Sanjay's Super Team


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sanjay's Super Team
"Overall, the film is rather slight, but it's an appealing slice of (mostly fantasy) life and an affectionate reflection on a treasured personal relationship."

By far the cutest film in 2016's Best Animated Short Oscar race, Sanjay's Super Team is also the most personal. Toy Story 2 animator Sanjay Patel looks back at his childhood and the way that his passion for superheroes helped him to understand his father's religious devotion. It was a huge hit at Comic-Con, where Patel is always a popular figure, and it will charm audiences from all backgrounds.

Little Sanjay is like kids everywhere (apart from having eyes that take up half his face, but that's Pixar for you). He just wants to play with his action figure and watch his cartoons. But Sanjay's dad wants to pray in the shrine at the other side of the room, chanting and ringing his bell. When Sanjay loses a brief battle over volume and is made to pay attention to the shrine himself, something magical happens, and he is miniaturised and transported into its interior, and arena in which he must find his own Super Team to fight off an evil shape shifter. It's this which leads him to discover that the trio of gods represented in the shrine have super powers of their own.

Copy picture

Elegantly animated with reference to centuries of Hindu art and drawing on a language of kids' cartoons which is as much Japanese as it is American, this is a film that will have special appeal to educated comics fans, whilst charming just about everybody. California's particular brand of hybridised Indian trance music blends with traditional cinematic soundtrack cues to set the tone for dramatic fight sequences. There's never much real sense of danger beyond little Sanjay's worries that he'll be in trouble with his dad for his careless approach, but he's an easy character to invest in, and there's plenty here to entertain.

Overall, the film is rather slight, but it's an appealing slice of (mostly fantasy) life and an affectionate reflection on a treasured personal relationship. Its cultural insight is limited by its child's-eye view but it still speaks to a cultural experience that's badly under-represented in cinema, using the short form to go where features fail to.

Reviewed on: 02 Feb 2016
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Sanjay's Super Team packshot
A boy comes to understand his father's religious devotion through his own love of superheroes.

Director: Sanjay Patel

Writer: Sanjay Patel

Starring: Brent Schraff

Year: 2015

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: US


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