Why I love hockey and hate movie sequels

Thursday, I watched the movie Tron Legacy. Never mind that there were 13 perfectly good hockey games on Center Ice last night–I really wanted to see the new Tron flick, and finally had the chance to do so. I loved the original Tron from 1982, and could not wait to see what an updated take on this film would be like.

Well, I hated it.

I probably have not hated a sequel this much since Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice. Sure, I hated the Star Wars prequels (which were really sequels)  and The Matrix sequels, but at least those gave me something to hang my proverbial hat on. That was not the case with Tron Legacy, which could have done anything but decided to do nothing except look good. No plot, no interesting characters and no emotional investment needed by the viewers.

It is films like Tron Legacy that grow my dislike for pop culture franchises. My interest for such stories like Star Wars, Transformers, etc. etc. has eroded away over the years, leaving me with hockey as the only subject I am passionate about.

And I’m OK with that.

For some time, I tried to understand why my prior obsessions have dissolved.Here is the parallel that I have drawn:

  • When your hockey team is a disappointment, that’s the fault of the players the management, or both. If the Washington Capitals don’t make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s their own fault. It wasn’t scripted that way. It’s just reality.
  • When a movie like Tron Legacy or Slap Shot 2 is a disappointment, it is usually the fault of the producers, directors or writers, amongst others. Someone high above made boneheaded decisions with profitability in mind. We make an emotional investment in the story or characters, but sooner or later are let down.

With sports, you still get a “story.” It might not be the story you had hoped for, i.e. your team loses the game or championship, but at least it is real. And every year is a new story–a sequel if you will. Win or lose, it writes itself the way it was meant to be.

One other thought…the characters in the original 1982 Tron movie were wearing hockey helmets. It’s true. Check out how OPC-era airbrushed cards match up against Tron characters.

If he lost the chin strap, Brent Ashton (left) would look ready to join Flynn (right) in the fight against the Master Control Program.

The “reflections” added to Chris Kotsopoulos’s recolored helmet (left) resemble the glowing highlights of the Program’s helmet (right).

Additional Reading:

  • Rewind: TRON (PDF) – A magazine article I wrote about why the original film is still significant 28 years later.

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *