So with father’s day passing recently and me thinking over my own ideas of Fathers and what it means to me to be a Father. I come back to this clip.
Back in the early 80’s I watched the first Tron movie and when I heard they were going to do a sequel, I rolled my eyes and sighed. Sequels so rarely work out…and especially when a movie is as old as Tron was.
I dismissed it and said a silent prayer that Disney knew what they were doing and forgot about it until it came out.
And once it did, I begrudgingly bought my ticket and went to see it…in 3d…why does everything have to be in 3d now? Stupid…stupid stupid. Oh well, it’s gonna suck anyway but I am curious. I’ll just live with the disappointment.
And it was brilliant. I had never been so wrong in my life. And the best scene in the entire move is the one I embedded above. It is one of the last scenes in the movie.
If you don’t know about it, I should give you a brief run down. Tron 2, like the original, takes place inside a computer. Inside a computerized world that was created when a programmer, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) wrote code for an entire computer system.
Flynn and his son Sam, are actually inside a digital landscape and among the computer programs they have written who actually walk, talk and interact with them as living beings.
In this scene, Flynn (Bridges) is trying to get his son Sam (Garret Hedlund) back to the “real world” along with a computer program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) via a portal.
Clu (a computerized model of Jeff Bridges) is a program that Flynn wrote to govern the whole computer system. And he is trying to stop them and obtain a digital key, in the form of a disk, from Flynn to continue working on finding a way to leave the computer system and invade the “real world”
I know that is a lot to understand but, the meaning of the scene above has so much more to do with being a Father than anything else.
Flynn, has Sam (his real life Son) and Clu (a digital being that he created whom he views like a son) to contend with here.
On one hand he is trying to get Sam back home alive and with the key so that Clu can’t get it. And on the other, he is refusing to give up on Clu even though he knows that he may not be able to turn him around.
Clu is trying desperately to make Flynn understand how hurt he is and how he feels like a failure.
Sam is trying to save his Father from Clu who he knows is a dangerous entity and is also trying to fulfill his Father’s wishes to take the key and Quorra back home safely.
Classic dilemmas rolled into one scene.
Whomever put this entire scene together did a remarkable job, the sound effects, music and dialog all go together perfectly.
From the very beginning, Flynn takes his roll as a father by sparing Sam the need to interact with Clu. “This is mine…” is what he says to him at the beginning. In those three words you can hear, “Son, i’m going to deal with this. I created this mess and I am going to fix it. You get yourself to that portal and get out of here. GO!”
I actually feel heartbroken for Clu when he begins talking, “I did everything you asked. I followed the plan completely” How many sons have had this same conversation with their fathers. We are expected to do things a certain way, to grow up a certain way….and achieve certain things. How often do we, did I, feel like a failure in that role.
“I know…I understand that now” Flynn answers. As a Father, I can relate to him so much better than I would if I had not been one. He sees how he has failed his Son and he is trying to make him understand it’s not his fault, He wants to say “I’m sorry I pushed you so hard.”
“I created the perfect system.”
“The problem with perfection is, it’s unknowable. It’s impossible but it is also right in front of us all the time. You didn’t know that because I didn’t, when I created you.”
It is important to understand, when Flynn created Clu, he didn’t have Sam. Now he understand what perfection is because he has had the life experiences of being a father and looking at the miracle of his Son.
Then he finally says it, “I’m sorry, Clu. I’m sorry”
From this point on, I pretty much get a lump in my throat the size of texas and my eyes keep watering.
Clu dismisses his apology. He was left alone for so long, by Flynn, that he no longer feels the same attachment that Flynn has for him.
A scuffle ensues, Sam rushes to defend his father.
Now what do you do? Both of your Sons are in a fight with each other and you can’t afford to let either of them lose.
“NO!” screams Flynn as Clu advances on Sam and Quorra, “Remember what you came here for.”
Clu decides to pursue the key and let Sam and Quorra go. They aren’t a threat to him anyway he can easily deal with them later.
As Clu rolls Flynn over and grabs the disc from his back, “I knew I beat you, and still you did all of this for him (Sam)?”
Clu stands up and activates the disk, it belongs to Quorra and was switched by Flynn earlier. Quorra has his and his has the key. Clu is outraged and horrified, they are on the other side of the breach and are going to escape with the key!
Flynn responds, “He’s my Son”
Clu, mad with anger, chases after Sam.
“NO!” Flynn screams. No your Son is being pursued by your other Son who you know is a manic and will not stop until he gets that key! What do you do now?
“GO! TAKE HER and GO!” He shouts to Sam
“I’m not leaving you!” Sam shouts back. But he knows in his heart that it is the only way to end this. And Flynn knows he will never see his Son again.
This is the most powerful scene in a movie, quite possibly, in any movie I have every seen.
It strikes at the very heart of what a Father wants for his Son and what a Son wants from his Father. In the end, the ultimate thing is Love.