'TRON: Uprising - Season One' Review

TRON UprisingI’ve always enjoyed the original TRON film—at the time, it was a great leap in science fiction and special effects, although the background storytelling could have used a little more polishing—and I enjoyed the sequel, though probably not as much as others. When I first heard that they were going to be doing a television show, I was very excited to see how they pulled it off.  It took a bit of time for it to get produced, so I probably built it up a bit in my head before I actually saw it, but when I did, I discovered that there are some really good aspects to the show . . . as well as some really bad ones.

SPOILERS BELOW


Visual Effects

The show relies exclusively on CGI animation, and while I don’t always dislike such animation, I’m not a big fan of this particular style.  To me, the makeup of the characters' bodies don’t look entirely “real”—and while I know they are programs on the Grid, at least in the movies they looked more human-like than in this show.  Hair seems to stay in place, the legs are so tall and lanky, and the way the bodies move just don’t appeal to me.  Now, the visual effects of some of the action scenes are spectacular, but a lot of them seem as though they’re ways no human could ever actually achieve.  To be completely honest, the show tries to do what some of the latest generation of movies have done: rely so much on visual effects that they sacrifice the importance of good storytelling in order to draw a “ooooh, shiny!” audience.

Voice Talent

Perhaps the best aspect of the show is the voice talent of the characters.  Elijah Wood is a well-known actor, and he seems to have a great emotional range even when just using his voice, though it would have been interesting to see him in a Program bodysuit (if even a little disturbing).  And, of course, Mandy Moore has had some great voice work in the past—especially in Tangled—so her talents were no surprise; however, the return of Bruce Boxleitner as the voice of Tron was a great addition; it really made the show authentic feeling. (Although, you have to ask yourself, since Babylon 5, what else does Boxleitner do?  It probably wasn’t too hard to sign him on to reprise the role.)  I just wish that Jeff Bridges had agreed to continue on as Clu and Flynn, but it isn’t a surprise that he didn’t.

Episodic Storytelling

While the voice talent makes the show great, the storytelling does not.  Each episode is self-contained without much in the way of an overdeveloped plot that connects them aside from the aspect of Tron being alive, and Beck being the renegade program.  There are times when what happens in one episode impacts the actions of a later episode, but this is very rare; most are Beck trying to deal with a random situation that has popped up, in order to strike a blow against the occupation—or to save his own rear.  Granted, the end of the first season left the show on a really great cliffhanger that I hope they do a decent job of resolving, but I really want it to be told in such a way that will be believable and connecting—a tall order for a show that seems to focus more on the visual aspects of CGI than on the story itself.

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:48

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