Thoughts On The “TRON: Uprising” Pilot

Disney is previewing the entire pilot episode–”Beck’s Beginning”–of Tron: Uprising on YouTube (sorry, US viewers only). The series, which premieres June 7 on Disney XD, takes place between the original Tron and the more recent Tron: Legacy. It follows the quest of a young program named Beck (not Jerry), who under the mentorship of Tron, leads a revolution to wrest control of The Grid from the sinister clutches of Clu.

If you’re the type of fan that geeks out over new vehicles in the Tron universe, you’ll likely have a different take than mine, but as someone who just wants to see good entertainment, I wasn’t satisfied. There’s some mad artistic talent working under art director Alberto Mielgo, but they can’t overcome the monotonous direction that alternates between flat dialogue scenes and numbingly repetitive (though impressively staged) action scenes. The leaden CG character animation, produced by Japanese studio Polygon Pictures, and ridiculous script (“There you are.” “Here I am.”) don’t help matters.

To be fair, this is just the pilot. As Tron: Uprising director Charlie Bean gets more episodes under his belt, he may yet realize the show’s full potential. On the other hand, it could just be ten more episodes of a guy jumping on a light cycle ad nauseam, which is what this pilot felt like at times.

On a sad note, the end credits include the dedication “For Pete.” That refers to a technical director on the show, Peter Kranjcevich, who passed away unexpectedly last month at the age of 36.

If you watch the episode above, please share your thoughts.

(via Super Punch)


  • http://www.wannabeartist.com/blog Steven

    I have to agree. I watched it through a proxy last night and had the same thoughts you just expressed.
    While i’m probably going to watch the series once it’s released on DVD just for the art, i won’t follow it as the episodes are released.

  • http://www.tubbirdbelty.com Barbara

    who watches tron for the plot? “it’s like, bio-digital jazz, maaan.”

  • Hank

    Truly awful kids show. The story is as dull as the movie, and the “art direction” is as weak as the movie in that the “style” is more important than creating a world. Looks like a velvet backlight poster. Story and design and pacing are monotonous.

    • ScoJo

      For real? This is “truly awful” to you? Parts of this made me feel the same way I did when I watched Batman Begins for the first time. The story and the look I think are incredible and different for a “kids show”. I don’t say this to be condescending but, are there not enough colors for you? Do you have an old monitor? I can get it not being your thing (my girlfriend isn’t a huge “universe on the head of a pin” existentialist stuff either), but with as much really terrible stuff as there is out there, I don’t get how you’d think this is “awful”.

  • Gerry

    People involved with writing the movie were also involved in breaking the story on this pilot, so the franchise would remain of a piece. The killer nut to crack with Tron has always been Tron itself as a franchise. Beyond a certain type of computer geek, no one cares about Tron as character, arena or story material. Visual flash with no soul is all the limited franchise allows any crew to work with. This crew has busted its ass trying to imbue blood into a digital turnip and time will tell if Tron, in this iteration, can find anything beyond a cult audience. This pilot looks slick and Japanese but bores quickly.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    Bowled me over. Great stuff. Watched it on an HD monitor two feet from my face between a pair of Klipschorn Heresies.

    Direction and design and sound made any “story” concerns completely irrelevant. I loved it and I can’t even remember what it was about. I will enjoy the series.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com tony mines

    “Disney is previewing the entire pilot episode—”Beck’s Beginning”—of Tron: Uprising on YouTube (sorry, US viewers only)”

    “How can you steal something that’s designed to be free?”

  • http://cartoonatics.blogspot.com/ Tom Ruegger

    I agree with Frank above. This is the best-looking animated dramatic series since Batman in the early 90′s. The sound design is feature quality. The artwork is gorgeous and original. Shot after shot, there are images that dazzle your eyes. The dramatic tensions builds. A success on every level, as I see it.

  • Andrew

    I thought Tron was extremely well done! I’m now two episodes in on giving Motorcity a chance and I want to like it but feel that show gets really muddy and confusing during most of the action scenes. Gradients everywhere! Tron seems much more reserved and controlled, I never found myself confused as to what I was looking at. Hats off to the entire talented team!

