On Sunday, Disney made Oscar history when the studio, for the first time in history, won both "Best Animated Film" and "Best Animated Short Film" in the very same night with Big Hero 6 and the short that preceded it, Feast. In honor of this accomplishment, I've decided to take a closer look at their short, Feast.
Feast opens up with a starving puppy on the street. After being lured by a fry from a guy named James, he quickly becomes a beloved and spoiled pet named Winston. He starts by eating dog food, munching bowls of it rather quickly. It isn't long before James starts giving him people food, to which Winston quickly adapts, gobbling down everything ranging from bacon and eggs to spaghetti to nachos. Winston becomes so adapted, he doesn't even bother eating his own dog food anymore.
It�s a pleasant life for Winston until James starts dating a waitress, who urges him to start a healthier diet. Winston has no interest in vegetables, yearning for the days of hamburgers and pizza. After throwing a bit of a fit, he ends up with plain dog food with a basil on top. But then, after an argument, James and his girlfriend break up, thus, Winston starts to get junk food again, which includes getting to eat ice-cream, donuts and maple-syrup dumped waffles. While Winston is ecstatic at first, he eventually realizes that his master doesn't share his joy, and that he is ultimately miserable. Upset with this, Winston decides to pull a Pongo and gets James back together with his girlfriend. Soon after that, they're married and not long after that, they have a kid of their own, who's already on his way to sharing food with Winston!
Director Patrick Osborne said the story was inspired by the app, "1secondeveryday", which allows users to record 1-second video clips and edit them into a movie. After recording all the dinners he ate, he thought it could make the basis of a fun short film.
What I like about the short is that while its innovative and forward-thinking, it never feels overly modern nor gimmicky (unlike say, last year's Get A Horse). This manages to feel like classic storytelling. Anybody who has ever owned a pet in their life, particularly a dog, can relate to this story, as the mere excitement of doing something for your pet, even as something as simple and mundane as feeding them, is something that's universally relatable In fact there's nothing in this short that feels like it couldn't have been made in the 80s or 90s, or at another earlier point in Disney's history, which will only make it more likely to hold its appeal 20-50 years from now.
But also in tradition of Disney, it takes one step in the future as well as the past, as this uses the "Meander System" a computer program that allows users to combine computer-generated shapes and backgrounds with hand-drawn animation. While Disney has already used this program when making their Academy Award-winning Paperman, Feast marked the first time this tool was used in color. This milestone gives Feast the look of a painting or a chalk picture, certainly a look that's distinctive from anything else Disney has done in their now 10-decade history.
Feast made its DVD/Blu-Ray debut last Tuesday with the film it premiered with, Big Hero 6. It can also be purchased on iTunes for $2.99. With its place in history cemented with the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday Feb. 22nd, now is as good of a chance as ever to watch it!