When it comes to films or shorts that tackle serious topics like autism, they'll usually treat the subject with not only the necessary care and attention needed for a subject matter like that, but they'll also go in a more positive direction to benefit those who either don't understand it or those who relate to it. In the case of the Pixar Spark Short Loop, it focuses on a chattery boy and a non-verbal girl on the spectrum who must learn to understand each other on their camp canoeing trip. Of all the shorts related to contrasting personalities that I have seen, none have hit quite as hard to me as this one.
The first key note of praise must be given to the autistic girl Renee, who is not only shown to communicate less through speech than gestures and vocal moans, but her iPhone also displays a nose feature that she uses to get around in the world. It's also great to note that her voice was a real girl on the spectrum, showing just how much detail the creators put into fleshing out Renee's persona. In contrast, Marcus is more of a casual chatterbox who is clearly unfamiliar with how people on the spectrum function, which makes his interactions with Renee conflicting yet fascinating. Even if the idea of putting a presumably "brighter" person in a situation with another one who acts differently has been done before, the ways Marcus and Renee have to communicate on their canoe help them grow as peers more so than just general tropes. We learn so much about what Renee likes and dislikes throughout the experience and even beyond her musical ringtone, whether it'd be the great outdoors, eye contact or especially loud jarring noises, much to the bewilderment of Marcus, let alone the viewers.
Director Erica Milsom stated that one of the reasons the short was animated as opposed to live-action was to present the theme of developmental disability through viewer persuasion. Animation has the power to explore unique possibilities that live-action can't even try to get to, and through this short, the filmmakers cleverly sprinkled notable details to prove said point. From the subtle lighting changes depending on the emotional changes Renee goes through, to the highly specific facial expressions, to even Renee's point of view looking more blurry and disoriented to indicate how she views the world differently from Marcus. Even the music does a good job in setting the mood of a scene without coming off as distracting, almost as if it writes the moment itself rather than coming off as some sort of after thought. If I do have to give any sort of criticism, it would have to be that the camp counselor could have been a little more explicit in his role. It's indicated that he understands Renee more than Marcus, so maybe one more scene with him might have given a bit more substance to Renee's arch.
One last thing to mention is that Milsom described Renee's voice actor Madison Bandy as being hard to understand if you were to first hear her speak, but that in turn was the film's main point. Even if you don't understand a person by their behavior or actions, it's best to at least start being friendly to them so you can benefit both them and yourself for a better tomorrow. As a healthy reminder to the world about getting along in spite of our differences, Loop just might stand the test of time for years to come in enlightening the world about how vital it is to treat every type of human being with respect and care, no matter how different they are.
Adventure / Animation / Comedy
Adventure / Animation / Comedy
In LOOP, two kids at canoe camp find themselves adrift on a lake, unable to move forward until they find a new way to connect and see the world through each other's eyes. This film breaks new ground by featuring Pixar's first non-verbal autistic character. —Pixar
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 25, 2021 at 04:25 PM