Sanjay's Super Team

No one is better than Pixar at making grown-ups cry. They’re so good at it, in fact, that they don’t even necessarily need dialogue or a feature-length running time to bring on the sniffles. Sometimes, a few minutes of brightly colored animation is all it takes to get the eyes stinging with tears.

That was definitely the case for me with Sanjay’s Super Team, which premiered last fall in front of The Good Dinosaur. The seven-minute animation follows a boy whose Saturday morning cartoon-watching is interrupted when his father insists he join him in meditation. The boy is initially annoyed and bored, but some superpowered friends help him come to a better understanding of his father.

The premise is a simple one, but it sets up an intensely personal piece of work — it’s based on the real experiences of its director, Sanjay Patel — and it feels like one. In a new Sanjay’s Super Team featurette, Patel explains what the movie means to him, and shows us his father’s emotional reaction to the film. Watch it after the jump. 

Pixar shared the Sanjay’s Super Team featurette on Twitter. Much of it revolves around Patel’s father’s reaction to the short. He tears up, because he’s a human person watching a Pixar movie. And also probably because it’s really a love letter from his son to him. His emotional response gets producer Nicole Grindle crying too, and there’s some hugging involved. Pixar really is one big feels factory.

You don’t really need to know all the details behind Sanjay’s Super Team to appreciate its gorgeous animation or its all-too-relatable concept, but it definitely adds a little something. In fact, Peter, who saw the film at Comic-Con, admitted that as much as he admired the short the first time he saw it, he was much more moved by it in his second viewing, after he’d heard Patel explain his personal connection to the movie.

Which is exactly what Pixar is hoping for here. Sanjay’s Super Team is shortlisted for the Best Animated Short Oscar this year, and what better way to get voters on board than by reminding them of the touching true story behind it? At least it’s a less stomach-churning Oscar campaign than the one being run by The Revenant, which has gone out of its way to remind people that Leonardo DiCaprio ate — and puked up — real raw bison liver.

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