5 Of The Best Pixar Short Films

Lava Pixar Short

Does anyone ever look forward to the short films that appear before the Pixar features? I always do. Sometimes I leave the theater remembering them more so than the movie that I was there to watch. What started as experimenting in computer animation is now something that showcases what Pixar is fully capable of. The style, story and characters of each short helps illuminate the artistry and talent that Pixar can muster within a handful of people. If you’re one of those people that always forgo the trailers and come in to the movie a few minutes late, these little gems are reason enough to show up a few minutes early.

The next short, Lava, looks to be a break from the mold that Pixar has done in the past. (none of the characters so far have uttered any words – now a volcano is singing?…hmmmm) Oh well, on to the list! Mind you, these are in no particular order. They are just what I would consider to be the 5 best that Pixar has given us so far.

The Blue Umbrella

By far my favorite that Pixar has done and it’s about an Umbrella! Yes yes I said they were in no particular order but come on, they made a short story about 2 umbrellas and it’s brilliant! I’m just astounded at the level of detail and extraordinary animation that went into this 6 and a half minute clip. Not to mention the way they found clever ways of portraying faces in every day objects. Best of the best right here.

La Luna

I’m a sucker for anything to do with a dad and his son. I don’t know why but it always pulls at my heart muscle. (yeah, it probably has something to do with being a dad I suppose) Anyways, the story of a little boy growing up within the “family business” of changing the moon’s phases is such an original concept. The design alone would award it high honors, but the simple story telling and subtle moments of family gestures make it heart warming and beautiful.

For the Birds

Easily one of the best times I’ve ever had in a movie theater. Listening to all the kids laugh out loud (wait … LOL … haha I get it!) at all of the funny little birds in this clip is stuff that warms your soul. The way that Pixar could tip toe around the idea of bullying but make it light hearted enough for everyone to enjoy was superb.

Day & Night

The black sheep of the animated shorts, Day & Night showed just how creative Pixar could push the idea of using sound to help illustrate the story. I love when he rushes over to the little waterfall and looks “relieved”. I’d have to admit that this is one that I thought was good in the theater, but found it to be better and better with repeat viewings.

Luxo Jr.

Ok, how much more adorable can Pixar get with their animated shorts? They used a desk lamp to show the innocence of a child and it’s amazing how well it works. Originally used as a test for light in a CGI animated clip and how it interacts with other objects within a scene, Luxo Jr. proved that Pixar knew what they were doing. Not only that but it was such a highlight for them that they included Jr. within their logo presentation of every film. So obviously it had to make the list.

Honorable Mentions:

– Geri’s Game
– Partly Cloudy
– Presto

The list of Pixar shorts to choose from is vast, and it’s hard to really say that one is better than another, especially when you consider the way that the technology has advanced. I tried to base my list not just on the technical merits but the story and connection to the audience that each short brings was crucial too. I’m sure that there are people who would disagree but that’s ok because in my book they’re all good.

What would be your top 5 of Pixar shorts?

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  1. Geri’s Game all the way. I love that short — love that it’s about an old guy, love the way the filmmaking turns one character into two, love the timing and the jokes and all of it.

    I’m also rather fond of Burn-E, from the Wall-E blu-ray. Sometimes their more heartstringy ones feel false to me. But I’m a crank, so whatever.

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