Disney gets a new elephant star in the new short Elephant in the Room coming to Disney+. This film is part of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Circuit program that gives a wider range of artists the opportunity to create and direct a short film. This one comes from Brian Scott, an animator who has worked on the short film Feast and the Oscar-winning feature film Frozen.
The story starts when a family of banana farmers finds a lost baby elephant and take him home. The young child really wants his pet elephant to come live inside his bedroom and sneaks him in against his father’s wishes. But once inside, the young boy realizes that an elephant should have a very different kind of home.
Stylistically, Elephant in the Room looks like Paperman in full color, with cell-shaded CG characters and hand-drawn accents. The baby elephant, for example, has lots of hair on his head and back, all of it hand-drawn. While I don’t love cell-shading, I like this look for its blend of past and present animation techniques.
Of the six Short Circuits that I previewed at the D23 Expo, Elephant in the Room was the only one to feature a song that sets the feeling and tone of the piece. The song is by Toft Willingham of the band Spiritual Rez and the theme of the song is finding your home. I really enjoyed it and hope it gets released as a single.
Brian Scott’s idea for the short came from a childhood encounter with a lost elephant on the streets of his hometown when the circus was there. He had childhood dreams about keeping the elephant as a pet that stayed with him and inspired the concept of the short. Elephants are one of my favorite animals and I instantly fell in love with this short.
I give Elephant in the Room 4 out of 5 banana peels.
You can watch Elephant in the Room when it premieres exclusively on Disney+
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.