R’ha (2013) is an animated science fiction short film by Kaleb Lechowski. The story takes place on an alien world where technology has surpassed the species it was created by and it seeks to destroy them.
A captured alien gives the audience the backstory all while being tortured by an artificial intelligence for information on the location of the aliens that escaped it. We see the alien escape it’s torture and immanent death and try to reach the rendezvous point with the others only to see that the computer predicted this and placed a tracker on the ship, leaving the audience at a cliffhanger.
Several things are strikingly interesting about the film, from design, to color, and even the complexity of certain scenes. The first thing that particularly stands out is that the aliens are not designed to look like humans. Rather than focusing on recognizable emotions the audience must pay attention to the slight movements of the alien and the dialogue to understand their feelings. (Which is a refreshing breath of hair from the very humanoid concepts for aliens in science fiction.)
The colors of the film is almost monochrome and very minimalist in it’s concept, but the pop of warm tones make the shadows and light even more visceral than if they stood alone without it. Many of the scenes have such complex movements that it’s hard to imagine that this film was done with only a handful of people.
R’ha is an achievement for the science fiction genre in it’s own right as a story with such beautiful world building and intricate animation and design.
Written by Shannon Sawyer