Pixar has made it a habit to use their theatrical short films to test the waters for bold new concepts and visual styles. The wonderfully inventive Day & Night, for example, mixed 3D computer animation with traditional 2D animation and yielded fabulous results. The upcoming Sanjay's Super Team, set to debut in theaters this Thanksgiving alongside Pixar's next feature The Good Dinosaur, will evidently be unlike anything the studio has ever done before.
In an article published earlier this week by USA Today, two stills from Sanjay's Super Team were unveiled, giving us a look at the distinct visual style, or rather, styles, that will feature in the new short, which draws its premise from director Sanjay Patel's childhood. The film will seemingly employ two different art styles to distinguish Sanjay's experiences in the real world and within his daydream. The short is also heavily influenced by Patel's Hindu background. Described as a sort of Hindu version of the Avengers, the deities Durga, Vishnu, and Hanuman will be brought to life in Sanjay's daydream.
The first thing that stands out to me is that the artists at Pixar have clearly taken a much more cartoony approach than usual. Sanjay has particularly large eyes, for instance, perhaps meant to be a literal embodiment of his wide-eyed persona. The daydream scenes will undoubtedly be a riot and very different from anything we have ever seen in any Pixar feature or short. It is always a treat to see the talented filmmakers at the studio step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of what computer animation can do.
This does not mark the first time that a Pixar short is inspired by the director's personal childhood experiences and infused with a cultural touch. La Luna was based largely on director Enrico Casarosa's memory of the strained relationship between his father and grandfather and featured a touch of Casarosa's Italian heritage, most notably in the short's music.
Catch Sanjay's Super Team in theaters this fall with The Good Dinosaur on November 25.