Then we get this.

He looks. She looks.

Those familiar with movie romance understand the concept of “he looks, she looks.” These two shots were hysterical to me. For several reasons. That was one of them. The other was because, they made it seem like he had some supernatural force dragging him over to the game. The kind of feeling that would produce an “unbelievable moment.” (Only like two people would know what that was a reference to. And maybe even they would have to think about it for a moment. For those two people, think about it. What would I be making fun of that would “suit” this occasion? Yeah. That.)

So then Sam goes over, and then this shot happens — which I also find hilarious.

I love that they make it seem like he’s been carrying this quarter for twenty years just so he could put it in the game and play with his father. It’s so cheesy. I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, but, jeez, at least give me some free nachos with it or something.

Then he finds the secret passageway behind the game and finds his father’s hidden office — the one that no one was able to find for twenty years. And he goes in and starts playing with the laser — the same way Dad did thirty years ago.

I liked this part. It was a nice callback to the original.

So then the laser goes off — I hear that happens to a lot of lasers (it’s how the kids got shrunk. Then blown up. How that Asian dude chased down that invisible car in Antarctica.) — and Sam gets transported inside the Grid.

So now we’re in the Grid. It’s exactly the same as the real world, just, computerated. I like that Flynn’s is still standing inside. It adds character development to the character we haven’t actually met yet. (Fuck you, that creepy digitized version does not count.) The only minor issue I have here is Sam saying, “He actually did it.” Sometimes I just have trouble believing movie characters are that dumb. I mean, he heard his father talk about being in this thing, then he disappeared. Also, at no point here does he think his father is actually alive inside this thing. Especially when “he” sent a page to Alan Bradley after twenty years. Just a minor thing. Some things we just have to accept. This is one I’m used to. This is a screenwriting flaw and not a studio-imposed flaw. So, I can deal with this much easier than the other ones.

Then, just like in the original, Sam is picked up by that airship thing.

It’s that thing that picks up stray programs. They run it just like the original, which I’m a huge fan of, and then bring him over to the stadium. Aww, just like his old man.

This is the movie working like it should be. And they manage to make the games seem dangerous by having that dude jump to his death rather than go into them.

One question: When was it decided that blue and orange would be the only colors available in the Tron universe? I know C.L.U. gets some yellow, but he runs the place. I’d like to see Sam get in there, introduce some red up in this bitch next time.

Next thing that happens is curious, yet understandable.

Four hot women come up to Sam and dress him up in the Tron outfit. They give him the disc and shit. Kind of like — “the last suit you’ll ever wear.” It’s okay and all. I’d have hot women do it too. Take their minds off the whole dying thing that’s about to happen. It just feels like, “Hey, there haven’t been any women in this movie. Let’s up the eye candy.”

Then, we get — disc wars. This is the only part of the movie so far that I’m 100% on board with.

Here is the unnecessary action scene that is actually part of the plot. It’s perfect. You get him learning how to do it on the fly, much like most of the audience is. We even get that nice line, “I have an action figure of you,” which is a nice touch. Though it begs the question — is this opponent dude as good at disc wars as Christopher Walken was at Russian roulette in The Deer Hunter? Because you’d think these people have very short life spans. You’d think they’d make a bigger deal out of him still being alive, twenty years later. Or, maybe not have Sam beat his ass so fast. But, whatever. It’s exciting.

Here’s our first shot of C.L.U. I assume everyone realizes this is C.L.U., right? Too bad Sam doesn’t.

I do like how Sam escapes and tries to get away, since, he has no idea how the fuck this works. Plus everyone else thinks he’s a program, so it does make sense. They have him face Rinzler — aka Tron but, we’re not supposed to know that yet. But, this is 2011 — they’re not subtle. They pretty much spell it out in just a second.

Another logistical question — who cleans that up? Or does it just disappear like dead bodies in the Grand Theft Auto games? I’m just curious.

So, now we get a battle with Darth Rinzler.

I’m actually a huge fan of this fight, aside from the obvious reference there. In fact, Rinzler is modeled off of three very specific movie characters. First, Darth Maul. Obviously. This will be confirmed twice later on. Second — somebody from The Matrix.

Technically that move is same one that Snake Eyes did dodging a rocket in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but let’s skew toward the classier reference.

The other character he’s based on, if you listen closely, is Predator.

Seriously, listen to it in the quieter moments, he sounds like the Predator.

