It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
TRON's been out for a while now, so why have I been silent? Quite frankly, because I desperately wanted it to be fantastic with only raves, and wows, but alas this was not to be. So here's my conclusion.
First off, I need to point you to the Coen brothers movie "A serious man," so see it please, but let's move on. There's a scene in that movie, called ""2nd Rabbi" where the Rabbi tells our tragic hero a parable involving a dentist who finds an ancient Hebrew inscription within the inside of a patient's teeth dubbed "The Goy's teeth," or to translate it a bit, "The Gentile's teeth." The parable goes on and on to tell of the tormented dentist who is lost and confused because the Hebrew letters were conjugated to say in one word "Help me, save me." What could that mean, he wondered?
The parable continues and somehow dissipates into pretty much of a nothing ending where the Dentist finds ultimate happiness by forgetting about the inscription, and not seeking its meaning any longer. Thus it is implied that not everything can be explained. Our tragic hero becomes impatient, annoyed and blurts out "So what happened to the Goy?" The Rabbi becomes dumbfounded, as if someone asked him a totally irrelevant question, and shrugged his shoulders saying "Who cares?"
So, with that parable, I thought of TRON, and while watching it I thought about the Goy even more so, the wisdom of the parable asking us to not bother because sometimes it's just not worth it. So, as I predicted originally about the then forthcoming TRON, the makers of this movie, whether writers, producers, directors, would attempt to add that very meaning which the "goy's teeth" parable had wisely asked us to ignore. Yes, the meaning, or shall I say the whaaat???
Let's face it, we are talking about an inner digital world within a computer software and hardware, where there is food being served, people acting like people, air, clouds, lightning, water, and more. Back then, in the first TRON, the words "user" and "program" were exotic, after all who knew what that meant? Nowadays, anyone with a basic Mac can open a terminal and type things like "sudo" or "user" or "whoami" and there is hardly a mystery, only a plain black, blue, or white screen.
So, as I watched the story unfold I had to pinch myself to be reminded of the "goy's teeth" because there is just no way that anyone can buy the story, not even a snippet of it, not one bit, nada, nyet, nothing! The original producer's recent comments that our indulgence in Facebook is tantamount to a living TRON-like world really misses the point, I'm sorry, it's a very noble and eloquent thought, but no thanks.
From a movie perspective, the true heir to the original TRON is actually the Matrix, and even that was not really plausible but had tons of relevant sociological implications about our world and leadership, yada yada, and thankfully, none of it surfaced. So, why couldn't the makers of this TRON have taken the cue that no explanation or moral "message" is required? Sadly, because things need dumbing down these days, and yes, I say sadly.
So, now I'm beyond all that, and after pinching myself multiple times thruought the movie to remind myself of the "Goy's teeth" I was blown away. This is a truly stunning visual movie accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack by Daft Punk that keeps things pulsing along, minus the episodes mentioned above, but keep pinching yourselves as well. The effects are extraordinary, exploiting the mathematical endless potentiality of grids and various dimensions offering a joyful sendup. The 3D added slightly, and sometimes came close to hindering, especially in the wide shots, showing the people as unreal insertions into the scene.
Jeff Bridges who has become legendary, mostly through the Coen brothers' "The big Lebowsky" is sadly being recalled as the lesser original TRON "hacker." (Did I already mention the Coen brothers above?) I would've much preferred a Jeff Bridges as the Big Lebowsky reincarnation, and they came close with the garb, but alas we got either Obe Wan Kenobe, or zen fighter master Bill, from Kill Bill, but probably mostly Obe Wan, sacrificing himself for the greater good and glory. Am I saying "Star Wars??" Perhaps the producers are envious of the "trilogy" effect of Star Wars and the superficial moral tales, "Luke I'm your father.." yada yada. Indeed the father son relationship looms large here, mostly lik an old, heavy iron chain adding plenty of dead weight.
But the game, ah! Sublime, truly and ultimately blissfull meaninglessness, thank you very much. Those awaiting the TRON game are the true heirs and beneficiaries of TRON, and why not, play on! The game in TRON is like the artwork that puzzles us with mystery, but oh stop me, don't try to get meaning here, and remember the "Goy's teeth."