You don’t have to be a conspiracy buff to notice the none-too-subtle parallelisms between Disney’s new remake of Tron and Christian mythology. Intentional or coincidental? You decide…
The Top 10 List:
Tron versus Christianity
.(aka. The Theology of Technology)
First off, the “Holy Trinity” of Tron…
1. The Father / Creator – Kevin Flynn, the programmer/creator of the digital world of the Grid
2. The Son / Savior – Sam Flynn, only begotten son of the father, the archetypal messiah who came to their world to save it
3. The Holy Spirit – Quorra was the non-human member of the “Tron Trinity” (she was an ISO) who was the confidante/messenger/sidekick and most importantly, embodied the love of the Father (who loved her as a daughter) and Son.
Other important archetypal characters:
4. The Fallen Angel – like Lucifer, CLU was the source of conflict in their world. He couldn’t create his own minions, only the Creator can. He could only corrupt existing programs to his side. But as was later revealed, he was only doing what he was created to do.
5. The Traitor – like the Judas archetype, the movie also had its traitor in the character of Zuse who sold the protagonists off and also died without having benefited from his ill-gotten gains.
6. Humanity- the ISO’s (Quorra’s race) are obviously a metaphor for mankind, described as innately imperfect but possessing great potential. They were the catalyst for the conflict between Flynn and CLU. In biblical lore, Lucifer revolted when he refused to serve mankind, thinking them below his station. In Tron lore, CLU saw them as aberrations in the perfect world he was tasked to create.
And miscellaneous bits of flavor details which have their counterpart in Christian mythology:
7. The Soul – like the Discs on their backs, entities in the Grid have their “essence” separate from their physical selves. It held their life-force, it was their greatest weapon and most precious possession.
8. The Last Supper – one would wonder why they would have to even “eat” when they’re in a digital world… but like the Last Supper, it was more to foreshadow the conflict to come.
9. The Garden of Eden – Notice the “apple” that CLU discovers in the room when he finally breaches Flynn’s refuge in the Outlands… a reference to the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. It was the place where the Creator rested and meditated. Quorra was his digital “Eve”… protected, nurtured and maintaining a pure innocence. The conflict finally escalates after the snake has entered the garden.
There are actually 2 different allegorical forms of redemption shown in the movie:
- The warrior Rinzler, who was later revealed to be the original Tron from the first movie, was corrupted by CLU to serve in his army. But upon meeting Sam (the Savior), repents and sought absolution for his crimes. It builds upon mythical “fall of man from grace” complete with the irksome Catholic twist that you “need” Jesus to save you.
- Sam, the allegorical Jesus, also fulfills his role as the biblical “New Adam”. Together with Quorra (the digital “Eve”), they flee the doomed Grid world to start anew. It was a rather clever bit of allegorical writing since he fits the criteria of the mythological archetype because he was a “user” and literal son of the Creator, thus free from the imperfection and limitations of the other programs and ISO’s in the Grid world. The only inconsistency was that it was his father’s death, not his own, that purchased their salvation.
With so many biblical references buried within the storyline, one would expect the religious crowd to grow fond of this movie like they did with the Narnia series (where Jesus was a friggin’ lion! *Rowr*)
Actually, the sentiments were quite the opposite. If you trawled through the online discussions about the movie, some very vocal Christian critics were appalled or even offended by the movie.
So what has gotten them so riled up about the movie?
- The “Creator” is portrayed as helpless and impotent, trapped within his own creation and forced into a stalemate by something of his own making. In fact, he had to sacrifice himself in the end to negate the threat posed by CLU. Imagine the implication that the ultimate creator is just at par with the arch nemesis he himself created. *ouch*
- CLU was just following what he was created to do – that is, to help create the perfect world. In order to achieve his primary objective, he had to get rid of the innately imperfect ISO’s. It wasn’t pride or personal ambition that drove him to usurp power from the Creator, it was his programming – it required him to do everything that is necessary to ensure perfection in their world, even if it meant the genocide of all the ISO’s. And therein lies the ultimate blame – the Creator’s own bad programming of his chief steward.
- The ISO’s weren’t even created by Flynn intentionally. They were accidental beings whose genesis was spontaneous and unplanned.
No. They manifested. The conditions were right and they came into being.
– Kevin Flynn
Evolution vs. Intelligent Design?
But at least Flynn recognized their great potential and sought to keep them despite their “imperfection”, at least in the eyes of CLU who saw them as flawed because unlike him who was literally made in the image and likeness of the Creator, they were creatures of chance (or perhaps of natural selection) instead of design.
- If Quorra were the new “Eve” then that would make Sam her “Adam”. But he was already playing the archetypal “Messiah” role. And we already know from the “Da Vinci Code” what happens when Hollywood tries hint at the notion of Jesus in a love team… Jesus and Mary Magdalene? Ooh, the righteous indignation! Jesus and Eve? Sacrilege!