One of the best parts of any new Pixar film (or most animated films these days) is the little short films before the feature. Usually these will showcase unsung animators, student works, or something the new guy was tasked to do. Of course, Pixar’s next film, The Good Dinosaur, will be proceeded by such a film, this time titled Sanjay’s Super Team.
What makes Sanjay’s really interesting is that the film focuses on a young Indian boy who is pulled away from his Saturday morning superhero cartoons to pray and meditate in his father’s daily rituals. Sanjay learns more about his Hindu culture and reimagines three deities as powerful cartoon-style action heroes ready to save the day.
The director of the short, Sanjay Patel, says that he drew inspiration from his American-Indian upringing, stating, “I knew exactly what [meditation] meant: ‘Turn off the TV, Sanjay, and get your tail over here. We’re going to chant and count mala beads for half an hour,’ …And I’m like, ‘I don’t really want to do that. I really want to watch Voltron.'”
Patel discussed at the recent San Diego Comic Con that he’s not interested in the film acting as an Indian version of The Avengers, but rather hopes for the film to stand more on its own as a cultural ambassador for audiences. He even enlisted Life of Pi composer Mychael Danna to help give the score the right sound to match in lieu of dialogue.
It’s certainly exciting to see more and more new and unique stuff from Pixar after the company seemed to be growing comfortable in a particular niche in recent years. Productions like the inventive Inside Out and now Sanjay’s Super Team shows that the animation studio is still capable of giving audiences something truly creative and new, as is wildly evident from the new artstyle for the short which is extremely reminiscent of the cel shaded style of videogame The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
I know I’m excited to learn even more about this diverse short film as it grows closer to its release alongside The Good Dinosaur on November 25th. (Yeah, two Pixar films in one year, can you believe it?)