Short Stack: Pixar-a-thon!

While I recover from Cannes and continue to fail to find actual current short films, I’m gonna pussy out and start a little mini Pixar marathon. For an animation company, they aren’t exactly prolific when it comes to animation of any kind. In the last 27 years, they’ve only made 18 shorts. Sure 10 of them have been nominated for the only real short film award out there, the big Oscar, and yeah fine 3 of them even won. But I can still blame Pixar for anything. But not too loudly. They might hear.

Let’s get started with looking at Pixar’s first ever short, before Pixar was really even Pixar. This is “The Adventures of André and Wally B”. The narrative is non-existant and the characters are thinly drawn. But I don’t really think they were looking for more than “LOOK! COMPUTER ANIMATION!” And for 1984 I’m sure they achieved that. A good first stab, if not for the Donald Duck voice over on André. You kinda root for Wally B (get it? He’s a bee! Fucking clever!) to actually sting the guy in the face. And supposedly it was shown before “Brazil”. That’s an interesting companion piece…

“Luxo Jr.”

Pixar’s second short film is perhaps their most famous. Every one knows the lamp. I once described the concept of Pixar to a french person by imitating the jumping lamp (fortunately there is no evidence to see what an idiot I looked like). But “Luxo Jr.” is actually a fine piece of animation. All the way back from 1986, it’s the first short from Pixar as a real company. This little short alone revolutionized everything. This was before the “Disney Renaissance” so animators were about as down-and-out as Richard Simmons at a leather club (zing!). But John Lasseter swooped in and this became the first piece of digital animation to be nominated for an Oscar. Furthermore, it’s an incredibly well built short. I feel like I know these curious lamps. They have faces and expressions and emotions. It all started as a test to play with light, but it ended up being so much more. You would have seen this bad boy in theatres before Toy Story 2 as a bit of a retro throwback.

“Red’s Dream”

This one’s a downer in all ways. I would put money on “Red’s Dream” being Pixar’s least successful animated short. All you got is a depressed unicycle who dreams of upstaging a clown that will never ride him. And now I know why people are scared of clowns. This thing needed at least 2 more weeks of modeling. It’s gruesome. There’s also an Kenny G inspired jazz track that sounds like it’s trying to burrow through your ear drums to eat any sense of taste you have left. Just only watch it if you are a masochistic completist like me.


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