Short of the Week

Monster Roll

It’s sushi chefs vs. sea monsters in this wildly entertaining special effects driven comedic short from director Dan Blank.

When it comes to special-effects driven shorts, it appears that Heath Ledger’s personification of the Joker said it best: “Why so Serious?” I mean, really, why does amazing computer generated wizardry always have to be so damn bleak?

Well, it seems that filmmaker Dan Blank is setting out to change all that, or at the very least, give us a sense of spectacle without all the weighty gravitas. In Monster Roll, Blank and his team are using the short form as a proof of concept for feature length ambitions. Certainly, it’s a model we’ve seen before, but never has this type of narrative pitch been filled with such colorful whimsy. The logline says it all: sushi chefs fight giant sea monsters. I mean, c’mon, the concept alone is enough to make you smirk.

Most impressive, however, is that Blank and crew actually manage to deliver on their crazy premise, creating a glimpse of a universe that is as quirky as it is engaging.  Enormous Sea Monsters may be destroying Los Angeles, but damn, is it fun to watch. The whole piece is filled with the sort of zany action sensibility that would make director Steven Chow proud. Just swap Shaolin Soccer players with killer sushi chefs and you begin to get the picture.

Blank has cited cinema classics such as Ghostbusters and Big Trouble in Little China as inspiration, and it’s easy to see the connection. Visual effects are only one aspect of the winning formula—Blank wants to complement his computer generated pizzazz with humor, style, and ultimately, heart.  Unfortunately, considering the short’s brief run time, we are only given a taste of his artistic aspirations.  Let’s just hope that like the more grimly themed fare that has come before him, Blank will be afforded the chance to give us the rest of the meal.

Ivan is a filmmaker, video editor, and motion graphic artist from the Washington, DC area. He is an avid movie watcher and podcaster. He’s also quite handsome and charming (at least that's what his Mom says). For more information about Ivan, visit Lucky 9 Studios.
  • Anonymous

    Hey guys, you should have featured the YouTube link I emailed you, coz I’ve included English and french subtitles:

  • Yae

    Being a fan of Japanese food, especially sushi and rolls, I loved this little film and passed it on to friends to watch. <3

  • Caio Costa

    Awesome short! I loved it. Passed it on to friends as well.

  • Owain Street

    Quality short! Funny and it looked great. Would love to see more…

  • Benedict Walshe

    Great fun. Loved the outrage of the sushi chef at the beginning. Anyone notice the tautology at the end though?

  • M.C.

    That was awesome!

  • Cristian Enache

    Haha, exacty! The outrage of the sushi chef was the peak of the video. And indeed, they say the exact same thing twice at the end :)

  • Sadamune

    Sugoiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Great!

  • Sadamune

    Sugoiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Great!

  • suhail

    Nice Work