So, that’s Rinzler. We have an awesome battle between him and Sam, half of which happens completely upside down (bravo to whoever thought that one up) —

See? This is me being nice to the film. Notice how not interesting it is? Yeah, I’m giving credit where credit is due. I’m also doing this to take the pressure off my brain and maybe hope the tumor stops growing for a few minutes.

The fight ends when Rinzler discovers that Sam is bleeding, and all but gives himself away as Tron when he says, “User.”

The only problem I have with this fight — which is really minor in the grand scheme of things — is the fact that Sam constantly keeps making wisecracks, or what feels like “badass movie dialogue,” which, 90% of the time is neither badass, nor movie dialogue, really.

Like, when Rinzler goes Darth Maul, Sam is like, “Oh come on, is that even legal?” It’s like, one-liners that people say when they could, as normal people would in this situation, just shut the fuck up and focus on not dying. I think Will Smith is the one that lead directly to this. At least John McClaine would wait until he was safe and then make a wisecrack. And they’d be funny most of the time, too. And when he was being shot at, he wouldn’t speak, he would survive. Then came Will Smith. He would make wisecracks during these life or death moments. And they would be less interesting and meant to be more, cute, than anything. This is the logical bastardization of that, I feel. It comes off to me as annoying. Just wanted to point that out.

Like, when he gets embarrassed in one of the games and falls on his ass, he goes, “I feel like I just got dunked on.” At least he doesn’t put the exclamation point on the end of it. But still — does one really say that? A line like this in a great scene like this feels like, if someone was being really charming in a bar, then whipped out the corniest pickup line in the world. And you’re like, “Why? You were doing so well before that.” Anyway, back to the movie.

Now C.L.U., noticing that he’s a user, asks him to “identify.” Which, I’m assuming means personal pronoun. “Are you a genderfuck or not, buddy?” Also, I’m not really sure why he whips out the Christian Bale Batman voice to do so. I guess he could get around it by saying he knows this is Flynn’s son and doesn’t want to give away his voice. But couldn’t you just have the gay assistant dude there do it? (Fuck you if you say he isn’t gay. You know the rules in this universe. This is Disney.) Also, Quorra does this same thing later. I guess you could, like with the Christian Bale Batman voice, explain it via circumstances, but, in both cases it’s just weird.

Maybe it’s like Star Wars. When everyone has helmets on, they become black people.

So, now they bring Sam up to C.L.U. My big pet peeve here is that, once they bring him out of the elevator, he goes, “Let me go.” Which, wouldn’t you struggle before they take you off the grid, into a hallway, and in an elevator? It’s weird that he waited until the camera was on him to say that. A line that is wholly unnecessary. Keep in mind, this one isn’t so much something against the film, it’s more of a point I’m making in the hopes that people my age who want to write movies look at this and see the kind of shit they can just leave out — of course, if the director (and by director, I mean, studio, because I think we can all agree that the dude directing this had about as much control of the film as Victor Fleming and George Cukor did on Gone With the Wind … comparing this film to classics just never gets old) added this, then, still, for future directors out there, don’t treat the audience this stupidly.

So, Sam meet C.L.U. I think at this point Sam is suspecting his father is still alive. But, since we have action to get to, the film doesn’t really deal with Sam’s emotions here. It’s, “Hey, that’s Dad. Why is Dad acting so strange. Oh, it’s C.L.U. What has he done with Dad?” He does ask C.L.U. what he’s done with his father. That’s about as deep into Sam’s feelings as we get. Because — we have a light cycle battle to get to. That will overcompensate for the lack of depth!

At least C.L.U. is having fun here. Makes a grand statement before he kills Flynn’s son. Fireworks and shit. Big introduction. They even make a Star Wars joke here, with Sam holding the cycle like a light saber, being like, “What am I supposed to do with this thing?” and the gay assistant dude is like, “I’ll give you a hint — not that.” I could do without the laugh track, though.

The big thing here is the reveal of Quorra. Of course, we don’t know its her, but, its her. I like the spatial relations in the shot.

I mention the spatial relations because — well, this is the only time they’re going to utilize them for the rest of the scene. After this, we don’t really know where anyone is in relation to anyone else. It doesn’t really matter, it’s a light cycle battle, but I just wanted to point out how little spatial continuity factors into it at all.

Sam actually says, “Now this I can do,” when he sees they’re on bikes. Did you really need to state the obvious there, buddy? I feel as though you hammered it in pretty hard there in those opening scenes.

Also, my favorite thing in this scene, is the shot so obviously lifted from Sin City, which, I’m sure was obviously lifted from somewhere else. But that’s the one I remember it from because, fuck it I can remember why. Check this out:

But don’t worry, I caught it.

