Tron: Legacy vs. the Bechdel Test

Hello, readers (if we still have any…) and Happy New Year!

One of my many resolutions is to write more often.  One way I’ve decided to do this is to apply the Bechdel Test to every movie I see in theaters this year and write it up for BTW.  The Bechdel Test, for those of you who’ve been living in a cave, has three rules.  In order to pass this test, a movie must (1) have two or more named female characters, (2)  that talk to each other, (3) about something other than a man or shoes.  My first contender this year?  Tron: Legacy.

Date night this week finally featured Tron: Legacy, the much-anticipated sequel to Disney’s groundbreaking 1982 film, Tron, which I’m convinced Disney’s thrown back into its infamous vault. But I digress. Does the sequel pass the test?

(1) Does the movie have two or more named female characters?
Yes, though barely. There are precisely two female characters with names and speaking parts: Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an ISO who has been taken in by Kevin Flynn as a sort of surrogate child; and, Gem (Beau Garrett), one of the sirens who gives Sam his disc and prepares him for the Games when he enters the Grid. There’s also the secretary of ENCOM, another siren, and Sam’s grandmother who each deliver a line or two.

(2) Do the female characters talk to each other? (3) About something other than a man or shoes?
NOPE.
Siren #3 says to Gem that Sam is “different.” Once the sirens are gone, Quorra is the only woman we see onscreen. While I loved Wilde’s charming yet courageous portrayal of Quorra (and somewhat reminiscent of Bridget Moynhan’s Susan Calvin from I, Robot), I couldn’t help thinking that she was a bit under-utilized.
Seriously, screenwriters? You couldn’t turn the security guard from ENCOM or some of the contenders in the Games or Clu’s minion or any of the other billion dudes into ladies? Come on.

Even though Tron: Legacy failed the Bechdel Test, I still managed to remain entertained. It was visually appealing; I enjoyed the costumes, the futuristic technology, the stark contrasts.  I loved the creativity inherent in the creation and depiction of a brand new world– from small details like hairstyles and colors used in the costumes to huge ones, such as the ships and motorcycles used and the layout of the Gaming stadium.  The soundtrack, and cameo provided by Daft Punk themselves, was dramatic and grand– reminding me of a cross between Inception, the Dark Knight, and Discovery. Did I wish there were more women?  Absolutely.  But what can I say, I’m a sucker for sci-fi…

Have you seen Tron: Legacy? What were your thoughts?

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One response to “Tron: Legacy vs. the Bechdel Test

  1. I have not seen it, but am excited to. We covered presence and brains, so what about how women are being used as sex objects even in speaking roles-there should be something about that in the test.

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