A new collection of Pixar shorts is always cause for celebration, as they are the bread and butter of the creative nucleus that still drives Pixar, as it goes back and forth from original, visionary feature (Coco) to sequel (Toy Story 4). The shorts keep the creative juices flowing, at least for those who are fortunate enough to do them, and allow for experimentation in form and technique that can be traced to uses in the features.
Currently there are three kinds of Pixar shorts. The stand-alone theatrical originals, theatricals based on features, and bonus shorts included on feature home video releases. On this release, two are called “mini movies” for some reason but they aren’t different in length or substance than others and have also appeared as bonus shorts before.
The originals are the crown jewels and harken back to the early days of Pixar, when a simple thought was all one needed to build a poetic, ballet-like work of animated art. Each of these six films is exquisite in its own way, one of them an Oscar winner, but all worthy of nice things.
The Blue Umbrella (2013, relesaed with Monsters University)
Lava (2015, released with Inside/Out)
Sanjay’s Super Team (2015, released with The Good Dinosaur)
Piper (2016, released with Finding Dory)
Lou (2017, released with Cars 3)
Bao (2018, released with Incredibles 2)
These two are little storyettes that could have taken place in and around the films from which they came:
Partysaurus Rex (2012, released with Finding Nemo)
Party Central (2013, Muppets Most Wanted)
These are extra features, but certainly of the highest quality. The Legend of Mor’du was particularly interesting having recently seen UPA’s fantastic, haunting “The Tell-Tale Heart” which was told with similar stark graphic style. The sponged stone surface is reminiscent of that film’s look by Paul Julian.
The Legend of Mor’du (2012)
Riley’s First Date? (2015)
Marine Life Interviews (2016, Finding Dory DVD)
The Radiator Springs 500 1/2 (2017, Cars 3)
Miss Fritter’s Racing Skool (2017, Cars 3 DVD)
This is one of the very few packages in which everything on the Blu-ray is also included on the DVD, so those who have no Blu-ray player need not feel sad and neglected. Each film has an optional one-minute introduction by its director and a commentary.
Available November 18 on amazon. Pre-orders available now.