Tron: Legacy

by Charles Miller on December 29, 2010

Scene: a writers’ meeting in the production offices of Tron: Legacy.


I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.


What’s the problem? You’ve got a cult children’s movie from 1982 about computers. Update it so it’s more Matrix-y and let the effects department take care of the rest.


That’s just it. It’s a children’s movie from 1982. Do you have any idea how much more the average audience-member knows about computers today compared to thirty years ago? None of the core premises of the movie—the Grid, the programs—makes any sense in today’s computer literate world.

I’ve got a workable plot lined up: father-son dynamic, rebellion inside the computer, a Messiah angle, the whole Matrix thing, but the moment I try to explain any of it I can hear myself losing the audience.

Even the visuals are wrong. We’re building a graphical nostalgia for a style of video game that disappeared twenty years ago.


Then don’t explain it.


(stares blankly)


Be as deliberately vague as possible. Don’t explain anything in more than the most oblique terms. Every time you get the urge to tell the audience what something is, what it does or why it’s there, stop.

If you need to do any exposition do it in a flashback, fudge it as much as you can. Then turn up the soundtrack and the rough edges will get lost in the next action sequence.


That just might work…

Previously: Tomorrow Never Knows

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