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DVD Review: Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1

I love animation. Few other genres cause their viewers to immediately suspend their disbelief for the duration of the film. While it could be argued that part of the challenge for filmmakers is to create a story that lends itself to this suspension, I think animation’s ability to instantly trigger it offers filmmakers more liberty to try new things and create a fantastical world that the viewer has already given himself to for the duration of the film. More simply put: animation offers more room for adventure in filmmaking.

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Pixar’s first collection of short films demonstrates just that: adventures in advancing storytelling through technology. The short films featured in here, in chronological order, demonstrate the evolution of a hardware company who created short animated films for technology conventions to an animation studio focused on feature length films. And what is most interesting in watching these is that from The Adventures of Andre and Wally B., Pixar’s first short, there is almost a sense of one-upsmanship where you can see the story challenging the technology and the technology then challenging the story. In the bonus featurette, The Pixar Shorts: A Short History, we see the writers and the animators discuss this constant escalation and how it resulted in the groundbreaking films on this disc.

In the 13 short films featured on this collection, most stand out as solid pieces of work. From Academy Award winning Geri’s Game to my personal favorites on the collection, One Man Band and Lifted, the shorts stand as a testament that animation can be more than a sure way to put patrons with kids in theaters. There were a few slow shorts, Luxo Jr. (the famous desk lamp most recognized from stomping the “I” in Pixar’s title card), Mater and The Ghostlight and Mike’s New Car (interestingly enough, the last two were shorts based on successful feature length films Cars and Monsters, Inc. respectively), but I found that as I checked out of the story, I was able to appreciate the animation work these three had to offer.

Overall, this collection is a must have for anyone who enjoys and appreciates animation and recommended for anyone who wants proof that cartoons aren’t just for kids.

-Justin

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