The Five Best Pixar Shorts
If there’s one animation company that has made a name for itself, it’s Pixar. Originally founded in part by Steve Jobs and Apple, and brought to greatness by John Lasseter and his team of talented animators, this studio is a thing of beauty. Not only have they created some of the most memorable computer animated films of all time (such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo), but they even make short films that accompany their feature films into theater. This is an animation studio that clearly loves what they do.
Plenty has been said about the feature films in the past, but it’s the short films that I’d like to draw your attention to. As I mentioned, every Pixar movie comes with a Pixar short (which the studio has been doing since its release of A Bug’s Life back in 2002). Each of these shorts has its own style, story and original characters. Although Pixar has made shorts that use previously introduced characters (like Mike from Monster’s Inc. and Mater from Cars), the original shorts are the ones that usually appeal to a bigger audience (as well as to the Oscars — of the fifteen independent shorts made, ten of them have been nominated for an Academy Award).
With that much selection, it was hard to choose which ones were my favourites. But, after great debate, I got my list down to five. Here they are, in descending order:
A star is born in this older Pixar short. Created in 1985, this short is the reason why Pixar has the hopping lamp as its logo. What I love about this short is its simplicity. There are only two characters, one setting, and one conflict: the baby lamp wants to play ball. It’s a cute little short without much to it, but at the time it was one of a kind.
For some reason, I feel this to be one of the more popular of the Pixar shorts. It’s easy to see the appeal — giant bird that doesn’t fit in wants to hang out with the smaller birds. Maybe it appeals to the outcast in me. Maybe it’s the fact that I love how the little birds get their comeuppance. In any case, this short definitely cracked me up (no pun intended… seriously, I’m not punny).
Even though it’s one of Pixar’s older shorts, it’s one of the ones that I can readily recall, which means it’s made some kind of positive impression on me. I’ve always been a fan of those shorts where the hero pushes and persists to only end up right back where he started, and this fits the bill. The ability to create comedy with only visuals is also a real challenge, and Pixar’s gang definitely deliver the laughs with this one successfully, sans-dialogue.
I know La Luna is one of the most recent Pixar shorts, but at the time it came out, I remember being completely enchanted. When I say enchanted, I mean in the way we used to when we were kids — something that just captures us completely in that moment (which rarely happens to some of us nowadays). Most of the Pixar shorts make me smile or chuckle, but very few reach into my chest and nudge at my heart. This one does both with a quiet respect that is rare in films, music, or anything else nowadays. I thought the concept was ingenious, and I especially liked how this job is inherited down the family line.
I remember watching this short when I was younger and thinking it was the greatest thing in the world. The idea of someone playing chess against himself isn’t remarkable, but the method by which it is visually presented here is. Geri is his own worst enemy and best challenge. What makes it the most remarkable Pixar short is the fact that you can actually find yourself rooting for one side or the other, despite the fact that it’s the same person! That ability to present, literally, two sides to the same person makes it my favourite Pixar short of all time.
Of course, these are all just my own personal opinions. Every single short that Pixar has come up with is imaginative, unique and completely captivating. If you haven’t seen all of them, I would highly suggest that you do. Who knows? Your top five list may be completely different from mine.
If you have seen all of the shorts, tell me: which one would be your number one?