We normally think of Woody from "Toy Story" if we think about Pixar cowboys: a sunny hero with a strong moral outlook and a knack for saving the day. But a new Pixar short, "Borrowed Time," features an Old West sheriff whose heartbreaking adventure is definitely not for little kids.
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It is, however, classic Pixar which means it's a high-quality short that should be watched by an audience prepared for some tough subject matter.
The film, which went up on Vimeo last week and has since been viewed over 5.7 million times, features a lawman out in cowboy country reflecting back on the moment that changed his life as a boy — and focuses on whether he can get past an almost overwhelming sense of guilt.
As the tale spins out, there's action and beautiful scenery — but also a death and a not inconsiderable amount of blood, which may surprise viewers. But Pixar hasn't shied away from blood before: a small bloody scratch in "Up" caused a bit of a brouhaha when the film was released in 2009, and Dory got a nosebleed in 2003's "Finding Nemo."
"A goal for us was to make something that kind of contested the notion of animation being a genre, and one for children specifically," animator Hamou-Lhadj (who directed it with Andrew Coats) told The Independent. "We really wanted to make something that was a little bit more adult in the thematic choices, and show that animation could be a medium to tell any sort of story."
Still, recognizing that Pixar's artistry can extend into more adult work is heartening, especially since the short is also thoughtful and redemptive and worth a look. Don't miss it!
(Update: As we've learned, this is not actually a Pixar-produced short, though the filmmakers work for Pixar. As a rep told us, the short was produced entirely on their own time as part of a special co-op program at the studio.)
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