Having been attached to several high profile projects over the years – from the Heavy Metal adaptation that spawned LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS to a live-action version of Warren Ellis’ Gravel – filmmaker Tim Miller finally got his directorial big break helming the hugely popular superhero feature Deadpool in 2016. His first time back in the directing chair since 2003, we take a look at his previous film as director – animated short film Rockfish.
A 3D animation centred around a man and his mutant pet on a fishing trip to a scorched, barren planet (the title will give you a clue on how they plan to fish with no water), Miller’s 10-minute short is dialogue-free and action-packed. It’s easy to see how it caught the attention of so many when it was first released – Rockfish was nominated for an Annie Award and Best Animation at Palm Springs International ShortFest.
Almost 20-years-old at the time of writing this article, it doesn’t feel like I’m being overly harsh in saying that the aesthetic of Rockfish appears dated in the current climate (3D animation tends to improve quickly, especially with developments in computing). Appraising it retrospectively, however, you can imagine it being a real knockout at the time and the impressive world-building, well-choreographed action and ambition is still plain to see now.
As we mentioned earlier, there was a large gap in time between Miller directing Rockfish and taking the reigns on Deadpool, but the filmmaker was by no means inactive during this time. Having set up his production company Blur Studio in 1995, they went on to produce a number of teasers, title sequences and video-game cinematics including creating the title sequence for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the ‘Heaven and Hell’ sequence for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and working on the CGI environments for James Cameron’s Avatar.
Since Deadpool, Miller has directed Terminator: Dark Fate, produced the Sonic the Hedgehog feature and is, of course, creator of Netflix’s short film anthology LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS.