Youthful filmmakers Benjamin Chee and Elvin Siew have created a short, daikaiju-inspired animated film — and it deserves to be noticed.
Stylistically unique, with beautiful colouring and a wonderful sense of humour, Zevastator GORGAROJ draws for its inspiration on Son of Godzilla and deals with issues in parenting that arise from the pair’s own experience. As Benjamin explained:
We are animation students at the LASALLE College of the Arts [in Singapore] and we made this film in collaboration as our graduating film. I am a Malaysian studying abroad in Singapore, whereas Elvin is local. The theme of this film is quite close to our hearts because as “art students”, we are not quite fitting the normal expectations of our Asian parents in a schooling environment revolving around exam grades and results.
Zevastator GORGAROJ‘s daikaiju are strange ape-like creatures with a reptilian ambiance — a father and his son, the latter of whom fails to take serious notice of his father’s city-destroying ambitions for him.
We made this film as an observation on the current Singaporean situation of child rearing, where parents hot-house their child by pushing him through the numerous “enrichment classes” in order to prepare and give him a head start in future and hasten the reaching of his potential.
So in searching of ways to reflect that, we came to ask ourselves what kind of parent would a 50-foot monster be? And from there we spin a story of a giant monster who wants to train his son to be the next great destroyer, but alas the son was less than interested in his father’s dreams.
Concept art: (above) the father and (below) the son
Interestingly, as Benjamin explains on his blog, the film grew from a non-monster story about ambitious parents pushing too hard to make their children become high achievers.
After a week of concepting, we decided to throw in a twist and add some spice. So, instead of a Singaporean dad trying to make his son the next 5-year-old PhD, it became a story of a giant monster teaching his baby to become the next destroyer of worlds (How to Train your Dragon hadn’t come out yet) …
It’s fascinating how often “real world” concepts find their true strength once a fantastical element is added. The wry and powerful UK comedy-drama Being Human — which features a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together in an attempt to reclaim some of their lost humanity — apparently gelled after creator Toby Whithouse decided to inject the supernatural into his naturalistic script about three people sharing a house, one sex-obsessed, another with anger management issues and a third with agoraphobia. He figured doing so would make it more interesting, and in the process it became stronger and more metaphorically resonant.
But I digress. Back to Zevastator GORGAROJ!
Here’s the film:
The lads have also made a Making Zevastator GORGAROJ video, for those interested in the more technical behind- the-scenes work that goes into creating a 3D animated film. It’s quite fascinating and certainly shows the talent that this pair bring to the task.
The abilities on display here are also evident on the pair’s blogs, where you can see some great concept art, not just for Zevastator GORGAROJ, but for other projects that the boys have had in the past or plan to pursue in the future. Check them out: Benjamin Chee; Elvin Siew. Also here. You’ll find “painterly” renderings of the Zevastator GORGAROJ, such as these by Ciew (click on it to get the full effect):
and this surreal salesman by Chee:
One thing’s for sure: if there’s any justice in the world, these guys will go far.
Check out the gallery below for a few more samples.
- Sources: Benjamin Chee via Avery.
- Written by Robert Hood | Research by Avery Guerra