Well, I’ve only just started and already I’m breaking with my original plan. Like I said in Blog time! I was going to kick off with a post about Bruno Schulz and I still plan to do this, but first, I’m going to take a moment to talk about Disney XD’s new show TRON Uprising.
I have been waiting for this show for a little while now without any real excitement. I wanted to see it simply because, I like cartoons, and I like Tron. In fact, I’m part of the minority that actually liked TRON Legacy.
Anyway, I just managed to catch the first two episodes of TRON Uprising so wanted to share my thoughts.
Firstly lets talk about the story, I’m not going to bother giving any background and just talk about the immediate story. Uprising takes place when CLU 2 (from TRON Legacy) tries to invade Argon city and a young engineer program Beck decides to masquerade as Tron and fight back.
The shows story holds the rebellious feel of the original firmly in its palm. The first episode begins with quite a statement as Clu rides into town and literally drops a big statue of himself in the middle of a playing field. It’s all very Stalin-esque. From here, Beck takes on the TRON mantle and blows up said statue in an act of defiance, which attracts the attention of baddies and a certain titular program, who decides to take Beck as his little Jedi Padawan. Ben and Luke are not the only parallels here though – it also brought to mind the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond. And actually TRON Uprising is not a hundred miles from Batman Beyond in terms of tone, which to me can only be a good thing. Anyway, from here we are treated to a lot of revolutionary speak. I especially enjoyed the use of the phrase “Actions have consequences. But so does inaction”.
The Light-Cycles are AWESOOOOOME!
The characters seem good, and I think they will prove to be more complex than simply faces for the show. I’m especially interested in femme-fatale Paige and her relationship with Beck. The writers have hinted that she has a dark past and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
One thing I must say though, the women in the show seemed to be shot kind of…strangely. Lots of arse-shots. The baddies are all sultry and seductive and even nice girl Mara is subjected to that pesky male gaze. It’s not overly distracting, but very noticeable. I’m not trying to say anything by mentioning this…just noticed it is all.
“Oh Noes…You caught me in the middle of bending over!”
In terms of style, this show is AWESOME! I really thought watching the previews this was going to be a love song to Legacy, but actually it’s not. Yes, a lot of Legacy’s style is carried across, but there is a much stronger sense of the original TRON than I was expecting, with some wonderful little nods such as the inclusion of a retro Light-Cycle and Bit, from the scene with the original Clu. The scene where the programs are in holding cells waiting to join the games was super reminiscent of some scenes in TRON.
All the glowing lights and stuff are treated masterfully and look beautiful. In general the backgrounds of the show are wonderfully designed and rendered.
The style of the characters is strange though, everything’s very long and gangly and I must admit I laughed at the length of TRON’s head. Very funny.
This does take a little while to get used to and I wasn’t overly convinced by it to begin with. However, once the characters start jumping, rolling and running you see why the animators made this choice, the long limbs and sheer length of the bodies really do lend themselves to the action.
And that’s another thing. The action is excellent. Very smooth and fast. I think if the show retains this quality of action scenes then we’re in for something very special indeed.
Just a quick side note in relation to the action – I like the way death is dealt with in these two episodes. Like in Legacy when programs are ‘de-rezzed’ they explode into a bunch of pixels. Considering TRON will always be a bit about programs beating each other up in cool ways in the games, it’d be easy to treat this as merely an effect. But in TRON Uprising the consequences of this are felt. When a character is de-rezzed they die, not merely vanish in a puff of pixels, and we feel it. I think this was felt the most in episode two during the games. Firstly, the terror of the programs before entering the ring was well handled, the line “have you ever seen someone get de-rezzed? It’s disgusting!” helped lend the situation a bit of gravity and when that speaker was killed his scream and slow motion de-rezz was a little eye-opening, if not shocking.
The first episode Beck’s Beginning is a bit…well, mental. I was convinced I was going to have a seizure whilst watching it due to all the quick cuts and fast paced story telling. I did quite enjoy the episode but it was fast. Very fast. In 30 minutes we have invasions, acts of rebellion, new antagonists introduced, new heros introduced, light-cycle battles, light-disk battles, kidnappings, rescues, twists, turns and plots-a-plenty…sigh…
I remember thinking ‘well, I wanted to like that but I do hope they lay off the cocaine for further episodes’. I have since learnt that this episode was aired as 10 microsegments online! So that explains the speed of it all. And just as I wished, the second episode is a little more chilled out, but no less action packed.
In general TRON Uprising seems good. It’s mature and relatively dark. The action is great, and I’m hoping the characterization proves to be as well thought out as I think it will. The music is good and takes its cues from Daft Punk’s score for Legacy. I should also mention the voice acting. It’s good. And TRON is voiced by none over than BRUCE BOXLEITNER! The origional TRON! Also, Elijah Wood is Beck…But BRUCE BOXLEITNER! Quite honestly, there are some slight bugs with the story, either being a bit simple at times or not wholly making sense, but hopefully it’ll straighten out in no time. And even with inconsistencies in the story, the show’s visuals more than make up for it at this early stage. These episodes were a really great start to the show, and if the quality keeps up, I’ll be a fan.