Replace Jimi Hendrix with Daft Punk

Posted on by MarcusB and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

This is one of the most electrifying movie scenes I’ve seen in awhile.

I first saw this in an IMAX theatre with my cousin and my brother. I rarely see movies in theatres that I like. And by rarely, I mean just about never. But Tron looked cool in the commercials so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Sitting in the enormous 3D IMAX theatre as the movie started, I felt something in the pit of my stomach as Daft Punk’s soundtrack started slowly but surely in the beginning scenes.

And then this scene happened. (spoiler) What happens before this scene is a young Sam, looking out his window wondering when his dad is going to come back. His grandmother calls for him to eat, after which a frustrated Sam runs out the house and rides his bicycle out in the rain with his grandmother calling after him.

Which then cuts to this scene. For the first few seconds, you don’t hear the other cars on the freeway or the engine of his Ducati. You only hear two things: Daft Punk’s awesome music and his grandmother calling his name from the distance as an older Sam speeds away, his problems too big for the rest of the world.

Next, you see him divert the police who try to catch him for speeding with pure genius. He turns off his light, speeds up in front of a truck, and exits off the ramp, never to be seen by the cops. So quick, so smooth, so sick. Later on, (spoiler) Sam tells his dad that he went to Caltech but dropped out.

To me, this movie scene did in a minute and 30 seconds what the current and past generations have tried to do their entire lives. James Dean and the Beats have nothing on this.
This was one of the YouTube comments:

“Remember taking a sick day off work to go see this. No one else around but me, so I went to the cinema on my own. Had been working late shifts all week.. not even a moment to myself.
When I sat down in the theatre and watched this.. it felt like freedom.. like release. Like I was watching what I wanted to do more then anything else right then, what we´╗┐ all want to do so often. Just get away.. from the world.. on a speeding motorbike. Chased by the man, only to give him the slip.. and escape.”

If this appeals to me, a 20 year old who is still in COLLEGE, then you can see how this appeals to a 30 something who is old enough to have grown up with the original Tron, who is young enough to understand technology and culture to appreciate this, and most importantly, who is old enough to understand that they are going to be working their desk job for a very long time.

Sometimes, it’s hard not to take that narcissistic fix.

The rest of the movie is awesome, despite the poor plot. Better than Disneyland for me. 

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16 Responses to Replace Jimi Hendrix with Daft Punk

  1. Pastabagel says:

    It seemed to me that the opening scene was cribbing the end of The Dark Knight, where Batman speeds through the ramps and overpasses of nighttime Gotham as Jim Gordon delivers a monologue about the noble lie that might as well have been written by Leo Strauss.

    Tron Legacy to me was a movie that could have been awesome, but ultimately failed because it couldn’t shake off its utter Disney-ness. Did it have to be about the son of the One/creator/User, i.e. God? Did it have to have those religious overtones?

    No. From the opening monologue about “the grid”, the contrast of the game grid to the wastelands outside the city, to the story about the emergent programs coming in out of the wastelands, and the references to games go and chess, I was expecting something considerably more postmodern, more Deleuzian. The film could easily ave presaged the uprisings in the Middle East. Instead, because it was Disney, it had to be about a saviour, the godhead, it had to have self-referential product placement, etc.

    • MarcusB says:

      I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t quite follow.

    • Guy Fox says:

      Deleuzifying it might have made it a more interesting movie, but it certainly would have been less marketable. Narratives without strong elements of creative agency are hard to swallow. Without a definitive and personal antagonist, catharsis becomes much harder to depict. There is also the nausea that comes from the realization that, if the force of darkness is the tyranny of small decisions, then anyone/everyone, including me, is at fault, rather than a clearly identifiable Other. Ditto explaining the Great Recession: it’s generally attributed to a litany of mutually exclusive causes so that each interest group can blame definite and separate Others (borrowers>regulators; regulators>lenders; lenders>borrowers). Everybody understands that rock is the mortal enemy of scissors, scissors of paper, and paper of rock, but most people go cross-eyed when you tell them that all three are culpable in the constitution and perpetuation of the game.

      The post-modern movies are the ones I’d be more interested in watching, but if someone wants me to invest in one, I’d prefer they stuck to Jack Woodford’s classic plot structure:
      Boy meets Girl.
      Girl gets Boy into Pickle.
      Boy gets Pickle into Girl.

    • Pastabagel says:

      The movie was plenty marketable but was something of a box office dud even with sticking to the old storylines. I’d argue it was a dud because it stuck to them. There’s a huge upswell among gen x and younger to challenge religion, to believe in “the wisdowm of crowds”,etc. I think films have to acknowledge this, even if they want to argue against it.

      Instead, disney, which is amssively invested in traditional stories and values, has to tell stories of saviours and self-sacrificiing wise old men, and boy meets girl but doesn’t actually get “his pickle into her” as you put it.

      Tron was a movie about a revolution in which nothing in the real world actually changed. It’s a disney revoltuion, in which the status quo remains intact.

      • Comus says:

        One could argue that a revolution that changes nothing ould be something generation X would find awesome. You get the merit badge of a revolutionaire, yet have no responsibility for the outcome. It’s a safe revolution, not dissimilar to a parental confrontation in the safety of a therapy session.

        One could also say that a revolution, a paradigm shift, would be the worst thing to happen to a revolutionary. Cue sans-culottes, Robespierre, quillotines, Napoleon. This of course only fits if the revolution and opposing the authority is the main motivation. If it is to install a new social order, and the revolution is only the means to this end, it’s a different game. The brand of revolutionaries just appear to be main motivation, not the end in and of itself.

  2. Minerva says:

    Knowing Ducatis I started watching the clip with great anticipation and the beginning looked promising. But the end was very anticlimactic. Just like real life.

