Though commonly heralded as the kingpin of the contemporary animation game, Pixar has indeed been lacking in one very serious regard: dogs. Having released 17 animated movies over the span of the past 22 years, Pixar really hasn’t capitalized on the feel good grandeur that is the animated pooch. Of course there are exceptions, the alpha of the pack being Up‘s beloved golden retriever pup Dug, with Andy’s dachshund Buster from Toy Story coming in at a close second. But this excellent example of canine virtue aside, all we’ve got are Sid’s mangy bull terrier Scud, a doglike cave boy from The Good Dinosaur, and Wall-E‘s faithful pet roach. Luckily, Pixar’s next outing Coco looks to rectify this glaring omission with the introduction of Dante, main character Miguel’s pet Xoloitzcuintle and best pal.
Coco doesn’t hit theaters ’til November, but today marks the release of the tie-in short “Dante’s Lunch,” which introduces both the aforementioned ravenous cur and the haunted world we’ll see in the feature. In the short, Dante chases an enchanted stray bone through his Mexican village, undaunted in his pursuit by its otherworldly characteristics. The piece plays out in a manner reminiscent of old Bob Clampett cartoons, thrusting the resilient canine from one hurdle to the next as he is determined to chow down on whatever delectable pockets of marrow the bone may be safeguarding.
If “Dante’s Lunch” gives us any indication about how things will play out in Coco, it’s that Dante himself might be following in the footsteps of another favorite Disney animated animal sidekick: Abu. Aladdin‘s monkey chum could be blamed (or thanked?) for stirring up the very trouble that launched the street rat into the whole of his whimsical adventures; perhaps Dante’s hunger for undead bones will do the same for an unsuspecting Miguel.
However significantly he factors into the adventure, we’re happy to watch as much of Dante’s silliness as Pixar is willing to show us. What do you think of the short? Let us know!