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Get a CLU

Posted by Nathan Strum, 03 May 2012 · 2,069 views

Tron: Uprising debuts in June on Disney XD. Looks stylish!



Not quite sure about the lead character, Beck, though...


I am a huge fan of Beck (the singer.) I have every single CD album he ever made. If you only know Beck through "Loser" and "Where It's At", get a hold of the Mutations album, which is quite honestly the best album I have ever heard. It's a bunch of slow, moody, and overall great songs (not to say that all the rest of his songs aren't totally awesome.)
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I like Beck's work, I just thought it was odd they chose that name for the character, rather than something more "computery".

Back to the topic at hand - they've reinstated the Tron games online at the Tron: Uprising website. It's amazing how fast the games run on my new iMac (they were all-but unplayable before). You can still play Space Paranoids online, too.
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I'm a sucker for cartoons that have adult appeal - loving Legend of Korra right now - and will be looking out for Tron: Uprising too.

Thanks for the heads-up, Nathan!
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Thanks, I'll try to remember to check out the prelude, TRON: Uprising, Beck's Beginning, when they release it to On-Demand next Friday. I might not get to check it out until the following week though as I have company arriving next Friday - it's time again for the Art Car Parade :D
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Thanks for the info. I'll set up a wishlist for Tron on my TiVo so I'll catch it if/when it hits XD Canada.
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Well, the whole prelude is online now. I'll wait to watch it on the Disney Channel this Friday though, in proper HD. With popcorn. ;)

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Watched it last night, not bad. The body style reminded me a little bit of characters in Æon Flux.

Looks like it'll be in iTunes as well, they've got episode 1 up for free right now.
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I watched it the other night, and thought it had potential. It has a pretty cool look to it, with some really neat character and environmental designs, and some good voice acting (including Bruce Boxleitner as Tron). My one gripe about the character design - the legs are way too long. It looks like they end in the middle of their stomachs. A little weird. But you should go over to Cartoon Brew and click on some of the development and storyboard art over there. Disney is putting a lot of work into the design of the show.

The "Beck's Beginning" prelude was a little uneven, because originally it was meant to be a bunch of short little preview mini-episodes, but Disney decided to edit them all together. So hopefully once they get into proper full-length episodes, there will be a little more to it. It does a good enough job of introducing Beck and the rest of the principle characters.

But still, it's another example (along with Clone Wars) of how far TV animation can be pushed visually with current technology. The question now is - will they be able to push the stories as far? The story is about revolution against an oppressive dictatorship, and they've already "killed" (de-rezzed) one character, so it's not necessarily going to be a light-hearted comedic romp. But there were some touches of humor in there, so hopefully they can strike a balance and make it entertaining enough for people to keep watching.
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Disney XD has run the first two episodes of the series proper: The Renegade - Part 1, and (oddly enough) The Renegade - Part 2.

The stories are a little better fleshed-out than the webisode prelude, with Beck's role a little more clear now. Essentially, he's the electronic world's version of a superhero. By day, he's a mechanic working in an oppressed society being overrun by Clu's minions. And by night (although I don't think they actually have day and night, but I digress) he dresses up as Tron to fight said oppression. At the moment, nobody but Tron (who is training him - since he was too badly damaged in a fight with Clu to do it himself) knows it's Beck, but the bad guys and general population still don't quite yet believe this renegade troublemaker is actually Tron.

So Beck has a pretty steep learning curve ahead of him to become the legendary warrior that Tron was, and has to do this while fomenting a revolution. A revolution that not everyone is sure they want. After all... what's so bad about Clu's army taking over?

Well... there's that whole "death" thing. Y'see, programs that don't tow the line (or are otherwise deemed unusable for Clu's purposes) are rounded up and sent to the game grid. There, they get to battle to the death. And if they refuse, they get killed anyway. When in Rome...

The two-parter saw Beck befriend another program - Cutler - who both get captured and are forced to fight in the games. When they refuse to fight each other, Cutler is sent to death row while Beck is (conveniently) set free. Then, as "Tron", he has to go back and try to save his friend. You can watch the episode to find out if he's successful or not. The thing is - it's never a certainty, because people are getting de-rezzed left and right. In the prelude, his best friend got killed right in front of him. Not typical Disney fare, but as with The Clone Wars, it's nice to see another "cartoon" show take itself seriously.

It's not all dark, however, as two of Beck's other friends get into mischief, involving the theft of their boss's vintage light cycle (the same model seen in Flynn's hideout in Tron: Legacy). This includes a scene where one gets drunk at a bar - also not typical Disney fare.

Visually, the series is striking. It looks a lot like Tron: Legacy, but expands on it, and includes some nice visual nods to the original Tron as well.

It will be interesting to see where the series goes, and how the characters develop. At the moment, it's still got a ways to go to catch up with the likes of The Clone Wars, but it's great to see Tron on TV, and have Disney continue its legacy. So to speak. ;)
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Haven't watched part 2 yet, it's on the DVR. It was interesting to hear "Agent Broyles" in the TRON universe :)
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Tron Uprising has come to XD Canada and I've set up the HD PVR to record it. Unfortunately I had to watch Beck's Beginning on the web, but I watched both Renegades in HD last night.

I agree the body style is a little wierd, almost like they squeezed a 16:9 image down to 4:3. But the chicks are still hot.

From a "violence" perspective, I have noticed numerous instances where programs aren't de-rezzed. Beck and Cutler even pull the reds from the Recognizer before it blows.

I'm also not certain how Tron lives since Legacy seemed to imply (rather strongly) that CLU changed Tron to Rinzler. Maybe he was just left for dead and we're supposed to assume that CLU finishes off the job later.

I'm also not certain why all of the citizens aren't trying to revolt against General Grevious, but are now a bloodthirsty mob watching death games.

