Pixar short films, volume 1

Pixar is a wonderful company. We can get that out of the way right away. It helps that they can do top-notch animation, but what seems to set them ahead of the competition (besides their insanely good mathematics) is their sense of fun. We see that here. Even in their crude, early pieces there’s a sense of whimsy, a sense that even if they can’t get the polygon count up they want to use this medium to do something authentically entertaining. Thus it is for this odd Pixar collection, which include all of their shorts through 2006, most of which I’d never seen before. One odd distinction from their feature-length films is that almost none of them have any dialogue, which means they rely almost entirely on expressive visuals to convey emotions. Any computer animator can do a perfect-looking lamp, but convincingly doing a dejected-looking lamp, or a joyful lamp, as Pixar does in Luxo, Jr., is the work of an artist. These works are almost uniformly charming, and explore different enough themes to be non-repetitive. Particularly memorable ones include Knick Knack, the aforementioned Luxo, Jr., and For the Birds. For the reasons I mentioned above, the later, vocal ones draw me in less. Using a voice track to convey meaning almost feels like cheating.

See also: IMDB (Andre and Wally B., Luxo, Jr., Red’s Dream, Tin Toy, Knick Knack, Geri’s Game, For the Birds, Boundin’, Jack-Jack Attack, Mater and the Ghostlight), Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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