  3. eqv says:

    Right. The rules (cops, etc) don’t apply to him, because he’s Special.

    The cinematography of the clip (?) actually reminds me a lot of that Diet Coke commercial that someone posted a while ago. * Soft focus, quick cuts, swelling music, cities at night. The general effect, at least to me, is that something nameless and awesome is being promised. It feels like release, like that first drink at 5.30pm on a Friday, the feeling that anything could happen, that anything is possible. You’re right: it’s seductive.

    I think it’s interesting to think about how prominently the Ducati brand (and the BMW the cop is riding) is displayed. I think this kind of product placement is going to get more and more overt in coming years, because nobody really pays to see movies anymore. So you can PirateBay all you want, but you still see the ads.


  4. bearpelt says:

    I liked this scene 25 percent more when we got to the artificial world. Disney hits you over the head with the “main character unknowingly had all the ‘training’ unstoppable force in the electronic world” trope.

    Ducati = light cycle, specifically Dad’s special white cycle.

    Highway = Grid lines.

    Off-ramp/docks = off the grid place where you need a cyber-hummer to get around.

    Awesomely, hipster loner pad on the docks = dad’s secret zen pad in the mountain thing.

    Daft Punk Song = Daft Punk Song (Hardcore Electronic Remix)

    The message is simple – buy a Ducati, impress Olivia Wilde.

  5. xylokopos says:

    Ahh, few things are as heart warming as a 20-year old rediscovering the wheel.

    However, kindly abstain from making statements about desk jobs until you have had one for a few years. You are way too young and ignorant to be this patronizing.

    PS. The movie is rubbish and the scene is nothing special and has been done at nauseam since at least the Easy Rider.

    • cat says:

      Well, I would have been tempted to remark that your comment was a tad on the patronizing side but then I re-read this bit of the original post:

      a 30 something …who is young enough to understand technology and culture to appreciate this

      And now I wholeheartedly endorse your comment. Gee, thanks college dude for saying people my age are still young enough to understand culture AND technology. I’m dreading the age (40?) when I will be too old to understand culture :(

      • MarcusB says:

        Xylokopos and cat, I reread what I wrote, and I completely didn’t mean to come off sounding like that. Sorry, I can see what you guys mean. I guess I just attempted to soud like TLP in that.
        Things probably would have been different had I left out my age.

    • MarcusB says:

      FWIW, I thought it was kinda cool. Maybe because I’m young and like Daft Punk and shiny lights.

      • xylokopos says:

        I remember seeing this movie called Twister, when it first came out, and it was the first time I saw a film in a movie theater with proper dolby surround sound. It blew my mind. Not just the sound effects for the tornadoes, but ALL sounds, I remember one scene where they were frying steak and eggs, I never thought a scene in a movie could SOUND like this. Thought it was the coolest movie of all times.

        Now I guess a film has to have ridiculous slo-mo fights and motion sickness inducing camera work and spastic editing and be released in 3D to be cool.

        • MarcusB says:

          I didn’t say that it was revolutionary or something I hadn’t seen before. The lights and music just happened to be done in a way that I liked. That’s all.

          One of the things I liked about the movie was the crappy plot. I didn’t have to focus on a story line.

          I hope you’re not going to say something like “Youth is wasted on the young.”

  6. mattwan says:

    eqv: The clip did remind me of a commercial. Not that Diet Coke commercial specifically, just advertising imagery in general; the money shot wasn’t the jump off the bridge, it was the revelation of which brand was being shilled for. The “guy having fun, authority figure intrudes, guy finds a clever escape” narrative reminded me of a Mentos commercial more than anything else.

    That’s actually the biggest objection I have to the post, which I think was well-written and probably well-intended: this 30-something Gen-Xer, at least, doesn’t identify with the rider and feel a yearning for his freedom and ability; everything in this clip is so familiar and even shopworn that I was instead distanced from the scene constantly.

    I was distanced by the similarity to TV commercials, which reminded me I was watching a constructed media product instead of drawing me in. I was driven further out by the rider’s escape ruse, which seemed less a brilliant ploy than a standard movie-hero move; I can’t think of a prior work that used his tactics exactly, but they all seemed pretty standard stuff. The jump that should have left him smeared across the roadway below completely broke my suspension of disbelief, but I think that might be a very personal objection.

    One thing our writer hasn’t yet had time to learn is that age doesn’t just bring many of us dissatisfaction with the realities that have trumped our dreams; it can also bring familiarity with the mechanics of spectacle. Even people who don’t sit around analyzing these things like PartialObjectivists still get bored with seeing the same old pieces pushed together in familiar configurations. Think of it in terms of porn: after consuming a ton of plain old p-in-v, people need start needing something more novel to get their jollies. That one of the generational characteristics of us 30-something Gen-Xers is overfamiliarity with media construction makes the author’s thesis, I believe, even less tenable.

    I don’t feel condescended to by the author. He’s working with what he’s been told to believe about the bleakness of desk jobs and the techno-ignorance of old people, and he hasn’t yet learned that these, too, are more media narratives than they are reality. I’m willing to cut him some slack for that.

  7. MarcusB says:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that I know everything about where 30 something year-olds stand or that I should be talking about desk jobs; I’m in no position to be talking about that, so I should’ve left that out.

    All I meant to say was that I think Tron came out at a time that would really appeal to the people who grew up with it.

    What I meant by young enough to appreciate technology was that, from what I’ve seen, music and TV that’s mostly catered to, say, teens and 20 year olds is starting to be consumed by older generations now. Let me give an example. A few years ago, I thought it was really weird when I saw a man with grey hair wearing vans shoes and a hurley sweater. Sure it should be insignificant, but younger me thought it was odd. I didn’t mean to imply that 30 year olds are now ancient people who can’t appreciate technology.