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New Disney animated short is a 'Feast' for the senses

Updated on November 3, 2014
The star of Feast, the adorable Winston.
The star of Feast, the adorable Winston.

Disney and it's shorts

The tradition of making short, animated movies is not a new one for Disney. In fact, it's what the studio started off with all those years ago. Characters like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck all started their lives in short animated movies. This was a time when making animated features was out of the question. Animation studios were much smaller then than they are today, so nobody even thought of making a 90 minute animated movie that would take years to create. But when Walt Disney decided to try this out and reached huge successes with his Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, animated features quickly became more and more common.

While shorts were still being made by the dozens, the medium slowly but surely became less popular. Back in the early days, regular short movies were also still being made, so it was easier for a movie distributor to sell animated shorts together with other short movies as a 90 minute or two hour program. But when longer movies became more successful and short movies more or less disappeared. animated shorts also started falling from grace. Sure, there's short form TV-animation, but those animations just don't have the budget that the animated shorts made for the movie theaters used to have.

At a certain point, shorts disappeared from movie theaters altogether. It was Pixar that reintroduced the art of making a good animated short, with every Pixar-movie being preceded by a short classic. This inspired Disney to also start making their own shorts again, and recently their shorts have enjoyed great succes.

The teaser trailer for Disney's new animated movie Feast

A story of a man, his dog, and the food they eat

Feast tells the story of a relationship between a man and his dog, seen through the eyes of the dog. WInston and his master James are leading a great life. They're happy together and eat feast after feast. That is, right up until the moment James gets a girlfriend named Kirby, who doesn't take to all the fast food James has been preparing, and instead changes the diet to healthy food.

Feast is a mix between computer animation and traditional, hand drawn animation and it looks fantastic. It's a further development of the animation style used for Oscar winning short Paperman. Osborne, together with production designer Jeff Turley, developed an animation style for that movie that made it easier to apply hand drawn lines to computer animated images in motion. The movie consists of quick cuts between scenes, chronicling many years in the relationship between Winston and James. The initial inspiration for director Osborne was to tell a life story through dinners, taking inspiration from the app 1secondeveryday, which Osborne used for half a year to photograph his dinners.

Boston terriers don't appreciate healthfood.
Boston terriers don't appreciate healthfood.

Winston, Disney's latest canine hero

Disney has a long history with their animated dogs. Think of Pluto, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians... So to come up with a new dog to add to the long line of popular pooches is no easy task. Still, Feast director Patrick Osborne wasn't too daunted by the task at hand. He looked at every dog in Disney history, making sure that his star wouldn't be too close to other popular Disney dogs, and then decided on using a Boston terrier as a model for his dimunitive hero. “The Boston terrier hadn’t been done by Disney yet. And it had to be small enough to fit under the (dining) table,” Osborne told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Osborne was very excited to see his directing debut come to life for the movie, and was thrilled about the reaction to his creation. Early screenings of the movie were a rousing success, and it looks like Winston is going to become one of Disney's classic characters. “He’s going to be in the Disney Store, which is mind-blowing to me. That’s pretty crazy,” Osborne told the Cincinatti Enquirer. “The character is also in the Disney pipeline now. You can trade assets between movies, so he could be in the background in a park or in another movie.”

That's more like it!
That's more like it!

Technically speaking

Because Feast is seen from the point of view of a small dog, the camera angles in the movie are a bit different than what you might be used to. The angles are low, there isn't as much depth in the images and the colors are different. The last bit was also a design choice, as the color green only enters the screen during the scenes where Kirby introduces the healthier diet to the two friends.

Using the tecnhniques Osborne created for Paperman added to the stylized look of the movie. As he told movie blog Immersed in Movies: ""Part of the design rule of the short was we were going to use flat, solid shapes in their silhouettes almost entirely. When you think about what animation is, it's really shape design over time. And there are all kinds of ways to get that shape. The 3D is just a way of organizing shapes and keeping things on model. It's a lot easier to make Winston look like Winston the whole time."

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Release dates for Feast

Feast will be released in theaters with Big Hero 6 all across the US on November 7th. The rest of the world will follow in the months after that. There's quite a big gap between these dates, something you don't see that often with the big movies anymore. Some dates:

Russia (October 23 2014)
Italy (December 18 2014)
Spain (December 19 2014)
Japan (December 20 2014)
Brazil (December 20 2014)
Australia and New Zealand (December 26 2014)
Germany (January 22 2015)
UK (January 30 2015)
France (February 11 2015)
Belgium and The Netherlands (February 11 2015)

Comments

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    • Patrick Rijnders profile image
      Author

      Patrick Rijnders 3 years ago from The Netherlands

      No problem, it seems like a really fun short.

    • Cheeky Kid profile image

      Cheeky Kid 3 years ago from Milky Way

      Of course I know about Big Hero 6, but I've never heard of this "Feast" before. Seems interesting though. I'll go check it out myself. Thanks for informing. :D

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