‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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Top 5 Animated Movies

Hand-drawn. Stop motion. Rotoscoping. Live action. Clay. 2D. 3D. Oil paint. Canvas. Stick figure. And the list goes on. Animation is just another medium through which images are manipulated to appear as moving images. Quite frankly, it is one of the most fascinating mediums through which images come to life.

Today, we present the Basement Film Society picks for top 5 best animated movies, drawing mainly from American cinema.

1. Up (2009)

An exciting adventure packed film following Carl and Russell who set out together to fulfill Carl’s dream of seeing South America and the promise made to his late wife, Ellie. An inseparable bond forms between the two in the midst of the journey.

2. Finding Nemo (2003)

Starring Ellen Degeneres, Finding Nemo details the journey Marlon and Dory take to find Marlon’s son, Nemo, after he gets captured in the Great Barrier Reef and ends up miles away from home.

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3. Ponyo (2008)

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Of all the films included, we could not forget to include a Miyazaki film. Ponyo tells the story of a little boy who forms a relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess, who wishes to be human after falling for him.

4. Walle-E (2008)

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A lonely robot, Wall-E, takes a journey to another galaxy where he meets and falls in love with another robot, Eve, and discovers a new purpose when returns home.

5. Moana (2016)

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A one-of-a-kind film that tells the story of Moana, the chosen one by the ocean, on a journey to find Maui, a demigod, to return the heart of Te Fiti and save her island.

This is a very small scale representation of the scope of animated films, as there are many more animated films worthy of mention and praise. However, I do hope that, of the five chosen, readers resonate with their importance and fascination just as much.

Film Forecast Friday: June 15th

On Friday June 15th we have…

  1. Incredibles 2
  2. Tag
  3. Superfly
  4. Gotti
  5. The Yellow Birds

Julia’s prediction:

There is no doubt in my mind that Incredibles 2 will be the biggest movie coming out this week. People have been waiting for this sequel for well over a decade and they will surely flock to the theaters to see it this weekend.

After Incredibles 2 will definitely be Tag. There’s been a ton of marketing on it, and it has a pretty star studded cast including Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner just to name a few. It also looks absolutely hilarious and I am super excited to see it.

Superfly, Gotti, and The Yellow Birds I have heard nothing about, so I don’t really expect big box office numbers from these ones. Gotti does star John Travolta so that might help it out a little, but still not expecting too much out of any of these.

Anthony’s prediction:

I’m going to start out by saying that I saw Incredibles 2 last night, and it was everything. It’s going to kill it at the box office this week and judging by the hundreds of people piling into the theater I was in, that only furthers it.

It blows me away that Tag is already here, as I feel like I’ve been seeing the trailer for it forever. It has the amazing Jon Hamm, who I may or may not intentionally believe to be Armie Hammer’s dad, so I’m ready.

Gotti is getting a lot of attention marketing-wise, but won’t come close to Incredibles 2 or Tag.

Superfly and The Yellow Birds aren’t my cup of tea and won’t be the box office’s either.