Disney Pixar's feature films are brilliant entertainment. From their very first full length film, Toy Story in 1995, they have not only told wonderful and charming stories, but also made huge technological strides in computer animation.
But before the likes of Toy Story were created, Pixar had much humbler beginnings. In the 1980s, they were only just starting out and had a practically zero budget. Even if they had the money, computer animation was very limited, and you could only make basic shapes; it just was not possible to make the kind of films you can today.
So before feature animated films, what did they do? Feature animated shorts, of course. Just like Disney made Mickey Mouse shorts, animators such as John Lasseter, also directed his own mini animations.
At the time they were not given half the credit they deserved and not seen by many people, but now that Pixar is a big name, these shorts are now available on DVD in two volumes. Today I am going to share with you my thoughts on volume one.
The Pixar Short Film Collection comprises of thirteen shorts, each with a director's audio commentary, and a bonus feature called 'The Pixar Shorts: A Short History'. The first short is The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. No, this is no relation to Wall-E the robot. The Adventures of Andre & Wally B was made in 1984, and is not actually a Pixar film. It was, however, directed by the chief creative officer, John Lasseter.
While Andre is sleeping, a bee called Wally attempts to sting him. Andre runs away, but Wally eventually gets him. That's basically it. Although simplistic, it is a cute film, and even though the animation is crude by today's standards, it was a ground breaking achievement at the time, and is worth watching.
Luxo Jr. from 1986 shows the origin of Pixar's table lamp logo that it is so well known for. A baby lamp is playing with a bouncy ball while Mummy/Daddy lamp watches. This is probably my favourite of the lot because the animators put so much character into these inanimate objects. Other shorts that bring objects to life include Red's Dream, which is about a unicycle who dreams of being in the circus, and Tin Toy, which is a bit of a prelude to Toy Story.
Among other original shorts, there are also some that are based around the characters from their full length films. These include Mike's New Car from Monster's Inc., Jack-Jack Attack from The Incredibles, and Mater and The Ghostlight from Cars.
Personally I prefer the original shorts, not only because they are something different from what we usually get, but also because they manage to convey so much about these previously unknown characters in such a short space of time.