Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Tron Legacy" as a Christian Metaphor

A couple of years ago I rummaged through a collectors toy store and found an old VHS copy of the original 'Tron" Disney film from 1982 not expecting that either of my boys would like it, but surprisingly, my then 11 year old watched it transfixed and then watched it several times over the next week or so. My younger son has been anxiously awaiting the new "Tron Legacy" Film so we headed to the multiplex today for his 13th birthday.
The original "Tron" was not a fav. of mine I have to admit, mostly because watching bad acting with guys in white knit suits and hats that resembled olympic hockey helmets with lights on them was too nerdy for me even in '82.
The Idea however of "Tron" did have a fascination for me and quite a few of my musician, electronics geek pals. Where I parted company with them was because of the incredibly bad special effects that were available in that decade.
As my son and I got our 3-d glasses on (for an extra $4 I might add) I knew this film was going to be much different. What I didn't expect was a lesson in using high tech film as an analogy for Christian theology and allegorical biblical storytelling.
The original Tron held a cult fascination for geekdom because a human, in this case Jeff Bridges gets zapped into his Computer by a laser and he navigates a digital, microchip world populated with "Programs" that look like humans that can be evil or good. (They also get to ride the coolest digital motorcycles seen on film).
"Tron Legacy" takes the concept quite a bit further when the son of Jeff Bridges enters his fathers computer grid world once again looking for his dad and also his own identity, which has escaped him since his fathers disappearance.
The Christian analogies hit me about half way through when the "son" comes back into the digital world to save it from the evil clone created by Jeff Bridges. The father obviously loves his son and is willing to sacrifice to save both worlds. Another metaphor is satan disguised as Jeff Bridges clone program (eerily made to look like Jeff Bridges of 25 years ago with incredible CGI) created to make the digital world more perfect, but then maliciously takes over with the ultimate goal of "perfecting" not only the digital world but the real world as well.
I think Disney's writers are also trying to make a statement about those that attempt to create a perfect world through force even if it cannot be done to the detriment of society. The analogy to totalitarian regimes of the past and present is very obvious to this moviegoers eyes.
To this believer, the allegory was inescapable. Whether Disney's screenwriters had this in mind or not is hard to say, and that could be a topic for a whole different blog.
Jeff Bridges (the father) sums up well what we can take away from "Tron Legacy" in his statement "I'm sorry, I was trying to create perfection... But it was right in front of me the whole time".

Remember, I'm just the Sax Player. :)

1 comment:

  1. Tron: with Pastor James Harleman [November 19, 2010]