Following the recent trailer release of Pixar’s upcoming feature Inside Out, there is increasing anticipation for the film’s accompanying short film, Lava, which premiered this past summer at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival. Having never met a person whose face fails to light up when the title screen for these few minute joys appear prior to the main event, Leigh has decided to make a list of her Top 10 Pixar Shorts.
10. Luxo Jr.
Did you know that the iconic Pixar lamp has a name? Yep, Luxo Jr. first bounced onto our screens for the release of Toy Story 2 and thus began the origin of Pixar’s unforgettable title sequence.
Another key feature of this short is the ball Luxo Jr. is playing with – look familiar? That’s because it’s shown up in several Pixar films since, including Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Pixar sure do love their continuity.
Released With: Toy Story 2 (1999) upon theatrical release, but first shown at the 1986 SIGGRAPH conference.
Ever wondered how aliens learn to abduct us humans in our sleep? Ratatouille-fronting Lifted answered that question for us well and truly!
Lifted is one of Pixar’s funniest shorts, and I’m sure that if we were being abducted by this little guy, we wouldn’t have too much to worry about. It also perfectly sums up the feeling of exam-period stress – “which button do I press? THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME! Pass me the textbook!”
Released With: Ratatouille (2007)
8. La Luna
Some businesses are family businesses, and they are passed down through each generation. Some families have bakeries, some are electricians, and some are in charge of the moon.
Just before we were shown the family-centric Brave, we were treated to this delightful short about the generational gap, and learning how to do things your own way, instead of the way those who came before you have done it. Wide-eyed with wonder, this little boy forges forward with the love of his family behind him.
Released With: Brave (2012)
7. The Blue Umbrella
I won’t deny it, The Blue Umbrella made me shed a few tears. Maybe it was the beautiful soundtrack or perhaps the message of fate and never giving up on love, no matter how hopelessly inanimate your situation may seem.
Aside from filling me with a barrage of emotions, The Blue Umbrella also led me to look out for the faces in the buildings around me. You never know when a drainpipe may be smiling down at you or a sewer grate looking up.
Released With: Monsters University (2013)
6. Geri’s Game
Everybody loves a classic, and Geri’s Game is just that. Accompanying A Bug’s Life came a charming tale of an old man named Geri who has a very young heart – young enough to fake a heart attack in order to win a game of chess… against himself.
This sounds more like Inception than a Pixar short, but Geri’s Game proved to be fun-filled and heartwarming at the same time. Who ever said that one isn’t company?
Released With: A Bug’s Life (1998)
5. Knick Knack
The retro animation of Knick Knack shows a snowman trapped in a souvenir snow globe. All he wants to do is break out and spend time with the souvenirs from sunnier plains – especially Miami, a sultry blonde souvenir who watches his valiant attempts to escape with fading interest.
Escape he does, only to fall into a fish tank and have his old cage float down on top of him again. Some of us have all the bad luck.
Released With: Finding Nemo (2003), though significantly altered from its original premiere at SIGGRAPH 1989.
4. Day & Night
We all know that Night is the antithesis of Day, but seeing them as animated entities shown in such a fantastically clever way, left many viewers positively reeling.
Day & Night begins with its pair wary, even jealous, of each other, but that soon gives way into both of them falling over themselves to prove just how great they really are. When it turns out that they’re actually not as different as they thought they were, well, the fun starts all over again!
Released With: Toy Story 3 (2010)
3. Partly Cloudy
The story of poor old Gus the cloud begins with the well-known tale of how storks deliver babies, but have you ever stopped to think where the storks collect the babies from? The clouds, of course! But just as cute little baby kittens need to be made, so do baby crocodiles, porcupines, and sharks, and this duty falls to Gus and his stork, the weary Peck.
Partly Cloudy is a touching story about sticking by your friends, as Peck sticks by Gus, making sure that he never feels disheartened. Please, don’t ask me why I’m crying about an animated cloud.
Released With: Up (2009)
2. For The Birds
This was a close call, but For The Birds ultimately landed in second place. I could talk about how it lets us know that bullies will always get their comeuppance and how it’s good to be unique, but mainly I just think this short film is hilarious.
Director Ralph Eggleston and the Pixar animators do a great job of characterising birds that are equally identical and disagreeable. When I got Monsters, Inc. on VHS (doesn’t that make you feel old?), I would re-watch For The Birds until I cried with laughter at the squawking chants, and it remains one of my favourite Pixar shorts to this day.
Released With: Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Boundin’ comes out on top – maybe it’s the catchy song or perhaps it’s because I have a weakness for cute animated animals, but Boundin’ is definitely a clear winner. It spreads such a positive message of individuality and pride in your differences that one cannot help but feel happy upon watching it.
Despite being one of the more visually unrealistic shorts (are jackalopes even a real thing? I don’t think they are), the message is undoubtedly true – sometimes you’re up and sometimes your down, and it’s nice to know that there are jackalopes around.
Released With: The Incredibles (2004)
With Pixar’s next feature film – Inside Out – being released on the 24th July 2015, I cannot wait to see where their new accompanying short, Lava, will be placed on this list.
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