The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Review: Pixar Short Films Collection


[ Review Written By: Liam Walters ]

[Originally posted: August 30th 2010]

There’s a lot you can say about Pixar. They were the first CGI animation company to be formed, being created after Disney rejected their idea of computer animation, thinking it wouldn’t go anywhere. Little did they know that they would soon buy the very same company that was formed after they rejected the idea.

But enough about irony, today I’ll be looking at the Pixar Short Films Collection – Volume 1. What’s interesting to note is that this came out in 2007, and now in 2010, there is still yet to be a volume 2 released. Which either means they’re working on it, which is a credible enough as they’re still making short films, such as ‘Night & Day’ that they showed before Toy Story 3.

As for the DVD itself, its pretty entertaining, and its interesting to see how Pixar developed their animation with the developments of computers and software. Going back all the way to 1984, to all the way to 2006, we can watch through, and enjoy, 13 different short films lasting a total of 50 minutes. Some of them are based of films, whilst others have inspired the creation of future films, but all of them stand in their own merit.

So time to start, and where better to start than they’re first creation. Going back 6 years before I was even born, its time to see what they have to offer.

The Adventures of André & Wally B. (1984)

There’s not really much I can say about this, without sounding too much like a media snob. It was Pixar’s first CGI short, made in part with Lucasfilm. The whole thing only lasts about a minute or so, but I think it was more of a test to see what they could achieve, rather than a piece of entertainment.

Luxo Jr. (1986)

Now anyone who has watched anything Pixar will know the main character of this short. The character from this short would become that popular, that it would eventually become the mascot for Pixar itself. That’s right. It is the lamp.

This one probably only lasts just longer than a minute, but it is still a fantastic piece of film. The way they animated the lamps is part way between human and animal. Its how you would expect a lamp to move like if they could actually move. I would say this is one of the better shorts on the DVD.

Red’s Dream (1987)

This one is quite interesting, although not one of my favourites. It’s a little longer than the others that have been before it, so you can tell that the animations and the equipment is getting much better. The short itself takes you inside the dream of a red unicycle. You can tell that the unicycle is abandoned, and that nobody wants it due to being half price and hidden away in a corner.

This is actually quite weird, as it ends on a kind of sad, dark ending.

Tin Toy (1988)

Tin Toy follows a small, one man band toy as he tries to escape the wrath of being played with by a baby. The premise is good and is well developed… But I just can’t focus on the short properly… Because of the baby.

I know it was released in 1988, and so the software wasn’t that good, but that baby will be in my nightmares for the next 3 years. It just looks giant, and that face! It looks like the would be offspring if Phil Mitchell could breed with himself.

Knick Knack (1989)

So before the short film begins we see a title card, telling us that ‘In 1989, six years before Toy Story. Pixar Animation Studios made this short film. I think it tells us that because of what the short is about. Its a bunch of novelty toys, but one in particular. A snowman, trapped in a snowglobe, and his attempts of breaking free so he can get to a quite sexy looking beach babe toy. Now the only thing I can really think of as a motive to go as far as this snowman down is that he’s been having a… dry period, and just wants some poontang.

Sexual references aside, this is another entertaining one that would be fun to watch before a film.

Random Note: For those of you who have seen the 2007/08 BUPA car insurance adverts, the music from some of the adverts in that was originally used in this short.

Geri’s Game (1997)

Geri’s Game is one of the best shorts on the disk. Personally I would class it at number 3. The pacing and style is excellent, and the artwork is much improved. The switching of places and the eccentricity of the old man is entertaining, and I would be very happy to watch this again. I would even play the old man at a game of chess myself, although he seems to have enough fun playing by himself… Oh, and he doesn’t exist…

For the Birds (2000)

I can’t tell you how much I love this short film. Everything about it is just so right, and just so funny. The animation is excellent, and the little detail between the birds almost seems like they all have their own little personalities.
Even though you can see the ending before it comes, it still gives a lot of laughs along the way. I can’t stress this enough that this is my number one favourite short on the disk, and defiantly one I’ll be watching again.

Mike’s New Car (2002)

Now, I haven’t watched Monsters Inc. believe it or not. I just never got around to watching it. I tried to once, I took it out of the college library… But it turned out it was just a poorly recorded version from the TV that didn’t even play anyway.

So as you have guessed, this short uses the characters from Monsters Inc. Now its still easy to watch without having seen the film, so I applaud Pixar for making the audience not feel warped for not knowing certain things. As for enjoyability… Yeah, it was alright, but not really one I would watch again.

Random Note: As far as the DVD goes, this is the first one to have speaking voices. ‘Geri’s Game’ had a voice actor but no dialogue, and the same with the baby from ‘Tin Toy’, but as for actual written dialogue, or even monologue, this is the first.

Boundin’ (May 7, 2003)

Boundin’ is another good short to add to the list. Being a mainly musical short, its different from some of the others that have been on the DVD. Boundin’ follows the life of a sheep who likes to dance. But one day he is taken away and all his wool is shaved off, and he is left bare. All of his friends laugh at him.

He than meets a Jackalope, who tells him life is alright and he should just bounce everywhere. And so the sheep does, and everything works out fine.

But there’s just one line that really confused me, which is:

Be it pink, purple, or heliotrope”

…Honestly? Heliotrope? I mean, I had to actually go to google to look up what it meant. (For those of you interested, it’s a pinky purple… Yeah).

I know they have to keep with the rhyming, but could they have picked a more obscure colour?

Jack-Jack Attack (May 6, 2005)

Ahhhh, my second favourite short on this disk. I really liked ‘The Incredibles’. There was a lot of adult humour mixed in with the stuff for the kid’s, and it was an all around enjoyable film.

This short based off the movie, where we see the hell that the babysitter goes through looking after Jack-Jack is a perfect compliment to the film.

A must watch if you loved the original film.

One Man Band (May 5, 2005)

This is another one of those films which is just… Alright. Really, there’s nothing special about it, and its kind of a disappointment, coming 5 years after the masterpiece of ‘For The Birds’.

The basic premise is that two, one man bands, have a musical fight to win over a little girl with a coin. It’s worth a watch at least once, but to be honest, I wouldn’t really find myself going back to re-watch it.

Mater and the Ghostlight (October 31, 2006)

This is once again like Monsters Inc. I haven’t seen Cars, nor do I have any intention of doing so any time soon. It just didn’t look that appealing to me when it was released, and it still doesn’t now I’m older.

I wont lie, it does have some entertaining moments in it, and the final gag is probably the best, but all in all, it doesn’t make me want to see the film any more than I did before, and neither would I want to watch it again.

Lifted (December 21, 2006)

This is the last short on the disk… And thank the lord because it’s a good one. Going back to doing an original, that is actually funny, we see what looks like an Alien taking some sort of test, trying to successfully abduct a man in his sleep. But when all the buttons look the same, and there are hundreds of them, then you know that hilarity is bound in ensue.

A close runner for third place, I would defiantly go back to watch this again.

And so that’s all of shorts on the disk. There are a quite a few extras on the disk, including a documentary with interviews and a back story to how the company was formed.

There are also 4, rarely seen shorts made with Sesame Street, with the character from Luxo Jr.

Also something else to look out for are 3 pieces of bonus material as easter eggs, hidden around on the dvd for you to find.

I wont go through these extras, and instead let you enjoy them yourself.

I wouldn’t recommend buying these unless you have at least some interest in Pixar’s work or animation as a whole, but there’s still a lot of fun and entertaining content and stuff you should defiantly check out.

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