Pixar, Reviews

[Review] Oscar Nominated Shorts: ‘Piper’

Share on Pinterest

Those of you who do not know me well might not know I live for the ocean. There is nothing in life I love more than being in the ocean and swimming to my little heart’s content. Unfortunately, I live in the land-locked state of Utah, which means I must get my ocean fixes (outside of a rare vacation) from the movies. For example, I loved Moana and Finding Dory this year partly because of the sumptuous ocean scenery throughout both films.

This was also true in spades with Pixar’s other offering this year: its animated short Piper. Not only is Piper an oceanic visual delight, but it also tells a sweet, wonderful story that will warm your heart. It’s a fantastic short and my favorite of the five nominees.

Let’s start off talking about the visuals. Wow! They are so stunning! I’m not someone that is normally blown away by realism in animation, but that realism isn’t always THE OCEAN! Seeing the water wash over Piper took my breath away. It was so green and blue and the sound design added to the feeling of water! It makes me want to run up to the wave and dive in!

But the visuals can only get you so far if the story isn’t good, and Piper nails it in that department. It’s a simple yet moving story of how we can conquer our fears. Piper is a little sanderling who hasn’t learned how to get food yet. She is encouraged to peck at the sand but gets drenched with water from a wave. This is so adorable…

Then she becomes afraid of the waves and retreats, hoping someone will bring her food, but the larger birds refuse. Then she sees a hermit crab borrowing in the sand and adopts the same strategy to absorb a wave. When she see’s how great the water is, she loves it and runs around the beach with renewed energy!

We can all learn from Piper’s example. Many times in life we are hit by challenges and fears that seem overwhelming. But if we face them head-on and find strategies for coping, we can not only conquer our fears but also open whole new worlds to explore. This is true whether it be a new school, job, marriage or whatever feels new and scary. Like Piper, we can find strategies and solutions to help us persevere and come out stronger than ever before.

It’s funny because a lot of people think Pixar is a sure-thing when it comes to the Oscars in animated shorts, but in reality, that is far from the case. In fact, they have not won since For the Birds in 2000! Since they weren’t nominated for Finding Dory, I kind of hope Piper will finally give them a win again, but we will see what happens come Oscar night!

What did you think of Piper? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Edited by: Kelly Conley

Share on Pinterest

About Rachel Wagner

Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic and podcaster. She loves all things animation and does a monthly podcast on classic Disney films and on obscure animation at Rachel's Reviews. She also is the founder and lead host of The Hallmarkies Podcast. She grew up with mainstream classics like The Little Mermaid and The Simpsons but also loves indie and anime fare like Song of the Sea and Your Name. Most important to her is discussing all kinds of film and TV shows with her friends and all of you. Follow Rachel on twitter at @rachel_reviews and on her blog rachelsreviews.net