Dir: Alan Barillaro
This short film is incredibly cute, baby animals usually are but especially so thanks to the way this is perfectly handled by the animators at Pixar.
A baby Sandpiper has to overcome its fear of the water to find food, it’s as simple as that. There’s nothing complicated about the story, yet there’s something so charming about putting an adorable baby bird at the heart of this beautiful short that echoes the themes that Pixar often base their features and shorts around.
Within the space of a six minute runtime it conveys the themes of family, community and friendship perfectly. The animated shorts are often how Pixar develop their talent, letting their animators (which writer/director Barillaro was on many features) try writing and directing, proving time and time again that they can handle those roles and could one day take on a feature-length project.
This could easily be a John Lewis advert, and has the wonder and beauty you might expect from ‘Planet Earth’ narrated by Sir David Attenborough, honestly there are moments in which the animation is so good you could be fooled into thinking it was live action. The eponymous Piper is so expressive that within just a few minutes the film has told a clear story and makes you fall in love with this little bird. In fact, my friend’s two-year-old watched it with me and shouted ‘cute’ then burst into tears because she couldn’t hold the bird, that’s effective!
If you have bought ‘Finding Dory’ but not watched this from the extra features yet, you really should, it’ll only take a few minutes of your time and cannot fail to impress and warm your heart. It’s another perfect example of what Pixar started off doing and have continued the tradition of, shorts that are visually breathtaking while abounding in humour and warmth.
‘Piper’ can be found accompanying ‘Finding Dory’ on the home media releases. It has been nominated for the ‘Animated Short’ Oscar which I think it has a high chance of winning.