Blog Post #4: Pigeon: Impossible

I want to introduce you to Pigeon: Impossible, an award-winning short film I found browsing the internet. (Posted at bottom of this entry) It was created by Lucas Martell of Martell Animation. His website says that the film took five whole years to make and it is only six minutes and fourteen seconds long! Just reading that makes you realize how hard it is to create a good animation with a plot and great visual qualities. What drew me to this film was that it looked like it was of Pixar-like quality. I would easily favorably compare and argue that this short film is on par with and quite possibly even better than Pixar short films. There was a plot, the animation was done well and the music as well added to the story and overall experience for the viewer.

The film starts out with the spy character, Walter Beckett, pulling the logo of ‘Martell animation’ out onto the screen. (If you look closely you can see the pigeon on top of the “M.”) This reminded me of the Pixar lamp and the beginning animation of the lamp crushing the letter “I.” Both are unique ways to show the makers of the film’s company before viewing the film. The music in the opening clip sets the mood for a spy-type film. It is much like the music in Mission: Impossible and James Bond movies.

I found many great uses of animation in this short film. The way the animator scopes the location and character out at the beginning with just a circle and the rest of the screen black makes one think they are looking through binoculars like they are spying on someone. This sets up the spy/secret agent theme even more and works well for the film.

The writing of “Washington, D.C.” and the information being analyzed on screen about Walter Beckett also hearkens to spy movies: the way it looks like a computer typing in the information. Many movies and not just animations do this where it makes one think of the high tech gadgets that go along with special ops duties.

While watching the film, keep an eye on the eyes of both the pigeon and Walter through out the film. They show so much of their mood through their eyes especially on the stand off in the air towards the end. As well watch Walter be clumsy from the beginning: almost being run over by two cars and then almost running into a tree. If you notice when he is being analyzed, he is only a “junior agent,” which lends itself to why he was so clumsy with the whole job! The animator also did a great job of animating the pigeon to have real bird-like qualities. The neck movements, the way he picks at the food, and how he looks to be aloof. He looks like a real pigeon which says a lot about how good the animation was done.

It is an amazing animation done by a guy who was just trying to learn how to do 3D animation. It turned into an entire project where he wanted to end up telling a humorous story. The music in the film, “was performed by two orchestras and required 74 musicians!” This is mind boggling to me for a six minute short film! I am learning to be ever more appreciative of how much hard work goes into animation.

Please enjoy the film as much as I did! This was made “entirely in people’s spare time,” but it is definitely just as funny and as good as Pixar short films I have seen in the past.

I responded to Brittany Alberry and Danyael Hughes and Kristina Wade.

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4 thoughts on “Blog Post #4: Pigeon: Impossible

  1. Wow, that was probably the best cartoon I’ve ever seen! The graphics are amazing! I love the storyline too, especially because working for the government is a family affair for me so I have to laugh at that (all my friends and family joke that my Dad is really a spy). I like everything about this cartoon. I really liked the part when Walter is flying after the rocket and the bagel gets tossed up in the air in slow motion. That really adds a unique part to the cartoon. I also like how in the beginning when there is a close up of Walter with the bagel, in the background there are still moving cars and people, which adds to reality of the cartoon. This was so cute! There needs to be more good animation like this!

  2. I watched this clip before I read your blog and I thought this was one of Pixar’s shorts. When I read further down that the people who created this on their own down time is remarkable. I understand why it took more than five years to finish this six minute short. To do something like that makes it worth taking all that time to work on it. The story was great, characters was great, and I agree that this was just as good as the Pixar’s shorts.

  3. I really enjoyed watching this animation. It had a humorous and over the top story (which every animation usually has). I did three blog posts about Pixar short animations and I can see a lot of differences between this and the ones Pixar make. There is a Pixar short called For The Birds, which is about birds. Compared to this, you really can’t tell what kind of bird it is in the Pixar short because their birds are drawn to what they want them to look like. However in this one, we can see the bird is a Pigeon because of the way it looks. I think if they could have put more detail in the feathering of the pigeon in this short than it would’ve been a lot more realistic, but that doesn’t really hurt the short. Another thing I’ve noticed with short animations is the characters never talk. The characters will only make noises or sounds, but no words are ever spoken. We can see it in this short animation and I’ve seen it in all the Pixar animations I’ve researched. I think by doing this and being able to tell a story with not words is a great thing to accomplish. It basically gives more meaning to the animation. To name a few other different characteristics between this and the Pixar shorts would be creating life to inanimate objects. There is a Pixar short called Tin Toy which brings toys to life (like Toy Story, however Tin Toy was done before Toy Story). I think it takes a lot more thought and work to bring an inanimate object to life than it does a man and pigeon because in real life we have pigeons and men. However, we don’t have toys that come to life. That is another difference between the two. I’m not meaning to disagree with you, but I personally feel Pixar does a slightly better job with animation. But considering someone took five years to learn this and was able to output something like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next one they come out with is better than a Pixar short. I think the person who made this short has a good career ahead of him in animation. Overall, I agree that this animation is very well done because I don’t know a thing about making an animation like this. Great post!

  4. While I will agree that the animation is well done (and bravo to those who worked on it!) I have to disagree on the story and gags in the short. Just about every gag they use in this is a cliche of an earlier spy flick/cartoon, and the character design and music (though parodying spy music) is pulled straight from The Incredibles. More than that, the gadgets in the briefcase seem to be there just for the sake of having gadgets in a briefcase… how can I explain that… they dont fit into an established “world” and the main character has no reason to be doing the things he’s doing. Even within the sillyness of a cartoon, a world needs to have rules and reasons for things to be in it.

    I’m not trying to be a total fuddy-dutty, but story-wise, I just don’t think this holds a candle to either the Pixar films or any of the Dreamworks animated films, story-wise. Technically, it is a masterpiece however.

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