And can the series become a series? Are we going to see something more then what we've seen so far?
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I'm also not certain how Tron lives since Legacy seemed to imply (rather strongly) that CLU changed Tron to Rinzler.

From this article, Uprising takes place after Tron and before Legacy.

I'm also not certain why all of the citizens aren't trying to revolt against General Grevious, but are now a bloodthirsty mob watching death games.

That seems odd too but from the next episode you'll see, Blackout, it seems that the citizens are clueless (pun intended:D) about what's really going on. The end of that episode has an interesting turn of events too. I haven't watched last nights episode, Identity, yet.
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Yep - there are definitely some plot holes in the series. Maybe they'll be filled in as they go, but then again, there were some pretty massive plot holes in Tron: Legacy, too (like the entire plot point of CLU attempting to bring an entire army into the real world :roll: ). I think for an animated kids' TV series though, it's pretty impressive work. I'm frankly surprised at all that Disney went to the trouble. Even though Tron: Legacy did well at the box office (taking into account worldwide grosses), it's never really been a mainstream intellectual property.
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Blackout was a pretty good episode. First, there were some pretty cool lightcycle designs used for a race (someone is having a lot of fun creating the visual look of this series), and we got a little more of a glimpse into some of the characters' personalities and relationships. Particularly in that it began a story thread where one of Beck's friends decided to join with the local military task force in order to hunt down the Renegade (Beck), who stole his lightcycle during the aforementioned race (admittedly, he did it to save the day).

This week brought Identity, in which we find out what happens when someone (Beck) loses their disc. Suffice it to say, it's not good. It did make for some really good moments in the episode though, as the effects of the loss of the disc come at the worst possible times (isn't that always the way?). It also takes the story of Beck's friend joining the task force a little further, but I was disappointed when they basically copped out of it. But I'm hoping they'll pick it back up again, because it's too good of a conflict not to have. We also met a couple of other new characters, and we learn more about the seedier side of the Grid. Plus, as Eric mentioned before, there are times when characters don't get derezzed, and this episode clearly defines that line as to why. Finally, there was a lot more actual Tron in this episode, including him wearing the armor he'd eventually have on when he becomes Rinzler someday. Overall, a really strong episode, and hopefully an indicator of where the series is moving in the future.

And as always, Disney XD has them available online, and now on your iDevice as well (but only if you have Comcast, apparently).
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This week's episode - Isolated - was excellent!

First, we get a look into Paige's past (I'm sure there's a really good programming joke in there somewhere about "page boundaries" or whatnot, but I'll leave that to the actual programmers to come up with...), and see why she's so loyal to Tesler. It's a great look into her character, and definitely brings more humnanity to her, more empathy, and more likability. Also, Tesler's sniveling bootlicker Pavel (voiced by Paul Ruebens, in case you were wondering), continues to get even more weasely. Weasily? Weasel-y? Weaseley?

Anyway... Paige gets trapped on an island with Beck (in his Tron/Renegade guise) and they have to find a way to work together to get off the island before it de-rezzes around them (think Gilligan's Island, in the episode where the volcano is about to erupt, but with only Gilligan and Ginger, 'cuz see, Tron would be the Professor, and Jay Maynard would be the Skipper. And they aren't there. But I digress.).

There's some good interplay between the two, and a very tenuous truce. But also maybe a little trust - or the beginnings of it. This is all intercut with flashbacks to Paige's past, and shows she's not a bad program, but in her own way as much a victim of what's going on in The Grid as everyone else.

And not to tip off any spoilers (although if you watch the opening where they list the cast names you'll see it) - they had a REALLY cool guest character this week. Way, super, cool.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of the better parts of each episode - the opening. Each week, there's a bit of a flashback, narrated by the voice of The Grid (played by Tricia Helfer). It's a nice recap of what's going on, but what I like is that it's often written tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic. It adds a little more personality to the show, and it's pretty funny.
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Just watched it - that was an awesome guest character!
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This week's episode: Price of Power.

And the Price of Power? Why... great responsibility, of course! Oh wait... wrong franchise.

The price in this case refers to corruption and addiction. Basically, digital steroids. Or more apropos - a power-up.

It's another really good, solid episode. They're revisiting more of the idea of divisiveness that the Renegade is causing among programs, and I suspect that will ramp up quite a bit in light of the (really impressive) destruction at the end of this episode.

They also are revealing more of Tesler's ruthlessness as a leader (for example - removing a disc from the back of a warrior who failed him, from the front), and Pavel is becoming even more ambitious and taking on a more prominent role, which is fun to watch. It's almost like he and Paige are bickering siblings, vying for Tesler's attention. Paul Ruebens is obviously having a lot of fun voicing the character, and I'll admit I laughed when heard little bits of Pee-Wee Herman slipping in there (although I think it's unintentional, but the comparisons are unavoidable).

Beck is becoming more adept at what he's doing, although it's going to become pretty difficult to keep hiding his secret identity. The series is making a nice progression with each episode. Hopefully they can keep it up.

A couple of other Tron notes this week:
  • There was a Comic-Con panel featuring cast and crew from Tron: Uprising. They spill some beans about some future ideas for the series, including tying into the events of the movies some more (including answering Eric's question about Tron becoming Rinzler).
  • Tron turned 30 on July 9th. That's the date it made it's theatrical debut in '82. I don't know what's more depressing... the fact that it was so long ago, or the fact that anymore - 30 years doesn't seem like it was so long ago.
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A couple of Comic-Con reels. In case you're still not watching, this might entice you...

The "Sizzle" Reel:

And coming soon... Tron gets really angry:

More of that please and thank you! :D
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Need to catch up? Disney XD is running a marathon of the series tonight. Check your local listings and all that stuff.

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Another preview for the upcoming season:

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