If you ask me, you can never have too much Tron and thankfully Disney is thinking the same thing. Tron: Uprising is a new cartoon that takes you back into the computer.
My own Tron legacy
I’m not old enough to remember when Tron was in the theatres but it was one of the first movies I latched onto as a child along with Star Wars and The Black Hole. I’m not sure if it was the “cool” neon that attracted me to Tron or if it was the computer animation but I became a Tron fan for life. Now scoot ahead almost 30 years and Tron was finally revisited with the feature film Tron: Legacy.
I admit that I had some poser resentment when it came to Tron Legacy. Here was a franchise I loved and a movie that shaped part of my childhood coming back into vogue for a whole new generation of sci-fi fans and moviegoers…but wait, how can they love Tron? They don’t remember the first Tron, they probably haven’t even seen it! But Tron Legacy came anyway and it wasn’t too bad. I can’t say it was the second coming of Tron I wanted to see but it wasn’t a bad movie. I was just happy to have some more Tron to geek out over, but there was only one problem with Tron Legacy…Tron wasn’t in it!
Okay, so Tron was in it but only to the point where it didn’t really matter. I remember leaving the theatre wondering why they even included “Tron” in the title. The movie stood on its own without the Tron character at all. Of course, if you look at the original Tron, he wasn’t in that much either but at least the character was important to the story. Tron had become a real Kaiser Soze. But now two years after Tron Legacy, the Tron universe is finally coming to television in the form of Tron: Uprising, a new cartoon on the Disney XD channel.
Tron Uprising premieres today, but I caught the first pre-episode and liked what I saw. You’ll see more of Tron in this cartoon than in both feature films combined! Tron Uprising acts as a prequel series to Tron Legacy, explaining how the Tron-verse got overtaken by Clu and the Red Team of evil computer programs. The origin episode (which you can watch on YouTube below) explains how Tron got the crap kicked out of him when Clu started to overthrow the digital world and has been in hiding since. One of the Blue Team programs, Beck, wants to see Clu and his goons leave the system just like everyone else, but unlike all the others, Beck tries to do something about it. He goes guerrilla and starts fighting the army of General Tesler, Clu’s own Darth Vader. Tron sees that Beck wants to fight the good fight and passes the torch, declaring Beck to be the next Tron…a younger, better Tron that can save the digital world from Clu.
I like the concept behind the story, but I’ll be interested to see how the plot line of a “new” Tron plays out since in Tron Legacy, Tron is clearly the original Tron, not some youthful Tron. Tron Uprising looks really good from an animation standpoint that sits somewhere between Aeon Flux and newer computer animated stuff like The Clone Wars. It’s not entirely 3D rendered like Star Wars but you’ll notice some cool cel shading and the action sequences are plentiful and well done, combining the best of both worlds. It’s a lot of fun to watch…assuming you don’t mind all the neon and lights. It’s also nice to see some new characters, each with their distinct visual style. In both movies everyone kind of followed the same dress code and even body type but Uprising adds more women to the mix as well as fat guys, skinny guys, kids, adults and who knows, maybe even pets.
I’m sucker for Tron
The Tron name alone was enough to get me interested in the cartoon and I wasn’t expecting much, but Uprising was a pleasant surprise. If the rest of the series keeps up with the prelude episode then the entire season should be a great ride to watch. I think Tron lends itself to being an animated show because there is so much more you want to see happen in the Tron world that just isn’t practical in a movie. The story in Tron Legacy wasn’t bad but it wasn’t quite the story I had created in my head. Uprising finally gives me the chance to see things that have only existed in my own Tron universe for the better part of 30 years. The only thing I can hope for in Uprising is that they include some throwback Tron somewhere along the line…maybe an old-style light cycle or some other iconic feature that maybe the kids watching won’t get, but older fans like myself will appreciate. Although part of this is done just by the fact that Bruce Boxleitner is the voice of old Tron, which is only proper. I didn’t know this fact prior to catching the first episode and when I heard his voice it gave me the same happy feeling inside that I got when I heard the voice of Optimus Prime return in the new movies and cartoons. It just feels like everything is right with the world.
I have high hopes for Tron Uprising. Part of that is the fanboy talking, but the other part is someone that continues to look for and enjoy good cartoons. With dozens of channels catering to the cartoon needs of children, teens and adults, it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff and find some cartoons that are enjoyable for everyone. I can watch Tron Uprising as a long time Tron fan while accepting that this cartoon might be some kid’s first introduction to Tron, and if it is, I think I’m okay with that. I can only hope that Uprising might cause some kid somewhere to look to the past and find the original Tron movie and fall in love with it just like I did.