Audiences will be filling their local theaters this weekend to catch up with Nemo, Marlin and their forgetful friend Dory when Pixar's 2016 masterpiece Finding Dory makes its debut. After enduring too many trailers and before venturing back under the sea, theatergoers will take a side trip to the shoreline to meet a new friend, Piper. The latest Pixar short perfectly fits the ocean theme of Finding Dory, creating a harmonious package that typically doesn't exist when it comes to which short debuts with which film.
Piper tells the story of a young water bird who has grown accustomed to her mother feeding her. When her mom encourages the young fledgeling to dig up her own clams, Piper discovers that the ocean's tide can be a scary thing. But conquering her fears will lead to major food rewards if she can just be brave enough.
Using a photo realistic world that feels like an R&D project from The Good Dinosaur, Piper initially looks like a live action nature documentary. But with no dialogue, it quickly establishes itself as a very animated piece that any viewer can instantly understand, regardless of their native language. The little bird quickly warms on you as she takes pride in a job well done.
With a few genuine laughs and a level of charm only matched by early scenes from Dumbo and Bambi, Piper is a nice addition to your Finding Dory experience. While it doesn't instantly rank among my favorite Pixar shorts, I greatly enjoyed it. It's sure to put a smile on everyone's face, but its biggest challenge is that it's attached to a film as amazing as Finding Dory and is easily forgotten once the main feature begins.
I give Piper 4 out of 5 clams.