While extensively covering Disney’s 1982 computer-world movie Tron, I referenced futurist Syd Mead quite a bit. He left an indelible mark on that film and many other seminal SF works like Blade Runner. He passed away yesterday at age 86
On Tron, Mead’s specialty in future-cool hardware was put to good use, designing the tanks and villain Sark’s huge floating carrier, along with the eye-catching TRON title font. But his most iconic design for the film, that ranks up there with the flying spinner car from Blade Runner, were the lightcycles. Still recognizable as motorcycles, but sleek, imposing and merging man and machine, they are a design that has lived on in the imagination far past when the lights came up in the theatres.
Tron director Steven Lisberger (in black) meets with his art design staff: Syd Mead (centre, wearing tie), camera right of him is Moebius, next to him is Peter Lloyd
Rendered as CGI creations in Tron by effects house MAGI via their Synthavision process, the lightcycles had to be scaled back a bit from Mead’s vision. He did get to have the full look of the vehicles realized in the sequel, Tron Legacy. The biggest difference between the two is how the rider truly becomes a part of the cycle in Legacy, other than just being a driver inside it.
Tron lightcycles from original film, 1982
Mead also worked directly in the video game industry, including designing the vehicles in the 1995 Sega Saturn game Cyber Speedway. I think it’s fair to say the extended garage of our possible future wouldn’t look nearly as cool if not for the startling design work of Syd Mead. His practical but far-flung vision will be missed. RIP.
Syd Mead concept drawing of Tank interior
You can read my coverage of Tron and see many of Mead’s designs for it here on my site: http://bit.ly/2Z1CK8J
Original Syd Mead lightcycle design, with driver who becomes part of the vehicle
Coming through the I/O Tower is word that Tron: Legacy, the 2010 sequel to Disney’s groundbreaking 1982 movie Tron, is itself getting a follow-up.
Legacy created a lot of buzz during its release two years ago, managed to pull in over US$400 million dollars world-wide, and spun-off an animated series titled Tron: Uprising, which airs on the Disney XD television network. It’s little wonder that Disney wants to continue plumbing the Tron universe. Legacy director Joseph Kosinski has been tapped for the sequel, with Jesse Wigutow in negotiations to write the script.
I liked Legacy when it came out in theatres. I saw it in 3D, and the movie was shot with 3D equipment as opposed to converted to the format after the fact, and it looked spectacular. In addition, the story was a bit more fleshed out than the original. Here’s hoping Tron 3.0 continues the upward cycle.
For more information on Tron and other video game movies that mattered, consult your local Dot Eaters entry.
via The Hollywood Reporter
Watched Tron: Legacy for a second time last night, with friends. Everyone agreed it was a good movie, that like its predecessor has a lot to say above making a lot of noise, looking good, and selling toys.
While the original Tron strived to create a religious allegory out of the world of computers, its sequel creates a parallel between the quest for digital perfection and Nazi puritanism. Flynn attempts to create the perfect system, but in the end realizes that his son represents his greatest creation.
And yes, it’s easy on the eyes, to boot.