REVIEW: Burrow [2020]

Rating: 7 out of 10.
  • Rating: G | Runtime: 6 minutes
    Release Date: December 25th, 2020 (USA)
    Studio: Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
    Director(s): Madeline Sharafian
    Writer(s): Madeline Sharafian

I said it two years ago with Kitbull and will say it again now: it’s weird to watch a Pixar production utilizing a two-dimensional, hand-drawn style after so many years of computer animation. Madeline Sharafian‘s Burrow continues that trend within the Disney+ Sparkshorts series and her tale of a young rabbit looking to dig out her dream home in the dirt. There’s a Little Golden Books appeal that hit me with a ton of nostalgia as her unwavering joy is shattered by not one, but two neighbors popping their heads through the walls separating her from their more ambitious abodes. One look at what they’ve each created sends her enthusiasm levels down to zero—her blueprints of a single room habitat a pale comparison conjuring only embarrassment instead.

So what does she do? Dig deeper to get away, hide, and allow her humble fantasies to be enough. With every new tunnel, however, comes another new animal neighbor settled into a veritable mansion. The most unfortunate part of her unnecessary shame is the fact that it refuses to let her see that each new accidental intrusion brings with it a potential new friend cheering excitedly for her to succeed. The moles, frogs, and even the ants all wish the best for her and even break out the pens to help expand her initial vision if only she acquires the confidence to let them see the paper she’s been guarding since her first uninvited guest arrived. Rather than open her eyes, she closes them tighter in wholesale retreat.

There’s a lot to be said about her feelings of shame both for ruining these strangers’ homes and no longer thinking hers is good enough. So many of us have that knee-jerk reaction wherein we don’t believe we’re worth the trouble we think we’ve caused simply by existing. And we run and hide for so long that it becomes our fate to find ourselves lost and alone within a situation that demands assistance before it ruins the lives of everyone we’ve been desperate to avoid. One such incident occurs here to force this rabbit into knocking on the scariest door of them all with ears tucked to beg for help. And what does she find? A community all too ready to drop everything they’re doing to rescue her.

That’s the ideal, right? To reside in a place where you can lean on your neighbor and they can lean on you back. In an era of impenetrable walls and closed doorways, a reminder that trust isn’t something we have to put a monetary value on is as much a breath of fresh air as the vintage animation used to supply it. Sharafian’s parable exudes warmth and love in every frame even if its lead can’t quite escape her own head long enough to realize it until the end. As long as we still recognize its brightness and inspiration, we know that she’ll eventually do the same too since we all make mistakes that we need help from strangers to fix. Most times we simply have to ask.

courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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