BLU-RAY REVIEW: Pixar Shorts Collection Volume 2
Fan-favorite Characters and New Originals Enter Your Home Video Library...
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There's no denying Pixar continues to impress and many of their top talent are present here in this second volume of animated shorts, some featuring fan-favorite characters and others new and unseen. The set includes a total of 12 shorts with optional commentary.
The shorts included here...
Your Friend the Rat, which features two fan-favorite characters from Ratatouille - Remy (Patton Oswalt) and his brother Emile (Peter Sohn). The pair spout facts for 11 minutes expanding on the history behind the human/rat relationship and the importance of the rat in general. Both hilarious and fun, it's also educational and features a variety of animation styles which impresses. The short also includes optional commentary with director Jim Capobianco and production designer Nate Wragg.
Presto comes in at just over 5 minutes and is hilarious as it features an engaging story about magician Presto DiGiotagione who fails to feed his rabbit and learns just how smart his rabbit is when hungry. With no dialogue, the story unfolds through action and situational humor, which is plenty. This short includes optional commentary with director Doug Sweetland.
BURN-E, a funny, minor character from the feature film WALL-E, takes center stage here in a 7 minute tale that's fun and entertaining. When a broken external lamp on the space station needs fixing, BURN-E gets into trouble trying to replace it and learns it's not easy to do the right thing the first time. This short includes optional commentary with director Angus MacLane.
Partly Cloudy, a brilliant near 6 minute film that's packed full of emotion and humor, revealing just where all - and I do mean all - the world's babies come from and how they get there. This short includes optional commentary with director Peter Sohn.
Dug's Special Mission seems more like a deleted scene from the touching 2009 film Up than a short. Featuring an interesting back story for the talking dog Doug, this near 5 minute short leads up to the character's introduction in the feature film and includes some great character building and emotional development. This short includes optional commentary with director Ronnie del Carmen and supervising technical director Brad Winemiller.
George and AJ, a 4 minute tale that's more an extended scene of Up, tells the tale of George and AJ, the two nursing home employees who came to fetch Carl. Of course, when Carol floats away, it inspires others to avoid George and AJ's association. My least favorite of the collection due to the style of animation.
Day & Night, one of my personal favorites, is 6 minutes of pure glee as two characters - Day and Night - realize they have more in common than they originally think. Originally shown with Toy Story 3, it's an emotional revelation that'll have you realizing just how much we have in common with others. This short includes optional commentary with director Teddy Newton and layout artist Sandra Karpman.
Hawaiian Vacation, a near 6 minute trip for Ken and Barbie (of Toy Story fame) to The Aloha State, is some of the most fun you'll have as the entire crew help ensure the couple gets their ideal first kiss. This short includes optional commentary with director Gary Rydstrom, story supervisor Jason Katz and supervising animator Angus MacLane.
Air Mater, a great addition to the Mater's Tall Tales series of shorts, introduces Mater to flying as well as a number of planes which fans can (hopefully) look forward to seeing in the forthcoming Planes. This short includes optional commentary with director Rob Gibbs, producer Kim Adam and production designer Bob Pauley.
Small Fry, the second Toy Story short on the disc, gives us an entertaining look inside the role of a happy meal mini me Buzz toy who looks to replace the real Buzz and enjoy some quality play time. This short includes optional commentary with director Angus MacLane.
Time Travel Mater, another of Mater's Tall Tales, gives viewers a 6 1/2 minute look at the beginning of Radiator Springs and how Mater - jumping through time - played a pivotal role in the start of the town he calls home. This short includes optional commentary with director Rob Gibbs, editor Torbin Xan Bullock and production designer Anthony Christov.
Last, but certainly not least, is La Luna. Originally featured on the Brave Blu-ray, this film is gorgeous - both to watch and to understand - as viewers discover three generations of custodians who clean the moon. It's a heart-felt tale that'll have viewers both amazed and engrossed in the storytelling. The short includes optional commentary with director Enrico Casarosa and producer Kevin Reher.
The video and audio presentations here are brilliant, with gorgeous animation in 1080p and each film featuring either Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, DTS-HD HR 7.1 tracks, or Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio tracks. In all, the films are simply some of the best animated short films to come out of Pixar and once you see them you'll agree
As for bonus features, the collection includes a total of seven short films by student filmmakers who would later go on to lead the way in cutting edge animation. The student films include John Lasseter's "Nightmare," a hand-drawn piece about a child's fear of monters; John Lasseter's "Lady and the Lamp," about lamps which come to life; Andrew Stanton's "Somewhere in the Arctic" about Eskimos chasing polar bears; Andrew Stanton's "A Story," featuring a character who looks to be a precursor to Sully from Monsters, Inc; Peter Doctor's "Winter" about a young child ready for the snow; Peter Doctor's "Palm Springs" about a purple dinosaur; and Peter Doctor's "Next Door," a tale about a man who simply wants to relax and the little girl who just won't calm down.
Overall, Pixar's Shorts Collection Volume 2 is full of fun, family-friendly animated short films which will entertain animation fans both young and old with the variety of emotionally-driven, engaging, and enjoyable short films which make up this collection.
Be sure to check out previews of a number of these shorts HERE.
Pixar's Shorts Collection Volume 2 is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley