Pixar's short film collection, featuring every computer-animated short produced thus far by the pioneering animation studio, is the first DVD I was compelled to curl up with in a long time. I indulged in watching this disc not just because in Pixar's short history (about a quarter century) it has produced some of the most charming animations you'll ever encounter, but also because this DVD celebrates that short history.
The disc features a total of 13 films, most of which have been seen in theaters or as DVD extras. The five original Pixar shorts featured on the disc, ones from 1984 to 1988, really make the DVD worth a purchase. Each of these five films features a short but sweet commentary from Pixar's first animator and current chief creative officer, John Lasseter. He can't provide much insight in five minutes (max) but is so passionate about the shorts that you love to hear his stories.
When we listen to the way his mind works as a storyteller, how his infant nephew slobbering on toys inspired the Academy Award-winning Tin Toy or how the idea of the baby lamp in Luxo Jr. came about, you get the sense that the Pixar story was set in stone from the start.
Of course, much of the commentary is just a redux of the 20-minute extra The Pixar Shorts: A Short History. This all too brief documentary chronicles the rise of Pixar, albeit slightly superficially. The DVD extra does, however, remind us that innovators behind the shorts are what fuel the spirit of Pixar. Hearing from these pioneers of animation will invigorate the viewer and enhance the pleasure of watching short films that were already so pleasurable to watch. If that doesn't interest you, then the documentary at the very least provides some interesting geek night trivia.
How much did their animation computer cost in the 1980s? What was the company's first function? From what company did Steve Jobs buy the animation unit to be known as Pixar? If you already know the answers to these questions, then go ahead and get the disc for the shorts. All 13 of them (yes, even the underwhelming Lifted) make for great entertainment. After all, if it's Pixar, you know it's good.
Shorts featured on the DVD:
- The Adventures of André & Wally B.
- Luxo Jr.
- Tin Toy
- Red’s Dream
- Knick Knack
- Geri’s Game
- For The Birds
- Mike’s New Car
- Jack-Jack Attack
- Mater and the Ghostlight
- One Man Band