Here they are, marvelously all in one place – the short films that were the launch-pad of Pixar. It is a wondrous thing to see them all in one place and sequentially, and to watch the art- and the science – of computer animation develop from the very first tentative effort in “The Adventures of Andre and Wally B”. Amazingly enough, the first handful of shorts were intended to be professional demo reels at a convention of computer pros. According to the very informative bonus feature “Behind the Scenes – the Pixar Shorts: A Short History” they were supposed to display the technical expertise and accomplishments of the programmers. This reel amply demonstrates how rapidly the concept developed, seemingly in the blink of an eye. The shorts themselves are a mixed bag; those which we responded to most favorably were an equally mixed bag of the early and the more recent: – Luxo, Jr. featured the antics of a pair of lamps and two inflatable balls, and seemed to be miles beyond “Adventures” – and the Luxo lamp is itself still a part of the Pixar logo. “Red’s Dream” – a marked-down unicycle in a bicycle store imagines a glittering turn in the limelight, and then sadly returns to dreary reality, while in the poignant “Geri’s Game” an elderly chess player plays a ruthless game – against himself. “For the Birds” was just hilarious physical comedy and “Lifted” will utterly and forever destroy your capacity to accept an X-Fileish account of midnight alien abduction with an utterly straight face. “Boundin’” was approved by Sunday School teachers everywhere, “Mater and the Ghostlight”, “Jack-Jack Attack” and “Mike’s New Car” seemed like promos for various Pixar full-length features – although the last two had the additional benefit of actually being funny.

Again, the “Behind the Scenes” feature adds considerably to this brief collection by explaining what the animators were attempting to do with the various short features. The Pixar Short Films Collection – Vol. 1 (so they expect to be around long enough to do subsequent volumes – very good!) is available after November 6th, at Amazon.com and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a freelance writer, who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her latest book, “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her other books is at her literary website, www.celiahayes.com

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