Sanjay’s Super Team (2015)
Dir: Sanjay Patel
Slightly based on the director’s life, this short film shows a father and son dynamic, with the younger trying to watch his favourite superhero show on TV and his father on the other side of the room trying to pray at a shrine, saddened at his son’s disinterest in the family tradition.
I really enjoyed not just the story but more the sentiment behind this film, it was genuinely touching and perfectly conveyed the feelings of both characters without words. It didn’t need to be based on real life to be so heart-warming, yet by showing that it was, added an extra level of appreciation for the story.
There’s beautiful use of strong and vibrant colour, used to dazzle at times while also reinforcing the links between how Sanjay is equating the deities with his superheroes. Also, as there’s no speech, the film uses sounds to great effect, such as the ringing of a bell. I felt that it conveyed the story really well without talking.
Ending with photos of the director and his dad at a young age and now is a lovely touch. They are clearly still close and it’s a small detail that may have escaped children’s attention, but for all the adults and parents in the audience it was nice to see. Strangely, this short felt more widely appealing than the feature it preceded, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ which is much more specifically for a younger audience, though I’ll delve into that more in a future post.
A few months after the Church of England was told they couldn’t put an advert before screenings of ‘The Force Awakens’ due to the cinema marketing companies rules about having no political or religious advertisements, they responded that it was unfair for this to be shown. I found this a really silly objection, simply as it’s a film and part of the Pixar package thus what the cinema-going audience are paying for, not an advertisement screened before. In fact, I was more interested in seeing this, partly as it’s Oscar nominated, than I was the feature ‘The Good Dinosaur’, fully knowing what I was going to see. Cinema goers are familiar with Pixar putting a short before their features, it’s a wonderful thing they’ve done for years to develop skills in their talented filmmakers and showcase their award winning short films to a wide audience on the big screen.
I’m really pleased I took the opportunity to see this, it’s a beautiful blending of cultural, family, and superhero themes shown from the thinking of a vivid imagination. While maybe not as funny or charming as some earlier Pixar shorts, it clearly displays great depth and makes Sanjay Patel someone to watch out for. Honing his skills as an animator on many of Pixar’s biggest hits since 1998 and impressing here, hopefully he’ll be given the opportunity to direct a feature in the near future.
‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ can be found screening before ‘The Good Dinosaur’ and is now nominated for the ‘Best Animated Short’ Academy Award.