Pixar has become somewhat of a fixture around here, as I suspect it has in many homes across the world. For the most part the films have been nothing short of magic. I’m not only talking about the ever improving technological breakthroughs the company seems to have an endless supply of. The films often contain a warmth and friendliness that wear easily like a favorite shirt. They comfort and entertain all at the same time. It’s really a pretty good mix that they ended up at Walt Disney, which did the same thing for decades in hand drawn animation. To date there have been many copies but no equals.
Pixar began as a hardware development company. They were in the business of developing and selling machines to do advanced graphic work. The animation team was a small, often overlooked unit that used the power of Pixar’s machines to create animation shorts mostly intended to demonstrate the stuff’s ability. Soon these shorts became the way the company was identified. Today that’s all they do. It’s great that we’re getting a look at these milestones in the company’s history. Unfortunately there’s not a ton of material here, and most of it has already been released on other Pixar DVD’s.
Still, this is a great little collection. From each short to the next you begin to see the evolution from simple wire frame animation to the complicated renderings of films like Monsters, Inc. and Cars. The shorts range from 2 minutes to a little over 7.
Here are the shorts contained in this DVD:
The Adventures Of Andre and Wally B: This short was produced before there even was a Pixar. It was developed under the roof of the Empire’s own Lord Lucas as an experiment in CG rendering. The story, as in all of these shorts, is simple: a Loony Tunes style chase between a guy and a bee.
Knick Knack: I used to see this a lot. The Regency Theaters in
For The Birds: This is likely the most comedic of the shorts. Pixar has a subtle dark side that wasn’t so much a part of this “birds on a wire” farce. It was likely intended for a few laughs from the kids. It was coupled with Monster’s Inc. at theaters.
Mike’s New Car: This little story using the two main characters from Monsters, Inc was included on the film’s DVD release. Crystal and Goodman provided the voices as Mike gets a new car that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Boundin’: This is another one I didn’t care for so much. It was silly and I never found it entertaining. Bud Luckey provides the first Pixar short narration.
Jack Jack Attack: This one’s pretty sweet. It was made for the DVD release of The Incredibles. A babysitter attempts to sit for lovable Jack Jack who can’t help but use his super powers.
One Man Band: This might be the funniest of the Pixar shorts. You first saw it at the theater before Cars. Two one man bands compete for the attention, and the coin, of a little tyke.
Mater and the Ghost Light: Again Pixar created this as a DVD extra using the original voice actor’s from the film Cars. The story has the gang getting a little revenge on Mater who is always trying to scare everybody.
All but the first short are presented in some form of wide presentation. The aspect ratios vary. All of the shorts exhibit remarkable sharpness and wonderful contrast. These are digital images reproduced flawlessly in a digital domain. Colors are bright and shiny. I can’t imagine these shorts could have been presented in crisper detail.
Sesame Street Shorts: These are very short, never over a minute. They were created for the popular educational program to demonstrate such concepts as light/heavy, up/down, and back/front using Luxo, Jr.