I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t still feeling a little taken advantage of by ‘Tron: Legacy’. Even as a non ‘Tron’ fan, there was so much riding on the sequel that it was difficult not to be swept up in the whole experience. Sadly, I walked out of the film feeling more than under whelmed. ‘Legacy’ was all style and no substance. I never felt like anything was riding on our hero’s journey. Granted, the world was incredible but I felt like the filmmakers spent more time making it look cool than making it any good. When Disney announced they were animating The Grid and throwing it on TV, I have to admit I was apprehensive, yet intrigued. Everything I had seen regarding the show looked just as cool as ‘Legacy’ and they had even wrangled up a pretty exciting voice-cast including Tron himself, Bruce Boxleitner. I made sure to keep my anticipation in check as I pressed play on the first episode of ‘Tron: Uprising’. You can watch it, in full, below and read my thoughts on the episode. Do it, it’s good.
I was right; this world still looks cool. However, there seems to be some actual meat on these pretty little bones. ‘Uprising’ takes place in between the two feature films and exists in the same world. Clu is still the villain, unintentionally created by Kevin Flynn, and his lust for control rages on. However, our hero on The Grid is a young renegade mechanic named Beck, voiced by Elijah Wood. While ‘Legacy’, the film, takes place after this series, there is a very strong presence of the true legend Tron. Bruce Boxleitner, yet again, reprises his role as the pivotal character and gives the show its true gravitas. KIND OF A SPOILER ALERT FOR TRON: LEGACY. The computer world believes Tron met his end at the hand of Clu. However, Tron is in disguise as one of Clu’s henchman Rinzler (even though the name is never mentioned during this episode) and takes notice of Beck’s vigilantism as a mirror of himself. As Beck begins to wear the mark of Tron, as he fights back, the programs feel rejuvenated against Clu’s onslaught. When Rinzler captures Beck he reveals himself to his young man and they begin a partnership to take Clu’s forces head on.
Right off the bat I feel like would enjoy ‘Legacy’ more from just one pass through ‘Uprising’. We get an early look at Rinzler’s character and how it contradicts who he becomes in ‘Legacy’. While ‘Legacy’ almost completely forgets about its title character, ‘Uprising’ puts him front and center and he’s even sporting his old duds. So Awesome!! It also helps that Boxleitner is on board. I could listen to that guy read the phone book. All the trappings of the world created back in 1982 and updated in 2010 are all front and center and shinier than ever before. The character design, the vehicles and the games all look and feel great in the medium of animation. Let’s be honest though, that has never been an issue for the ‘Tron’ franchise. What always failed for me was the story.
It seems like, at least for know, the show will take place entirely in the computer. I like that and I hope I’m right about it. The entire idea of a person getting sucked into the main frame of the game always seemed weird to me. How can you, AND the program you created, specifically to live in this world, co-exist. I know it’s a work of fiction but your asking a lot of me right at the get go. For know, our hero and his villains are all of the same species. They are programs. Besides the familiar sounds of the epic and legendary Daft Punk arrangements from ‘Legacy’, we also get to meet a ton of cool new characters that I’m actually interested in seeing more of and learning how they fit into Beck’s journey of becoming the next Tron.
You win this round Disney, actually making a decent product has been in short supply…So, I’ll bite!