Friday, April 25, 2014

Vintage SHORT CIRCUIT Robot Concept Designs by Syd Mead

Friday, April 25, 2014 - by Maurice Mitchell 6

Short Circuit (1986) concept art by Syd Mead

Check out Short Circuit concept art by Syd Mead!

Every Friday I try and feature artwork from a classic of science fiction cinema or television. This week's "Flashback Friday" post is on Short Circuit (1986)

Since I love robots, one of my favorite movies as a kid was Short Circuit. Short Circuit was an 80s comedy about a robot that comes to life and is on the run from the defense department. Johnny 5, the robot star, was a fully functional robot and was designed and built by Syd Mead and Eric Allard. It was the most expensive part of the movie and was riddled with technical challenges. "We postulated a robot that is at least 50 years ahead of the stale of the art, if not a century ahead." Director John Bedham told Starlog, "When you really start thinking about an all-terrain robot. it gets rather mind-boggling, and makes you appreciate human beings much more. 1 mean, what do we do when This guy has to climb up rocks? That's a tough one. And how do you deal with what you want the robot to do and not limit it? An anthropomorphic shape came out of that, too. It was all rather tricky.

"We worked with Syd Mead and Eric Allard—who actually built and constructed the robots—based on a design that is jointly theirs. It wouldn't be the same robot if one or the other of those men were not present. Eric contributed not only the mechanical engineering know-how necessary to realize this robot, but he also developed many areas, like the head. The whole detailed concept of the head, where so much of the robot's personality is, is Eric's."

Syd Mead is a professional concept artist and "visual futurist" who's worked on Hollywood movies like TRON (1982), Blade Runner (1982) and Aliens (1986). Eric Allard is a  special effects technician and designer who's worked on major films like  Spider-Man (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003).

Click on the images to enlarge


Here's what Johnny 5 looked like in the film
Here's the concept art


Here are some extremely low resolution images of Syd Mead's other illustrations. If you know where some high resolution images are please let me know since they're awesome.


See more of Syd Mead's marvelous portfolio at http://sydmead.com and more of Eric Allard's work at http://allfx.com.

Click on the links if you want to see more of Syd Mead's work or Short Circuit on my blog.

What do you think of the concept art? If you've seen Short Circuit what did you think?

Official Short Circuit Synopsis
"Something wonderful has happened--Number Five is alive! Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy co-star in this high tech comedy adventure about Number Five, a robot who escapes into the real world after he short circuits in an electrical storm and decides that he's human. Because he's carrying destructive weapons, the Defense Department and his designer (Guttenberg) are desperate to find him. But Number Five is being protected by a young woman (Sheedy) who is teaching him a gentler way of life."
Directed by John Badham
Cinematography by Nick McLean
Production Design by
Starring: Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton, G.W. Bailey
Release Date: May 9, 1986
© Copyright 1986 Producers Sales Organization, The Turman-Foster Company, TriStar Pictures, Image Entertainment. All rights reserved



About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

6 comments:

  1. "Who's Johnny? " she said, And smiled in her special way. EL DEBARGE
    Loved that movie and the soundtrack! The robot design was cool and original.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A fun movie, and a fun little robot. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It was great David! The soundtrack too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I always loved Johnny 5. Great design

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had a huge Ally Sheedy crush in my youth so this was a must-see at the time. I'd forgotten the El Debarge came from this. Thanks for the reminder, David!

    ReplyDelete

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