This week, Finding Dory – Pixar’s highly anticipated sequel to the 2003 smash hit, Finding Nemo – will splash its way into theaters. Ellen DeGeneres returns to voice the eponymous forgetful fish, who teams up with clownfish pals, Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and Nemo, to track down her parents in Monterey, California. Early reviews of the film have been positive, and it sounds like Finding Dory is going to be the adventure-filled, at times poignant sequel audiences have waited over a decade for.
Of course, with all the hype surrounding the return of Pixar’s beloved aquatic characters to the silver screen, it’s easy to forget another lovable, beach-dwelling character that will be making its debut. Preceding Finding Dory is Piper, Pixar’s latest animated short film. Directed by Alan Barillaro, it tells the story of the titular baby sandpiper who must overcome a case of hydrophobia to dig for food along the shoreline – a seemingly simple theme that points to growing up and the courage it takes to conquer a personal fear.
Since April, Pixar has been releasing images from the short film – which, in addition to showcasing the wide-eyed and adorable Piper, demonstrate the beauty and complexity Pixar is capable of in its computer animation. Now, one week out from the release of Finding Dory, the studio has released its first clip from the short. Check it out, above.
The clip packs a lot into 24 seconds. Hatchling Piper scurries to the shoreline during a feeding frenzy, then proceeds to play with bubbles that pop up along the surface of the sand. On a deeper level, however, the clip demonstrates Pixar’s narrative prowess, utilizing music and sound effects as storytelling devices. The clip ends with the sandpipers running off-screen, perhaps hinting at an oncoming wave – the source of young Piper’s fears.
Since the release of A Bug’s Life in 1998, Pixar has presented short films prior to its feature animations. In addition to entertaining audiences, these shorts are often stellar examples of the studio’s knack for packing a lot of storytelling into six minutes and effectively communicating complex themes in a visually stimulating (and therefore child-friendly) manner. Shorts Tiny Toy, Geri’s Game, and For the Birds have even taken home the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.
Time will tell if Piper receives similar accolades, but based on the clip, it will (at the very least) be a beautiful addition to Pixar’s already impressive catalogue of short films.
Piper hits U.S. theaters, along with Finding Dory, on June 17th, 2016.
Source: Disney UK