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Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1

Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1
DVD Contents
Mater and the Ghostlight
Jack-Jack Attack
For the Birds
Geri's Game
One Man Band
Luxo Jr.
Tin Toy
Knick Knack
Mike's New Car
The Adventures of Andréeacute; and Wally B.
Red's Dream
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Klaw

Before Pixar created their masterpieces like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles, they honed their craft on a series of short animated films. Between 1984 and 1989, the studio produced five shorts: "The Adventures of André & Wally B." (1984) -- technically this film was made when they were just a division of Lucas Films, "Luxo Jr." (1986) -- the source of Pixar's lamp logo, "Red's Dream" (1987), "Tin Toy" (1988) -- the first completely CG film to win an Oscar, and "Knick Knack" (1989). John Lassiter, who later helmed Toy Story 1, A Bug's Life and Cars, directed four of the films and worked on "The Adventures of André & Wally B." as character designer and animator behind the direction of Alvy Ray Smith, who created the computer generated effects in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

After almost ten-years of making only feature films, Pixar released "Geri's Game" in 1998. It won an Oscar as Ratatouille co-director Jan Pinkava's first directing credit. Since then the shorts have appeared regularly: "For the Birds" (2001, another Oscar), "Mike's New Car" (2002), "Boundin'" (2004), "Jack-Jack Attack" (2005), "One Man Band" (2006), "Mater and the Ghostlight" (2006), and "Lifted" (2007).

Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1 collects all thirteen short films complete with commentaries, a documentary, and four very short scenes produced for Sesame Street. The commentaries accompany all of the films save "Jack-Jack Attack." The audio tracks for the first five commentaries chronicle the development and growth of the early years of the groundbreaking animation studio, where apparently everyone worked on all the projects and they all knew each other. That camaraderie and pride comes through in those early films. The later seven commentaries range from intriguing to banal to self-congratulatory. First-time directors Mark Andrews and Andrew Jimenez interestingly relate the difficulties and joys of creating an animated CG short centered around music. For "Mike's New Car," two young children of the directors bore with infantile drivel. The commentaries for both "Geri's Game" and "Boundin'" offer various insights into the unique challenges of the two projects. Sadly, most of the later commentaries devolve into Oscar-type ad nauseum thanks.

The documentary "The Pixar Shorts: A Short History" presents little more than the title suggests with some interesting behind-the-scene imagery thrown in. While visually attractive, the Sesame Street pieces are ultimately boring.

On the short films menu page, an easter egg is located beneath the "Boundin'" logo. A golden Luxo lamp appears, revealing the access to the incredible pencil test for "Luxo Jr."

Regardless of the quality of the extras, the centerpiece of this disc remains the short films. These classic are worth the price of the disc.

Copyright © 2007 Rick Klaw

When not playing with books, Rick Klaw produces reviews and articles for The Austin Chronicle, Moving Pictures, RevolutionSF, SF Site, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and other venues. His brief forays into short fiction have appeared in Electric Velocipede and Cross Plains Universe. Klaw's writings were collected in Geek Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century (MonkeyBrain).

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