TRON: Uprising

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TRON: Uprising

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Just watched the special airing of "Tron: Uprising" on the Disney Channel. While I love the previous "Tron" movies, this "prequel" episode to the new mini-series left me disappointed and frankly, a little frustrated. I hate to be critical because as a refreshing salute to beautiful, manga-style graphics that set itself FAR apart from other animated programs on Disney channels, this series really showcases style that seems sadly lacking in U.S. children's programming today.

This brings me to my first issue with the show: is it intended for adult audiences, children or both? Since it's airing on Disney I can only assume it's meant for kids, but watching this first episode made me think twice. With pretty straightforward, easy to follow scripting and simple language, defined characters and clear story arch, I initially settled into it with a mentality that this was, no question, geared toward children. A little ways in I was thrown for a loop when the scene with Beck and Paige in the helicopter came on. Moderate sexual references and body languages left me thinking, "Wait, what? On Disney Channel?" After that, I was a little disoriented and thought "Okay, I guess it's for adults, too?" Reminded me somewhat of the "Shrek"-style storytelling. However, I didn't notice any more very obvious 'adult' references so I'm still confused and if I were a parent I'm not sure I'd trust this show just yet.

More confusion came about midway through the episode, when 'Beck' meets 'Tron' for the first time and insists he's a "normal guy" who doesn't believe he's got anything special that makes him a candidate for 'Tron's' successor/revolutionary leader/hero. Ignoring the worn-out, cookie-cutter formula for the hero who came from nothing (Harry Potter, Spiderman, Batman, Frodo, ugh the list just goes on and on), I just found the whole dialogue completely unbelievable from 'Beck's' side. Until that scene, the show portrayed 'Beck' as a confident, passionate, strong, intelligent, fearless and somewhat arrogant character quick to take up a cause that he believes in. It's hard to believe that someone with these qualities, who is so sure of himself that he goes ahead and assumes the identity of 'Tron,' the greatest warrior of all time in that world, would all of a sudden turn a 180 and doubt himself or his potential to make a difference, especially after he just won his first 'battle' scenario. It just seemed way too scripted into an overdone, tired character box that I don't think was very consistent with the character shown to that point. Kind of made me gag. And dislike him more after that.

Finally, I could not ignore the fact that all the bad guys were either Asian or portrayed as a more 'ethnic' people group. I'm not such an expert to know if these characters are consistent with the original "Tron" story, but it bothers me all the same. Furthermore, all the 'bad' Asians are wearing red, and all of them get defeated or 'let off the hook.' Really? I guess I was just hoping for some better representation in this day and age. How was this allowed to go forward? And on Disney, no less. If the characters have to be this way, I think the audience deserves a deeper look into their stories and personalities, while the characters themselves deserve deeper development, in the least.

On the positive side, I thought the acting and scoring was outstanding. The animation, without question, is the show's best feature.

Posted by Allie (2012-05-22) 1003

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