For The Birds
Review by Syd
“For The Birds'' is a Pixar Animation Studios short computer animated film made in 2000, and written and directed by Ralph Eggleston. This film is one I remember from so long ago in my childhood and is still one of my favorites especially now since I have a dog.
The film starts with several cute and small, but fat and irritable blue birds all gathering onto a power line. As one bird after another perches on the line, one stretches too much into another one's personal space, then another bumps into a third bird, that bird also bumps another, and more and more birds still come. In the heat of the squeaky quarrel, the small birds hear a loud honk and the face of “What fresh Hell?!” sets in. Standing on the powerpole beside the argument is a big, lanky, Dollar Store version of Sesame Street’s Big Bird coming to join in on the powerline sitting despite being made fun of.
As the smaller birds start squeaking at the big bird, he joins in with his own noise, unaware that it's even an argument, gets pecked, and flips over. As he hangs there the birds on each side of him start pecking at his toes. By the time the birds have one toe left, one sees how close to the ground the big bird actually weighed down the power line. They all realize what’s about to happen and up they go, only their feathers remain. The big bird sits on his head? There should be a yoga pose named after this bird, little feathers flutter down around him as he flips back over to play with them. Suddenly, a naked, rotisserie chicken of a bird falls, then another, and another, until a whole clan of birdy nudists stands there. Better than any episode of “Naked and Afraid”, these birds had it coming as they ran for cover behind the big bird.
This Pixar short is one that will never get old in my opinion. It’s a short that highlights bullying and the consequences of bullying in a light hearted way. Rejecting the big bird affects the other smaller birds. Short films, like the ones produced by Pixar Animation Studios, always contain some sort of life lesson embedded within the silly entertainment for viewers young and old. For the Birds entertains film lovers while sneaking in the importance of not discriminating and bullying others. There may not be anything really special other than the lesson taught and the nostalgia that hits every time I watch it, but the countless times I have seen it being shown in classes supports that this Pixar short is timeless, humorous, and full of life.
Review by Syd
“Geri’s Game” is another Pixar produced computer animation from 1997 and is written and directed by Jan Pinkava. Like most other Pixar shorts, “Geri’s Game” tells the audience a story which includes a fun twist. In this film, an elderly man, Geri, is at the park on a nice sunny day with his game of chess in hand, ready to play. The downside is that nobody else is there, but Geri gets creative, Geri plays against… Geri?!?! Because he plays against himself it’s pretty obvious who wins. What does Geri win? After his loss… or win, he pulls out his dentures and sets them on the table for Geri to proudly collect!
“Geri’s Game” is a silly, but valuable short. It can teach children… or some adults to have fun with what you have and that in the long run everyone's a winner.
Watching “Geri’s Game” has reminded me of my own pawpaw’s dry and crispy humor. Since I was a kid he has always tried to make anything and everything funny whether it’s driving down the road after supper singing and playing the Wheels on the Bus song with the actual car horn, calling my dog Zachary (he does know it’s Daiquiri, right?), or casually pulling a taxidermied turkey foot, his grabber he called it, out of his desk drawer. Geri, like pawpaw Kieth, shows us how we should let loose and enjoy the moments, even if by ourselves. To expand on my overall thoughts, I like Gerri and his character. He isn’t your usual grumpy old man character seen on television. I also want to talk about how vibrant and colorful the Autumn scenery is. Computer animation style is a long and tedious process, so the efforts of the animators definitely paid off to match the vibrant theme of this story and its comedic plot.
If Anything Happens I Love You
Review by Syd
If Anything Happens I Love You is a longer animated short film in comparison to other films I have watched. This film is also more serious in topic compared to most short films. The film is about a couple, they barely speak but when they do speak it’s brief and in disagreement with one another. When you watch you start to pick up on the grief they experience, but what or who are they grieving? Trigger warning before reading further. They mourn the loss of their daughter who was a victim of a school shooting. This is a sensitive topic for many, and unfortunately something that happens too often. I feel it is important to remember that these things happen everywhere. Most recently the school shooting in Tennessee. Staff, teachers, and children were taken. So many losses for their friends and families.
I like this film for the strong emotions you feel as you watch it. As sad as it is in the beginning, there is a slightly happier ending. The parents reminisce about the happy times with their daughter, they laugh, they cry, but most importantly they learn that mourning is better when not done alone. They learn to experience grieving together.
As someone who plans to work in education, things like this happening is one of my biggest fears. Finishing up my junior year I have already been placed in schools to observe teachers and next year at this time I will student teach and have more involvement. With more visits to my schools comes more realization of what could happen in schools besides what is supposed to. As a future teacher, I have to be aware and stay beyond prepared. To all of those who were impacted by a shooting in a school or anywhere else, we know you grieve, we mourn with you. I believe animated shorts such as If Anything Happens I Love You should be shared with everyone to keep the awareness of what happens so that we may keep it from happening again.