‘Bao’: Pixar’s ‘Incredibles 2’ Short Is a Sweet Little Dumpling Surprise

Bao
Bao: Image courtesy Disney

The last Pixar movie I reviewed, Coco, did not air a short beforehand. Not to press screenings, anyway. There was a short shown before the general audience release, a 21-minute Frozen short. It turned out that audiences really hated it. I suspect Disney had some notion it was unpopular and wisely decided to cut it from the press screenings.

I’m happy to say that Incredibles 2 did not make the same mistake. Instead, it features an original short film called Bao, and it is weird, wonderful, and possibly my favorite Pixar short to date. Evil Genius Mum, however, was not a big fan.

Bao reflects the Chinese-Canadian experience of director Domee Shi, but as the mother of teens, the story hit all my empathy buttons.

Mild spoilers: the story begins with a Chinese mother sad about her new life as an empty-nester. One of her dumplings mysteriously comes to adorable life and must be nurtured as it grows, but nothing can be that cute forever. I won’t spoil the rest of the story, except to say that I was both laughing and crying. I may have even applauded in the middle.

I really enjoyed Incredibles 2, but it was this short that set the stage for those of us who enjoyed the first Incredibles movie with our very young kids, who are no longer the tiny little dumplings they once were.