THE MOVIE ART OF SYD MEAD: VISUAL FU­TUR­IST

SFX - - Reviews -

RE­LEASED 19 SEPTEM­BER 256 pages | Hard­back Au­thors Syd Mead, Craig Hod­getts Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books

In the world of movie con­cept art, two names stand head and shoul­ders above the rest: leg­endary Star Wars draughts­man Ralph McQuar­rie, and Syd Mead, the man who helped Ridley Scott vi­su­alise the grimy fu­ture LA of Blade Run­ner. This com­pre­hen­sive jour­ney through Mead’s fil­mog­ra­phy cel­e­brates his work in the best pos­si­ble way: by show­cas­ing lots of his art.

Whereas McQuar­rie’s most fa­mous work is unashamedly cin­e­matic, Mead’s is more func­tional and grounded, stir­ring the cere­bel­lum as much as the heart. While he’s ca­pa­ble of beau­ti­ful Chris Foss-like space scenes, more of­ten his de­signs have a rig­or­ous de­tail that makes you feel you’ve got the in­struc­tions you need to build the tech of Aliens’s Su­laco or Ely­sium’s space sta­tion.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, big hit­ters like Blade Run­ner get the most at­ten­tion, but the de­signs for lesser-known films are of­ten just as im­pres­sive – par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing is the chance to see Mead’s de­signs for a nev­er­made movie re­boot of The Jet­sons. Sadly, the ex­plana­tory text from co-au­thor Craig Hod­getts is too dry and aca­demic to re­ally grab you – this would have been a much bet­ter read with more in­sight from Mead him­self about his ex­traor­di­nary thought pro­cesses.

Richard Ed­wards

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