This weekend’s review is of a collection of titles, rather than a single title.
Cast and Crew Information
The primary contributor to most of these shorts was John Lasseter
This collection includes The Adventures of Andre and Wally B, Luxo Jr, Red’s Dream, Tin Toy, Knick Knack, Geri’s Game, For The Birds, Mike’s New Car, Boundin’, Jack-Jack Attack, One Man Band, Mater and the Ghostlight and Lifted.
This is a series of 13 of Pixar’s short features. It also includes a number of short works done for Sesame Street.
Of the 13 shorts, my personal favourite is Knick Knack. Your mileage may vary; there’s a lot of great stuff here.
I’d have to go with The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. It’s not bad, but it’s a very early short, demonstrating clearly some of the growing pains they had with the technology. It looks pretty good for CGI in 1984, but there’s minimal story, and there are some tracking issues. (Andre’s mad dash away doesn’t hold to the path, for example, but the vegetation doesn’t react as though this were intentional.)
This package is loaded with original material. Pixar breaks new ground in animation with virtually every release, and the actual content is very fresh, as well. I give it 6 out of 6.
The animation, though always excellent for the time of the original release, is sometimes dated now. Viewing the collection as a whole today, I still give it 6 out of 6, as the excellent nuances far outweigh the growing pains in shorts from the 1980s that look like what other companies were making in the 1990s.
The stories told are told very well. Generally working without dialogue, and often using characters that didn’t have faces that could make expressions, the animation still delivers a complete narrative each time. They are often simple stories, but with running times averaging just over 4 minutes, I think that’s pretty hard to avoid. I give it 5 out of 6.
The acting is a category that we usually reserve for voice acting with an animated production, but this is an exception. Not only do several of these shorts work without voice acting, but the animated characters themselves act very expressively. (The larger lamp in the Sesame Street: Light and Heavy segment is a great example of this.) I’ve seen human actors less expressive than these CGI creations. I give it 5 out of 6.
The production is incredible. It took time to grow out of 100% ambient lighting, probably due to the sheer processing power required for ray tracing, but the modern stuff looks great. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response is exceptional. Even the weakest title in the collection had me laughing out loud. If you want to kick back and feel good for an hour, this will definitely fit the bill. I give it 6 out of 6.
Overall, this is the kind of title I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone. 6 out of 6.
In total, Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1 receives 39 out of 42.