It seems I’ve encouraged a group of giant monsters to go on a rampage…
This intriguing concept poster (click on the image to see it larger) illustrates an in-production short independent film called Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii! The film is a project of Dane Neves. First off, I’ll let him tell you about himself:
I was born and raised in Hawaii (graduated with a film degree at the University of Hawaii) and I have noticed that Hawaii is one of the few places that has never had its own fictional giant monster (i.e. Japan has Godzilla, New York has King Kong, Korea has that Host tadpole thing). In film school, they encouraged us to make true-to-life, character driven, emotional films… but those kinds of films don’t interest me. My thesis film was called “The Monkeyboy Fever”, about a boy who gets bitten by a monkey and turns into one himself the day of his prom. It was the furthest thing from what I was expected to create, but it ended up an award-winning local hit because it’s a crowd-pleaser. I hope to generate the same excitement with this current giant monster movie, which is not a student film but a completely independent production.
Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii! is a “Godzilla-style movie” told from the point of view of an “unqualified” giant monster on a rampage in Hawaii with his mates, after being dispossessed from their own monster island by the inevitable human interference. Neves explained to Kaiju Search-Robot Avery:
The story follows a team of giant monsters on a rampage in Waikiki. It is implied that the human military bombed their monster island home and Hawaii is the first stop in their revenge attack. They are Abercrumble (a Godzilla-like reptile), Maulister (a human-insect hybrid), Cruehl (an obese Kraken), and Zillabong (a frog-hybrid) … and, yes, their names are parodies of popular clothing brands. Zillabong is our protagonist. He is the youngest, smallest of the monsters … the black sheep of the bunch. In the end Zillabong must help his comrades face up to a giant military robot — but does he have the power to do so?
This is a film aimed at younger audiences [though like Pixar's work it looks like it embraces adults, too]. I really enjoy making all-ages movies because I can distribute them to the widest audience possible.
Avery asked Neves about the monsters and how they will be created:
The monsters in this film do have dialogue and they will be voiced by actors. Abercrumble, Cruehl, and Zillabong will be realistic hand puppets and Maulister will be a guy in a suit (think Power Rangers on crack). All of these characters will be shot against a green screen and then later inserted into on-location shots of various Hawaii landmarks. I enjoy using puppets instead of CGI because, with puppets, there is more of a realistic dimension to them as if the audience can believe they can reach out and touch them. Although CGI has become a very useful tool in creating characters, it is just not the medium I would like to turn to for this particular project.
The concept poster and early concept art included in this post is by artist Richard Dang. Note that in the latter the frog-monster is named Smokely. Why’s that?
Smokely is his former name … he is now officially Zillabong. Also, the character Abercrumble will most likely not look like how he does in the concept art. I really want him to be more reptilian.
The production schedule?
Shooting will commence over the course of the US summer. It will star Grant Uchida, Jobe Allen, Chris Ricketts, Dennis Noah, James Chan, Michael Hardy, and Duane Kiyota.
Your aim in making the film?
My goal for making this film is to prove to the rest of the world that there is a lot of talent in Hawaii and that we can create something on a large scale like this. I would like to start off by submitting it to various local, national and international film festivals and see where it goes from there.
The cream on this particular giant monster chocolate cake is the fact that the author of this post — and owner of Undead Backbrain — played a part, albeit unknowingly, in the film’s development. How’s that, you ask?
A lot of it is inspired by Robert Hood’s Daikaiju books [Neves told Avery]. I read them for inspiration for this film. Please tell him I said “Thank you” for editing those books … really great material.
It’s a pleasure, Dane. My co-editor Robin Pen and myself are just happy we could help contribute to the genre in this way.
For those reading this who don’t know, a few years ago I edited (with Robin Pen) three anthologies of original giant monster stories collected from around the world: Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales (Agog! Press, 2005; Prime Books US, 2006), Daikaiju! 2: Revenge of the Giant Monsters (Agog! Press/Prime Books US, 2007) and Daikaiju! 3: Giant Monsters vs the World (Agog! Press/Prime Books US, 2007). The first book (which took the Best Collection category in the Ditmar Awards — the Australian popular SF awards — in 2006) sold out two print runs in Australia and a few of the local editions of the other two are still hanging around. But US editions of all three are now available from Amazon. If you don’t have them, go and buy them now. You won’t regret it.
There will be a lot of giant monster fans worldwide keen to see Neves’ film when it is completed in 2011 — me amongst them!
You can follow the progress of Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii! on Facebook.
- Source: Dane Neves via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery
- Writing: Robert Hood | Research: Avery Guerra