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Western Animation / Bilby

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Bilby is a computer-animated short film by DreamWorks Animation, one of the first two in the studio's short films program (the other is Bird Karma). It was originally planned to be a feature-length musical film, titled Larrikins and directed by Tim Minchin. However, when the film got cancelled, a group of animators who worked on the character models for the film used them to create this short instead. It can be found on Blu-ray and DVD copies of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

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The short tells the story of the eponymous bilby, who finds an albatross chick in the middle of the Australian Outback and makes a brave effort to return it to its home by the ocean.


Tropes:

  • And Call Him "George"!: One of the threats the bilby and the albatross chick encounter is an overly cuddly koala that nearly smothers the bilby with a hug.
  • Animal Stampede: During their Travel Montage, the bilby and the chick nearly get trampled first by a flock of emus, then by a mob of kangaroos.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Travel Montage consists of the bilby and the chick running from hungry predators, stampeding herbivores, natural disasters... and some curious platypuses that just look at them.
  • Bee Afraid: At one point the bilby is running from a swarm of bees while carrying the chick.
  • Distant Finale: The last shot of the short is the albatross, now grown up, landing next to the bilby living happily by the ocean, surrounded with fruit.
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  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The Outback is full of dangerous predators, from monitor lizards to scorpions to dingoes and crocodiles. Even the non-predatory wildlife is dangerous, such as the echidnas covered in prickly spines and the stampeding kangaroos. Not to mention the non-living threats like bushfires, boulders and quicksand.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: It wouldn't be an Australian story without a bunch of kangaroos appearing. They stampede through the scene, almost trampling the bilby and the albatross.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: In the climax of the short, the albatross chick is snatched by an eagle.
  • Land Downunder: Where the short takes place.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The bilby is initially introduced as living in constant fear, hiding and running from predators. However, protecting the albatross chick brings out his parental instincts, culminating in an epic fight with the eagle.
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  • Lovable Coward: The bilby is introduced as someone constantly running and hiding from predators. Taking care of the albatross chick brings out his brave side, though.
  • Malicious Monitor Lizard: The short opens with a hungry monitor lizard trying to catch the bilby.
  • Mood Whiplash: When the albatross chick is lifted into the air, it's played as a glorious, upbeat moment - until she's snatched by an eagle. It looks like it was All for Nothing - but then the bilby gets dangerous and engages in an epic fight with the eagle.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: On their journey, the bilby and the chick get attacked by a float of crocodiles.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The bilby gives an epic one to the eagle that snatches the chick.
  • Papa Wolf: The bilby braves through all sorts of hostile environments to return the chick to the ocean. And when the eagle snatches the chick, he gets dangerous and beats up the bird of prey.
  • Pet the Dog: The bilby takes a fruit from a beetle, knocking it up by accident. Before leaving, he helps the beetle get back on its feet.
  • Piranha Problem: Among the threats encountered by the bilby and the chick is a school of small carnivorous fish that attack them like cartoon piranhas (although real piranhas live in South America).
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: A monitor lizard, a snake, a frilled lizard and a bunch of crocodiles all menace the bilby and/or the albatross at some point.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The albatross chick is an adorable ball of white fluff with huge eyes.
  • Scary Scorpions: The bilby rescues the chick from a swarm of scorpions.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The title character, if you haven't guessed, is a bilby. There is also a monitor lizard, a frilled lizard and a group of echidnas making an appearance. The bird of prey snatching the chick at the end of the short, based on its coloration and its habitat, is a white-bellied sea eagle.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Fortunately subverted. It looks like the bilby's journey was All for Nothing when the albatross chick is snatched by an eagle - but the bilby gets dangerous and rescues the chick from the predator.
  • Silly Animal Sound: After the bilby beats him up, the eagle flies away clucking like a chicken.
  • Travel Montage: A very rapid one depicting the bilby's journey to the ocean, where almost every shot is some kind of dangerous situation.

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