Overall, I did like the light cycle battle. My only problems with it were the stupid ass dialogue when there was dialogue, and the whole, “Yeah! We did it!” high-fiving when they beat one guy.

I really don’t think you need to do the whole, “Woo hoo hoo, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” thing. It’s like, one out of seven. How about you focus on staying alive? And filmmakers, how about making things just a little less generic, huh? I’m pretty sure the only time John McClaine ever would do that is if he managed to throw a football rigged with C-4 off the top of the building onto the bed of a moving truck down below. Then you celebrate. Other than that, it’s business as usual. This is one of the reasons I hate modern action films.

Anyway, the battle ends and C.L.U. is about to kill Sam — and naturally, enter Quorra.

“Get in,” she says, in a robotic fucking voice. What’s with all the voice changers here? It’s fucking creepy. Why must they all put on the Batman voice? She ain’t wearing hockey pads.

Also, this is my favorite part of the whole “rescue” scene. Once they’re in the car and she reveals herself to him — which, love how they did her character, that whole, no concept of how humans are, but trying to be like that. Big fan of that — they pull a classic “he looks, she looks.” Those familiar with old films know about the he looks, she looks. Classic romance technique of having each main character in a single shot, looking at the other. And it links them as — they gonna fuck later. The difference here is, they’re not necessarily setting them up to fuck later. They will, but, not so much in the film. So, what they do is, they have her look.

She looks:

She really looks:

Oh yeah. You know she wants a deep discing.

Then they drive into the “outlands” to get off the grid and get away from C.L.U.

Welcome, to the desert, of the real.

Yeah, that’s not subtle. But, whatever. It’s only on screen for like, a minute. Plus, I like that shit can go down in this place. Next time, baby.

And just in case you didn’t think they saw The Dark Knight before making this movie, take a look at the fucking garage they drive into, Adam West-style.

I’m gonna respond to this the way the Comedian responded. “Me, bitter? Fuck no, I think it’s hilarious.”

Anyway, here comes Bridges. That’s what all this is building toward. They’re gonna bring in Jesus now.

What the fuck is all that white shit? What have you been doing with yourself Bridges? Just jerkin’ it while Quorra’s away?

You think he ever made another program that he could fuck? Do the programs fuck? Why couldn’t you make that movie? It’s hinted at all the time in this, especially with Michael Sheen later on. That motherfucker is one step from saying, “I’ve fucked all of these women!” I want to know if Bridges has been jerking off for thirty years or has a program he can stick his dick into. Somebody answer me that.

So, anyway, father and son meet. Then they talk for a while and then they eat a roasted pig.

I like the splash of real world color. Too bad we can’t color analyze any other part of this film. It would be like, “There’s some black. Then some white. Then, blue and orange. That’s, that’s about it.”

Let me pause to talk about Bridges’s performance here. Because — I just don’t get it.

Bridges’s performance here seems to be nothing more than a giant reference to what is arguably his most famous role in The Big Lebowski and a backlash at his bad experience working on Iron Man. The first part is more of a guess, based on the amount of sentences he speaks in this film that end with the word “man.” Either that or this is how he actually speaks. Which, after watching him go through a recent Oscar season where he was double-fisting awards, is probably the more likely of the two.

These are actual lines he says during the film. He talks about how great things were going at first, and says, “We were jamming, man.” He also talks about the Isos — “Isomorphic algorithms”, the miracle they talk about throughout the film — and how complex they are and how everything works in harmony, and calls it, “Biodigital jazz, man.” Is there a reason for this? Did he talk like this in the first one? Is that why? Just a question. As for that second part —

Bridges has publicly railed on the method Jon Favreau had of shooting Iron Man, many times. Basically, how they shot it was — it was a giant studio movie, and they made it like an indie film. They went into it without a script, and basically wrote as they went along. He said he was amazed at how, while spending $200 million, there wouldn’t be any kind of a script, even on the day of shooting. Most of the scenes, he said, would come from Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. standing around, talking and coming up with stuff and going, “let’s do that.” Bridges is more the type of actor who prefers material to sink his teeth into. This film so obviously seemed to be his way of getting back at that. And as such — well, we’ll leave the end result up for questioning, but, I have no doubt this almost certainly was done in relation to that experience.

Also, notice how I’m not railing on the film so much here? That’s because, for me, Act II really does work, and it comes down to a few pet peeves of varying degrees here and there. And, as you can see, there really isn’t anything major, which is why I kind of lost steam on this article after the first two. There wasn’t as much to complain about.