  • lizzy

    If it had better dialogue and acting, it would’ve been mindblowing stuff!!! I feel like for every tv show, you’ve gotta try at least a couple of episodes to see whether you like the show or not. and, this is just a pilot we watched. I see def. potential in this piece and there are moments where it gets me excited to watch.

  • Mike

    Is it perfect? No. But I got several thrills from watching this. More so than with Legacy, actually. And the execution is appealing enough for me to keep watching.

    Again, not perfect. But it has potential.

  • J1

    Seen…Huge deception.

    When I heard a few month a go that Disney hired Alberto Mielgo and Robert Valley, I was thrilled, and I truly expected a lot more.

    Anyway, you know what they say ? A good movie is 1 ) a good story 2)a good story 3) and a good story.

    The worst part I think , is that the Tron universe is such a good material …

    But , need I say it again, the artworks are amazing for a tv show.

    ( but the animation, especially actings… )

    Excuse my bad english…from France

  • Rick R.

    I thought it was awesome.

    The story was easy enough for me to follow, and I suspect it will be for the target audience, boys 8-14. It is a boy’s action show, quest style. It really is very anime inspired in that sense. Ya’ll didn’t get that in the mentor relationship established at the beginning?

    Nope, it ain’t funny animals, and it isn’t counter culture. It’s about overthrowing a tyrant who kills, WWII good-and-evil level, which is good enough as a story.

    I look forward to seeing the rest and owning it on disc.

  • http://blog.boogatech.com Markham

    Does he always drive his light cycle through the city with his death-laser-ribbon on? Isn’t that kind of a safety hazard?

    • ScoJo

      I think you can turn it off, but I agree, total liability.

    • Rick R.

      Lawyer programs…. shudder.

      Actually, the wall is up when he’s being chased as a way to try to get rid of the pursuer. And yeah, in the pilot, he seems to be running from someone all the time, not just going out for ice cream. Go figure.

  • ScoJo

    This is so f-ing sweet. Am I allowed to say that on a Disney post? I think I liked this better than the new movie. Is Disney XD what Disney Channel turns into after dark? I don’t have kids…

  • AnthonyA

    Well, so far so good, I think; many other fan-favorite cartoons have started with just as much of a plot, or less, and much less space to explore with the artwork. Rebellion against the ‘evil overlord’ isn’t a new plot, to be sure.

    What we’ll have to see is where each individual episode goes, in advancing the story and characters. That’s where an episodic storytelling format gets the chance to shine.

  • Gary

    Just finished watching the Tron Uprising pilot, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not going to pass judgement on it until I’ve seen more episodes, but right now, I look forward to more.

  • http://dummcomics.com TV’s Kyle

    I could be a Care Bro if they were adapting Howie Post’s version of Care Bears from STAR/MARVEL comics in the 80s.

  • Arash

    Look, I found it shiny, entertaining, dynamic stuff. It’ll probably not reach like Ben10 or Dora, but it’s not that demographic. The way I see it, Tron’s fundamental problem is that it’s original goal was to anthropomorphise the functioning of computers and networks to demystify them. the original movie though was a glorious failure on that level, but the visual language it gave us for that Neuromantic Future in an era of green and orange screen computers was its true legacy.

    The new Tron movie and this TV series carries that forward – the visual spectacle, the taste of a future just beyond our grasp… but it seems to me none of the writers or anyone else involved has a clue about the innards of computers, the nature of software or how networks… well, *work*.

    It’s harmless, exciting ‘boys own’ style tales of derring-do, but it’s a bare millimeter thin layer electroplated over the usual “Boy with Vengeful Secret Identity” story Batman has been serving for decades.

    Also, I must admit there is some cognitive dissonance in seeing Disney put on a show on US networks about a one-three person resistance battling an invading / occupying / usurping force with guerilla tactics and infrastructure damage. You know what I’m talking about.

  • Marcos

    I love this. Became a fan after watching the original and legacy. Disney did it again. Kudos!

  • Wil

    Are you kidding? This show is absolutely awesome! What were you expecting? The nonstop action is the best I’ve ever seen in any show and better than many feature films, and I’m 42. The art is gorgeous and the design exudes style. The visuals are simply astonishing, the camera work and editing perfect. And the story is not bad at all, there are quite a few chilling moments when the script comes together with the action. With all due respect, get with the times.