842. First Flight – Kyle Jefferson, Cameron Hood

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SUMMARY: A fastidiously organised businessman has his perspective changed by an encounter with a fledgling bird at a bus stop.

WHY IT’S HERE: DreamWorks have always existed in the shadow of Pixar, with the company name often being used in a derogatory fashion. When Pixar released ‘Brave’, for instance, it was often denigrated as ‘more like a DreamWorks film’. For all the weaker efforts DreamWorks have unleashed on the world however, let us not forget they have also given us the likes of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and the underrated ‘Megamind’. Although they have never hit the heights of Pixar at its best then, DreamWorks are a studio I’m glad exist. The differing charm of DreamWorks is evident in ‘First Flight’, the only DreamWorks short animation not to be spun off from one of their features. This charming little film tells the story of a businessman who encounters a lost fledgling bird at a bus stop. At first annoyed by its presence, he quickly bonds with the bird and makes it his mission to help him fly. When the bus arrives however, he must make a decision about what is more important in life. In truth, ‘First Flight’ layers on the syrup with a trowel but it is so persistently upbeat and charming that it can’t help but lift the spirits. In eschewing Pixar’s more subtle approach, ‘First Flight’ emerges as an unashamedly emotional triumph and the rousing, clever final image challenges the viewer to put aside the eye-rolling and let themselves be hoisted aloft on the soaring music. It’s a hard heart that can resist.

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