‘TRON: Uprising’ Series Premiere Review

Published 3 years ago by

Tron Uprising promo Disney XD TRON: Uprising Series Premiere Review

From the onset, TRON: Uprising has a lot going for it. The animated series boasts a truly impressive cast of actors lending their voices to the denizens of the Grid – as well as a look and feel that pushes the series beyond the normal animated fare currently on television.

Unlike programs such as Young Justice, Green Lantern: TAS or even Disney XD’s recently launched Ultimate Spider-Man, TRON: Uprising is working with an underdeveloped mythos in a world that has been briefly explored by film narratives intent on seeing human characters escape from the confines of the Grid, rather than explore it. While initially narrow in its scope, TRON: Uprising does offer an intention to peel back the layers both feature films left largely untouched.  And for people who were expecting more from TRON: Legacy, this animated program certainly seems ready to fit the bill.

For starters, Uprising looks amazing and the character design is truly fantastic. But does that mean the series has anything more to offer than something pretty to look at? Well, yes and no. Unlike its feature-film predecessors, Uprising has some extraordinary action and dynamic fight choreography (such as a disc battle atop a speeding train with illuminated signs whizzing past). Here, in the world of computer animation mixed with traditional cell shading, the light trails of the speeding machines and the highlights of everyone’s suits play against the simple, monochromatic black of the rest of their bodies. Uprising’s character design is its biggest attribute; it is distinctive and stylish, and it works. Each character is defined either by broad shoulders or impossibly long legs (or a combination of the two), which serve to accentuate their bizarrely lanky, yet decidedly fluid bodies.

Every character has a unique, slightly alien look to his or her design. The main character, Beck (Elijah Wood), feels like the quintessential hero – barring a slight resemblance to Morrissey – while the majority of his male acquaintances seem to have more of an outlandish, one-of-a-kind quality to their faces. Meanwhile, the female character design is where the aesthetic really defines itself. Mara (Mandy Moore), Paige (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Perl (Kate Mara) have their personality seemingly defined by the composition of their faces. Mara is bright, adventurous and optimistic, while the other two maintain a more sinister, dangerously alluring appeal – one obscures half of her face with a slightly androgynous hairstyle, and the other is one step away from becoming a smoldering femme fatale.

Mara Mandy Moore Tron Uprising TRON: Uprising Series Premiere Review

The lion’s share of the credit for any early success of Uprising is due to art director Alberto Mielgo, and character designer Rob Valley – the artist behind the equally impressive Gorillaz music videos. If some of the character movements and body styles seem familiar, it’s because Valley also worked on MTV’s Aeon Flux, which the producers have claimed was an influence on Uprising from the start.

But Uprising’s design isn’t limited merely to the “programs” we are meant to form an attachment with. The show’s aesthetic allows the creators to offer some new designs and tricks that weren’t seen before in either of the previous films; namely, that of frenetic action set pieces illuminated by the walls of light cycles or simply the luminescence of each individual’s body suit. In one particular sequence, Beck and fellow prisoner Cutler (Lance Reddick, Fringe) are tethered to one another and must do battle with three light cycles for the pleasure of a massive audience and the series’ main antagonist, General Tesler (Lance Henriksen). The sequence is thrilling and moves at a good clip (this is a half-hour program, after all), but it also works to shrug off the mostly languid approach to action both of the feature films had.

Beyond looking great, what does TRON: Uprising have to offer fans of the series? Well, initially, the thought of watching what would ultimately be a failed revolution against Clu (Fred Tatasciore) might come across as somewhat pointless. After the pilot episode ‘Beck’s Beginning’ and now the series premiere, however, Uprising has developed into the familiar, but still quite alluring tale of a seemingly ordinary individual rising to meet his destiny. The story is so simple, effective and inviting, that it causes one to wish the premise of Uprising had become the plot for Legacy.

Tron Uprising Disney XD TRON: Uprising Series Premiere Review

The series is now set to develop its own mythos that ties into the already established lore of the TRON universe. What’s interesting is that without a truly human component (i.e. either of the Flynn boys) acting as the stranger or sage of the Grid, the programs are allowed to go about their own storylines. They are free from having to deal with an interloper desperate to escape the confines of their world, and that serves to make each program all the more interesting. No longer are they background characters, obliviously carrying on while a tyrant and a human battle for the future of their world; they are now active participants in the future of the Grid. Perhaps this view is a tad over-ambitious for a series like Uprising - but to be honest, in two half-hour segments, an animated program has managed to craft a more intriguing premise filled with more distinctive characters than were found in Legacy.

Throw in a rich, moody score by Joe Trapanese that is at once reminiscent of Batman Begins while still very much embedded in the TRON universe, and TRON: Uprising is shaping up to be a memorable addition to a series many had thought long past its prime. As it stands, TRON: Uprising may afford fans an exploration into the possibilities of not only the Grid, but of the larger TRON universe as well.


TRON: Uprising airs Thursdays @9pm on Disney XD.

