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Arts and Entertainment

DVD Review: Pixar Short Film Collection, Vol 1

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In the world we live in now, Pixar is nothing less than an institution. Every film it releases is an event and each of them receive excellent reviews and make piles of money. Of course, Pixar wasn't always so admired and ubiquitous. It was once a money-losing division of LucasFilm that was sold off to Steve Jobs for a paltry 5 million dollars. All of this is laid out in a behind-the-scenes feature on the new Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume I DVD. More importantly--as the title indicates--13 of Pixar's landmark short films are included, too.

As you watch the shorts (dating from 1984) it's amazing to watch the changes in the animation as the years progress. The oldest one, The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. isn't entirely recognizable as a Pixar product, but the second Luxo Jr. certainly is. It features what is now the Pixar logo--the curious lamp that flexes to and fro. The fourth short, Tin Toy, is an obvious precursor to Toy Story while the fifth, Knick Knack, would re-surface 14 years later as the lead-in to Finding Nemo (with profound breast reductions to its two bikini-clad characters).

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Several of the other shorts concern characters from Pixar's features: Mike's New Car (Monster's, Inc.), Jack-Jack Attack (The Incredibles) and Mater and the Ghostlight (Cars). The others, with a few exceptions, have appeared in front of other Pixar films. It's a great credit to Pixar that they have revitalized this grand tradition. Whenever I go to the theater to see a Pixar film, I look forward to seeing the short as much as I do the feature.

Over the last 20+ years, Pixar has changed the way animated films are made and seen by audiences. It is now nothing less than the gold standard of mainstream animation. While all but two of the shorts on this DVD are available elsewhere, it's nice to finally have them all in one convenient package. A particulary nice feature of the DVD is that all but one of the shorts has an accompanying commentary, too. Buy it today.

Photos courtesy of Pixar