A young boy working underground in a turn-of-the-century coal mine forges a friendship with the canary the men use to detect deadly methane gas. Hoping to escape the dark and dank underground, the boy teaches the bird to play dead. The childish prank, inevitably, turns tragically wrong.
Thematically this is a twist on the classic Boy Who Cried Wolf fable. Albeit in this story it is a boy who cries dead canary. Although the premise is well known, the tale is effectively told. In just a few minutes it sets up a sweet relationship between the boy and the bird. Whom he sees as a pet and companion rather than the potentially life-saving tool it represents to the miners, including his father. One knows exactly where it is headed and yet the moral is powerfully delivered. Watching the boy experience the fallout of his actions is a moving experience.
This animated short looks and feels like a Pixar short film. The style of animation on show is similar to that of their recent film Luca. While Pixar are by no means the gold standard that everyone must measure themselves against, it is neither a critique to be favourably compared to them.
Canary might not reinvent the wheel but it delivers a solid emotional punch. A beautifully animated and moving tale that will tug on the heartstrings of children and adults alike.
Director: P-H Dallaire & Benoit Therriault
Runtime: 12 minutes