Pixar Short Films Collection – Volume One (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The world of animation was forever changed when Toy Story was released, as the film proved to be a true landmark. Instead of traditional hand drawn animation, the movie featured high end computer animation, which yielded incredible detail and motion. As such, audiences were dazzled by the new style and the movie became a box office smash. The studio behind Toy Story was Pixar, a small band of animators who had worked on various short films in the past. Pixar would go on to be perhaps the most successful brand in movie history, unleashing a chain of money makers like A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and Toy Story 2. Now that the studio has become a powerhouse, the early works have become sought after, even placed in front of the feature films in theaters. Now you can revisit Pixar’s short films whenever you please, in high definition no less, thanks to the Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1.

This is, as the title would suggest, a collection of Pixar’s short films, produced from 1984 to 2007. As I mentioned above, some of these were run before Pixar’s feature films in theaters, so you’ve probably seen most of these pieces. In fact, you probably own a lot of these, as most were included DVDs with those same Pixar features. So that is the catch here, but this Blu-ray release offers much improved visuals and in with these shorts, that makes a world of difference. So even if you own most of these on DVD, you’ll want to upgrade, as the visuals are stunning and the soundtracks are superb. The quality of the shorts is high across the board, but keep in mind the earliest ones are more animation tests than short films. Even so, it is a treat to see how Pixar started in the animation field, if just to see how their work has evolved. So if you’re a fan of Pixar’s films, you’ll love these shorts and this Blu-ray edition is the best way to see them all.

Video: How does it look?

Most of the shorts are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, but a couple are shown in their intended full frame aspect ratio. As you’d expect from Pixar, these shorts look fantastic. The more recent ones look the best of course, with vivid colors and impressive detail depth. The most recent one is Lifted, which showcases incredible detail and textures, simply dazzling to sit back and soak in these visuals. The older shorts look crude by comparison, but look good for what amount to animation tests. As far as the transfers, the shorts look as good as possible, which is all we can ask. In short, these films look excellent in high definition and fans will be delighted here.

Audio: How does it sound?

The shorts have been given uncompressed PCM soundtracks, most in 5.1 options, but one in stereo. The results are great, the shorts sound superb here. I expected minor enhancements at best, but the audio really delivers and I think the shorts sound better here than they did in theaters. Jack-Jack Attack sounds fantastic, while all the more recent offerings provide dynamic, immersive sound. Not always in terms of power, but the shorts are driven by music in most cases and the tunes sound awesome here. I was beyond impressed here, simply terrific work. This disc also includes Dolby Digital 5.1 options in English, Spanish, and French, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The highlight of the extras has to be The Pixar Shorts: A Short History, a retrospective look at the shorts’ legacy which runs just over twenty minutes in duration. The piece takes us from the earliest days, when computer animation was in its infancy, to the cutting edge animation style Pixar is famous for. The featurette isn’t extensive, but makes good use of the time, so there is a lot of great insight packed in. In addition, you can listen to audio comments on all but one of the shorts, most of which prove to be worthwhile and worth a chance. I do wish Jack-Jack Attack had one, but sadly, it is the one without. The last of the extras are four animated shorts produced for Sesame Street, which are a fun watch.

Disc Scores