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  1. Partial Spoiler Alert:

    any one thinks beck can become Rinzler from Tron legacy, i coudent help but think that the whole time, just a thought

    • Good Point!! When I saw him, i thought the same but I think they mentioned on the movie that Tron was Rinzler. But I could be wrong. Makes me wanna go watch Tron:Legacy again. Love the animation on this.

      • I don’t think Rinzler is Beck, wouldn’t make sense since Kevin Flynn said it was Tron and not any other program.

        I think Uprising is like Mortal Kombat: Konquest (If you remember the end).

      • rinzler is tron, it tells you in legacy. at the end rinzler remembers who he really is and says “i fight for the users” which if you saw the original is what tron said so rinzler is tron just turned bad :D

      • So people dont seem to understand. TRON is Rinzler, back when clu took over he turned TRON over to his side but at the end of legacy thats when rinzler remembers who he really is and briefly turns good again

    • I think that Uprising series will end in tron being completely transformed by the scars and maybe as of CLUs doing into Rinzler killing Beck and taking his disc (in movie rinzler got 2 discs his and maybe Becks)the uprising anyway will prevail Beck.

  2. Don’t have XD so I will have to miss out for some time.

    I get a cool Batman Beyond vibe from the last image in the post.

    • The pilot, first, and second episodes are already available for download from iTunes for free.

      • Sweet. Thanks!

  3. Is Tron actually in this thing this time?

    Not a fan of the Manga crap but I have high hopes for the series

    • Yes, he trains Beck. He is voiced by the actor who played him in the original film.

  4. Tron is Rinzler, in Legacy, Tron is also in the show and trains Beck in assuming the Mantel of Tron. In the first episode Beck is Captured by Rinzler, whom reveals himself as Tron.

  5. Oh please. I loved the two Uprising episodes that I’ve seen too, but the author of this article is really reaching saying that “in two half-hour segments, an animated program has managed to craft a more intriguing premise filled with more distinctive characters than were found in Legacy”. Beck is a mechanic who is unsure of his future and wants to rid the grid of Clu and Tesler to save his friends. Sam was a child who was unsure of his future after he lost his dad and also wanted to rid the grid of Clu to save his dad and go home. Yeah, similar premise. It’s ok to call Uprising good without dogging on Legacy. Get over yourself.

    • Legacy just didn’t have enough of the action of Uprising, and very few characters to understand.

  6. I loved the pilot episode. Which means Disney will lose patience with it after one year and cancel it. Just watch and you’ll see what I mean.

    • You were right, Flash. Disney decided not to renew it for the second season. It’s cancelled.

  7. This is such a refreshing new angle to the Tron universe! I have been waiting for something like this for a LONG TIME!! and really look forward to the series..

  8. it’s GOOD = Canceled ! :(

    • LOL!

  9. SERIOUSLY! ease up on the music score. You DO NOT NEED TO FILL EVERY SECOND WITH SOUND. it got so annoying i stopped half way through the first episode. Silence really can be golden. It sounded like every moment was going to be some kind of special scenario.

  10. So far, I am really enjoying this cartoon. I would just like to see a little more action from the real Tron, however, instead of his young upstart/replacement, Beck. For those interested in viewing, you can find the episodes available for free on-line viewing at the Disney website.

  11. Liked the pilot and love the art style of the animation. As the series continues though it seems obvious that Disney’s pandering to their kids network has sort of in my opinion stripped the mythology of the original Tron story. No references to the Users and the Programs seem very well human like. The only thing tying Uprising to Legacy is Tron and CLU’s regime. Maybe they should of just called it “The Grid” and said it was loosely based on Tron because that’s what it is…

  12. Could Beck and Tron somehow fuse near the end of the series? Or rather somehow Beck gets Tron’s memories from his disc?

  13. i av only watched the premier, which i heard was a accumilation of all the episodes, theres an episode on tonight called ‘becks beggining’and i was wondering if this continues from the premier? is beck the new Tron now or is it starting from the beggining where he starts to revolt after his friends death? please explain this to me? thanks guys :D

  14. I really liked the series!

    I was worried I wouldn’t like Tron: Uprising, because normally, shows made from movies on Nick or Disney aren’t very good, being made for children. But Uprising took a very different turn, I felt like it was actually meant for older teens or young adults. Instead of being there or the sake of being there, it actually had a part of the Tron Franchise plot, which is very nice. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the characters (and their voices) were from Tron: Legacy, which is also awesome. And I absolutely love the animation. I like the unique style and angle of the shots, e.g. when Beck get’s amnesia. And I’m very excited to see the darker side of Tron in Scars. I love Boxleitner as him, and I can’t wait to see more details of his character’s tragedy. So well done, Bean, Horowitz, and Kitsis. Awesome job!

  15. Woah woah woah, is Tron Uprising counted as an anime/manga (Don’t care what the difference is)? Am I the only one who doesn’t see it that way at all?

  16. Disneys retarded they f***** this up like they f***** spectacular Spider-Man… And possibly Star Wars since they have the rights now