I like the whole Quorra character-building. Sure it was pretty generic, but she did do a good job in the part. I did chuckle the way she asked if he knew Jules Verne and when he said he did, asked, “What’s he like?”

I also really liked one shot they had when Sam goes to his room and Quorra passes by up the hallway and looks through the window thing.

That’s a great shot. My big problem here though, is that too quickly am I reminded what kind of movie I’m watching, when it pauses from all the interesting stuff to demean my intelligence once again.

Just in case the audience forgot about C.L.U. (Ha. Ha ha. Somebody saw the joke there), they throw in the most superfluous ten second scene, where C.L.U. is back up in his blimp and looks at the camera and goes, “Your move Flynn. Come on. Come on!”

This really has no purpose except to remind the audience — “Hey, this is the main focus of all this.” It’s so demeaning. Literally, when the last scene on the Grid ended, C.L.U. watched Sam and Quorra leave and went, “Game on, old friend.” That’s basically the exact same thing he says here, only less menacing. Did he just go back up to his room and get angry thinking about it? What’s the deal? Also, did you really think the audience was gonna forget about C.L.U.? (Still makes me crack up every time.) Their attention spans are not that short, not matter how much you try. It’s a completely unnecessary scene.

Anyway, let’s skip to the parts where I have problems. I assume you’ve seen the movie if you’ve read this far. It’s feeling too lovey-dovey in here.

Well, one thing I want to point out is how Ziggy Stardust they made Michael Sheen in this movie.

Also, I feel the Daft Punk cameo worked in very nicely. I did want to point that one out.

Oh, wait, one more. Check out the obvious Star Wars reference.

Okay, here’s the part that pisses me off. If you remember, what happened til this point was, Quorra sent Sam to Ziggy Trondust, he betrayed them — which should have been obvious from the second you saw the fuck — goons showed up and they fucked up Quorra’s arm, then Jesus showed up to save them all. And Flynn came and just changed everything, and people got down to pray to him and shit (Note: This seriously happened.) I don’t have a shot of the people praying, because one other shot caught my eye even more. It’s a brief shot of a crying Asian woman who had her arm cut off during the chaos.

Nice to see that actions do have consequences in a movie like this. She got Luke Skywalker’d.

Anyway, they get safe, and while Quorra gets fixed, Sam and Flynn talk together on the commandeered airship. This is the scene I have a problem with.

My first problem with the scene is that Bridges has this one corny ass line where he’s like, “C.L.U. didn’t fuck up the system. I did. I was striving for perfection and I couldn’t see that it was right in front of me the whole time. Right in front of me.”

And my problem with this is — just in case you didn’t get the point, when he says the second “right in front of me,” we get this shot:

Subtle, right? About as subtle as when he says, “I’d have given it all up for one more day with you.” Right there you know he’s dead. Maybe the director could have, you know, made the delivery less, “I’m gonna die,” and more, “Fuck man, I missed twenty years with my son.” You should have layered the “I’m gonna die” thing a bit earlier. And a bit more obvious than him looking at the portal.

Okay, now for the real moment that’s got me continuing thus far. The real problem with this part of the film. This part is not okay.

Sam just turns to Dad and goes, “Remember your old Ducati?”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on — this is not the tube or the circle. What the fuck is that about? You mention the fucking product by name?

That’s what makes the closeups earlier not okay. Just the simple closeups and I’d go, “Okay, it’s extreme, but, they get rid of it before they got into the Grid.” Now they’re bringing this shit into the Grid too? That’s fucking assfuck profuct placement overload, man. Leave that shit outside.

And what’s worse — now they got Jeff Bridges to do it too. He goes, “You kidding, not a day goes by that I don’t think about that bike.” What kind of Ducati advertisement is this? I was kidding before when they said they should have someone say, “It’s the only bike I’ll ever ride!” What the fuck, man? Then they continue talking about it. This is not okay. Not even remotely okay. If I were the type to do it, I’d have walked right out of the film at this moment. Why does no one get upset about all this? There’s okay and then there’s not okay. When has everyone let not okay become okay?

Okay, let’s get to the end of the movie. Finish this shit up. I’m so done with talking about this.

