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.