Short Film Review: Disney’s Far From The Tree
Like humans, animals have feelings and souls too. This film brings back nostalgic memories from the classic Disney animated films like Bambi, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book and the full-color, three-stripe animated cartoon Flowers and Trees, which garnered animator Walt Disney the first presented Best Animated Short Film Oscar in 1932. Animator and director Natalie Nourigat decided to step away from Disney’s Short Circuit to develop and helm this short film in the ways of returning the shorts back to theaters, rather than streaming services, continuing Disney’s (and Pixar’s) tradition of releasing silent short films in front of feature films for much more amusement and enhancement.
Disney’s Far From The Tree, written and directed by Nourigat, features a strict but loving raccoon parent who struggles to protect its family and offspring from harm and danger. With danger never being too easy to face, the cub must soon learn the importance of family, safety, precaution, and of course, survival.
Having no dialogue as part of the tradition for Disney/Pixar theatrical shorts, this short is completely hand-drawn, using the state-of-the-art software technology to create a hand-drawn looks and styles which really brought the confusion for the movie viewers to believe that this short film is made by hand and CGI rather than just actually being by CGI entirely. In addition, lots of people, including animation fans, have been missing this classic animation style that has been missing for a very long time for the American-mainstream animation due to CGI being introduced and taking over most hand-drawn animators’ jobs. For this one, this latest short film is like a breath of fresh air and traveling back through time.
This story and the climax of this short bear the similar emotional effect like the previous Oscar-winning Disney shorts Paperman (shown in front of Wreck-It Ralph) and Feast (shown in front of Big Hero 6) due to the tone and the strong behavior of those characters, giving the feel of the Hero’s Journey procedure. It also mirrors the feature’s themes of family, concern, and the safety of their home in its captivating story of any animal protecting their loved ones and their home from danger and anything harmful.
Disney’s Far From The Tree is a heartwarming seven-minute short film. It will be released theatrically in front of Disney’s Encanto on Thanksgiving Day. Nourigat is a great director and a great lecturer on sharing the most powerful voice of how humans and animals could live their life and purpose in peace without being disturbed by someone or something that puts them at risk. Just like animals, trees, and other living creatures on the planet, she certainly knows we live in a messier world out there all around and we need to be concerned and cautious in our surroundings. This is something we need to learn from our parents and try to be better with our own [future] kids with such a teary story about caution and devastation.
(Review by Henry Pham)