Note: This is how all of my papers I’ve ever written in college went. I had a good idea, talked a good game, had some great points that were simply just things I pointed out that were pretty revelatory, but I wasn’t disciplined enough to continue my argument all the way through the paper, and basically ended up being like, “Hey, this is an interesting connection, and so is this, and this, and isn’t that awesome?” Then I got to the end of the paper (i.e. the minimum page limit) and was like, “Well, let’s wrap this up. All that shit I just talked about proves that point I made up at the top. The end.” I was never one for scholarly arguments. So, that’s how this is gonna end up being. I made my points — and there never really were points, so, I guess that makes it more okay — bitched about what I wanted to bitch about, then I’m gonna move on and not think about it anymore. So, let’s get this shit done.

Uhh — where are we? Oh, they’re traveling on that magic line to the portal. They pull another Star Wars and have them land on the gigantic battle station in the middle of nowhere. Then they sneak around, one person allows themselves to get caught, you know. But we’ll pretend that wasn’t what they were lifting their story from.

C.L.U. has an army, because, I guess, that’s what you do. Seems pretty generic to just have an army. We find out C.L.U.’s been committing genocide and enslaving all the programs — perfect topics for a young person’s movie.

Then we see him addressing the army. Just like Nuremberg. Triumph of the C.L.U.

Then they go steal the disc and fly to the portal. Then we get our obligatory action scene with the light jets — notice how out of place it looks when the story has been told in an interesting way without action scenes every five minutes? Seems unnecessary, doesn’t it? But, whatever, it kind of works. Aside from the one major pet peeve I have that, once again comes back to Sam.

Why must movie characters yell like that while shooting big guns? It’s only in movies like this, too. Notice how, real action heroes, like, say, anyone in The Expendables, they don’t shout while shooting a big gun. And Terry Crews had a fully-automatic shotgun in that. He didn’t say anything. He just took care of business. So why must they have Sam yell? Why the woo hoos, people? Again? Why are these necessary, and would the scene be any different if they weren’t there? They’re not, and it wouldn’t. The end.

So they do the Tron thing, and have Rinzler revert back to his original form — redemption! Then they end up at the portal and they talk and shit and then Jesus kills himself, Neo-style.

First he’s like, “C.L.U. — you complete me.”

Then he literally goes out like Keanu did in the third Matrix.

Then he pretty much Nagasaki’s the Grid.

And he’s dead and then Sam and Quorra leave. And then somehow Quorra ends up alive in the real world. Not even gonna ask how that one works.

So, in conclusion — a lot of the shit in here is completely unnecessary and doesn’t need to be there. And it takes what is a very good movie, and demeans its overall value. And I don’t understand why moviegoers don’t hold Hollywood accountable for the unnecessary shit they put in movies. Is this a losing battle? I don’t know.

That’s basically the argument. You saw all the pet peeves. You have to agree on most of them, at least. Right? Aren’t they annoying? Is it just me?

Wow, I really just gave up on this one, didn’t I? Too bad. I never could write papers correctly. At least with screenplays there’s always something interesting to do. With a paper, even though this one was something I was interested in, at some point my brain isn’t fooled and realizes it’s doing actual work. Then it shuts off. But hey, at least you got all these pictures, right?

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5 responses

  1. You have way too much time on your hands.
    Stop being a hater.

    PS, the same model (different generation) Ducati Sport Classic was in the first film as well.

    As a motorcycle rider, the bike enhances the film.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

  2. Allen Nance

    I realize that this is likely a long dead thread but on the off chance it makes it back to the Author… wow. A lot of things to think about.
    Thank you for the writing. It gives me a lot to think about.
    Allen
    P.S. I don’t know if sound effects fascinate you, but I did notice that, at one point in the movie, there’s the effect played from when the original arcade game would start a light cycle round…. and of course that’s very expectable… But what made it noteworthy to me was this:
    The arcade game had what appeared to be a programming bug (or maybe an unexpected consequence during coding and left in for flavor during beta) where, if you held the trigger just before the round started, the sound effect would ramp upwards, instead of downwards… and then the match starts.
    Someone actually threw that in the movie somewhere. I don’t remember the scene at the moment of typing this, but it is definitely there.

    March 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

  3. Allen Nance

    (Actually, I double-checked and it’s in an obviously placed spot – the beginning of the light cycle battle… the inverted/oscillating upwards instead of downwards game effect. Homage to the original obviously, but not something I would expect someone without some kind of audio background to get… and even with that.)

    March 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm

  4. Andrew

    This movie is great, you are a dunce.

    June 23, 2015 at 12:23 am

  5. Nick Meehan

    Love film and surprisingly loved this blog. I don’t agree with it all but enjoyed reading every bit of it.

    January 13, 2016 at 9:46 am

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