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June 27, 2012 / milesandhisfavorites

Do We Need A Tron TV Show?

Tron: Legacy is one of my favorite movies of all time.  The special effects were great, the action was great, and the pacing was… okay, the pacing wasn’t very good, but that’s excusable.  So you can imagine that I was excited when Disney announced that it was making a TV show based on the movie-Tron: Uprising.  And when I watched the premiere episode… well, it wasn’t exactly what I had been hoping for.  This is my two cents on the subject!

First, let’s start with the story.  For those of you who don’t know about Tron, look it up!  Basically, the show doesn’t take place in Tron City, but I’ll get to that later.  It takes place in Argon City, which has just been invaded by Clu’s forces, headed by General Tessler and a couple of second-in-commands named Paige and Pavel.  We follow the story of Beck, a mechanic by day and vigilante disguised as Tron by night.  Well, there’s really no difference on the Grid, but you get the point.  He’s also being trained by the presumed dead Tron to free the Grid from Clu’s reign.

While Tron: Uprising wasn’t what I had been hoping for, there are many parts that I like.  The aforementioned story is fresh and interesting.  Unlike the two movies, we have sort of a Luke and Yoda thing going on here.  That’s neat.  While I have some complaints about Tessler (which we’ll get to in a minute), Paige and Pavel are sly, interesting villains, and Paige especially has some good lines.  The soundtrack, even though most of it is obviously remixed from Legacy, is pretty good.  But the best part about this show is the action scenes.  Oh my God, the action scenes are terrific.  The animation is seamless and fluid, and the acrobatic style works really well.

But now for the stuff I don’t like, and there’s quite a bit.  While the story is original, the setting is a little 0ff-putting.  Yes, I know they’re trying to start fresh (it’s not entirely known whether or not Uprising is part of the Tron canon), but why Argon City?  It works, but not incredibly well.  Also, we get maybe half a dozen minor characters thrown at us in the first episode, and one of them is killed off within-and I’m really not kidding here-seven minutes.  I wouldn’t have a huge problem with it, except that WE DON’T EVEN GET THEIR NAMES IMMEDIATELY.  Look, in the first episode, Beck narrates about how peaceful life was until Clu showed up.  Can we get an introduction to some of these guys?  It’s a little confusing!

The art style is also a problem.  While the elongated limbs lends itself well to the action scenes, just take a look at this photo from Legacy:

And now look at this photo from Uprising:

Yes, I know, you couldn’t afford live action for every episode, but come on, Disney!  At least try to do something a little more photo-realistic!  You’re the biggest entertainment empire on the planet!  Another complaint I have has to do with the main villain, Tessler.

General Tessler is Clu’s second-in-command, and looks like this:

General Tesler.png

Admittedly, he doesn’t have a back story or motivation (other than severe loyalty to Clu), but he’s decent enough.  But what really gets me are his hands.  He can actually extend his hands to extreme lengths.  Dude, you are not Mr. Fantastic!  It’s interesting, but it brings up a major plot hole.  It goes like this: in one scene during the premiere, Tessler is holding Beck over the edge of a skyscraper.  Ignoring the fact that for some reason he doesn’t just drop him as soon as he has him, why couldn’t Beck just grab his Identity Disc and cut Tessler’s hands off?  Even if it didn’t de-rezz him, it would still seriously hurt him!

Considering all of this, I still have to give Tron: Uprising credit.  It’s a worthwhile attempt to tell another story on the Grid, and expand the Tron universe.  And, to be honest, it does that perfectly well.  What works really works, but what doesn’t work really doesn’t work.  With that in mind, on a scale of one to ten, Tron: Uprising earns a solid 6.5.  It’s worth a watch, but if you like accurate art styles and non-exaggerated villains, this show may not be what you’re looking for.  As a side note, Fred Tatasciore as Clu, even if the guy only has one line, is absolutely perfect.  I mean, the guy sounds just like him!

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