Tag Archives: creature

Animation monday : Gloam

Created by David Elwell & Gareth Hughes.
The peaceful wandering of an odd wood creature.

I love that they didn’t felt the need to add any actual action to the movie. Keeping it focused on the actual subject : The creature. Pure, unadulterated love for the creature.

I confess, maybe my fondness may have something to do with a passing resemblance she bears with the take on the Sasquatch I did for the “missing link” pictoplasma exhibition.

Guillermo Del Toro, about his fondness for Kaiju

“There is something very pure and very full of love [nb : for the creatures], in monster movies. Even more so in Kaiju movies”

And, oh, does he love his creatures !
In a decade overall populated by rather dull monsters (yes, you read that correctly. I will show it maybe in a future article) -to the greatest despair of monster-lovers like myself- Del Toro’s really did stood out for their originality and personality.
Of course the fauna of El laberinto del fauno jumps immediately to the mind. But even back in Mimic could you feel that he didn’t shaped his monsters to just fill the need of something non-human for the good guy to shoot at, run away from and destroy in a gigantic explosion in the end.
Ok, that’s exactly what happens in Mimic but .. still !

Pacific Rim is no exception and his Kaiju are very neat.
-By the way. Small moment of pedantry : “Kaiju” doesn’t mean “giant monster”. As the actress Rinko Kikuchi explain it in the interview above, it means “monster” (“strange beast”). The word for “giant monster” is “Daikaiju”.
And while we are at it, “Jaeger” doesn’t means “hunter” in German either. My personal theory is that it’s a hidden reference to “Jet Jaguar” (“Jetto Jagā” in Japanese), a giant robot hero from Godzilla vs Megalon.-

First, they are quite diverse. As some of the protagonist points it, no two Kaiju are alike. Crab kaiju, shark kaiju, lizard kaiju, strange knife-headed kaiju … A real effort was put in there, even for creatures that only appears on screen for a split seconds.
And then, they are original in their own right; very well animated; somehow believable (no spoiling, but later in the movie we get a glimpse of WHERE actually they came from; and Del Toro managed to create for them a coherent background. A feat which no previous Daikaiju film ever managed to make quite right -save maybe for The Host).
Only sliiiight disappointment : not much play around the colours. I guess they wanted to keep a constant colour scheme in order to give them coherence despite the diversity of shapes, but doing this they cut for themselves a great deal of creative possibilities and it was not really needed.
I mean : they are giants and they are monsters. That’s all the unity we needed. What could we have mistook them with ?

Last note about this movie. A handful of years ago I heard about the adaptation on the big screen of a board game called Monsterpocalypse which featured giant monsters (some of them somehow familiar …) fighting other giant monsters and robots. Never heard of the project since, but I suspect it may be among the hidden inspiration behind Pacific Rim. Seeing the board game isn’t credited, it’s entirely possible they decided to run(away) with the idea cutting the “middle man”. It would certainly not be a first for Hollywood who hate intellectual property thief only as long as they are not the robbers.


an Ixitl

Another of my pet creatures.

Among other things, I’m a huge fan of golden-age era science-fiction literature.
I borrowed the Ixitl from “The Voyage of the Space Beagle”, my favourite novel from Van Vogt, one of my favourite author from that period.
It’s the tale of the crew of an exploration space ship confronting extra-terrestrial life forms -truly alien ones- and trying to grasp the way they live and think.
In order to kill them, of course.
If you love strange creatures, stories where triumph is obtained by outwitting the adversary rather than brute strength and if you don’t mind a bit of scientific inaccuracy, you’ll love this book.
(From which the film “Alien” borrowed heavily by the way)

I took considerable liberties with his design, looking for what I “felt” the creature looked like rather than the precise description, which I deemed still a bit too humanoid to fit the otherworldly and terrifying strangeness that is the Ixitl : intangible lone survivor of a once great species, wandering hopelessly into the inter-galactic void.


A hairy monster …

… with lots of tentacles, slime, and lots of flesh, and teeth, and maybe two heads or more … with limbs running around. Something half dead, with exposed flesh, but alive !”
As requested by Claire B

["un monstre poilu, avec plein de tentacules, de bave, et avec plein de chair, et de dents, et peut-être deux têtes ou plus... avec des membres qui se baladent. Un truc à moitié mort, chair à vif, mais vivant !"]