Disney-Pixar’s COCO may not hit cinemas in the US until Thanksgiving, and Boxing Day in Australia, but this new short film introduces us to one of its canine stars. Although it runs for less than 2 minutes, we get a sense of the Mexican setting and the Dia de los Muertos inspired style.
In a plot reminiscent of the 1940’s Pluto short “Bone Trouble,” DANTE’S LUNCH – A SHORT TAIL follows the titular mutt as he attempts to retrieve a morsel for lunch, even if his meal seems to have a mind of its own. It’s a delightful return to the classic style of Disney storytelling, and a promising signs of things to come from Pixar’s first non-sequel since 2015’s The Good Dinosaur.
Directed by Lee Unkrich, who helms the feature film, this is not so much a short as an animation test that the director wanted to share with hungry fans. One of the fun aspects of the short is Dante’s tongue, a characteristic of the frequently toothless Xolo breed of dogs. “We thought we would kind of embrace that and make it part of Dante’s character. So his tongue is almost its own character, separate from him.” Indeed, even in this short character introduction Pixar manages to put more pathos and narrative thrust into their lead than most feature films.