Pixar: Short Films Collection-Volume 1 (1984)

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Released 13-Nov-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Pixar Shorts : A Short History
Short Film-4 Sesame Street shorts
Easter Egg-3
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 52:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Lasseter
Studio
Distributor
Pixar
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring None Given
Case Slip Case
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Romanian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Croatian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Slovenian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Romanian
Croatian
Slovenian
Serbian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Some films

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    One of the great memories I have of going to the cinema as a child are the shorts which always came before the main feature, usually one of the Merrie Melodies cartoons or something along those lines. These days this practice has virtually disappeared, however, it still remains with the feature films produced by Pixar and has done since their first major feature Toy Story. Their latest release Ratatouille also screened with a short called Lifted, which is included here. This disc collects 13 of their short films, some of which were made to work on specific technical advancements and others as smaller projects to grow talent within Pixar. If you have a decent collection of Pixar films in your DVD collection you will certainly also have some of these films already. The technical advancements from the earliest film, made in 1984, to the newest ones is quite incredible. I was also very interested to learn that Pixar actually started out as a hardware and software company supplying medical imaging and other graphics focused industries. The animation division was very much a sideline/R&D activity when it began.

    The films included here are mostly wonderful, and include the following:

  1. The Adventures of Andre & Wally B (1:47) 1984 - A very short experimental film which was actually made while John Lasseter was still at Lucas Film. It is quite primitive. It is worth seeing, however, certainly does not have the quality story of later efforts.
  2. Luxo Jr. (2:04) 1986 - Even if you haven't seen this film itself, you have certainly seen the featured character because he is the lamp who now takes pride of place in the Pixar logo/promo shown before all their films. A cute film involving a desk lamp, his mother and some balls. According to the commentary this film includes huge leaps forward in technology.
  3. Red's Dream (4:02) 1987 - A big step forward in terms of displaying emotion and pathos. This film tells the story of a unicycle who is stuck in the corner of a bike shop on special with no buyers. He has a dream. Great stuff.
  4. Tin Toy (4:57) 1988 - Despite being made a number of years earlier this film was shown before Toy Story and features the story of a wind up toy who gets left with a baby. He becomes very concerns about his safety. Another excellent film which includes their first major tilt at animating humans. Unfortunately, the baby looks a bit unnatural but this is still an excellent animated film. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Short.
  5. Knick Knack (3:26) 1989 - This is my favourite of the early films here. It follows the misadventures of a snowman, trapped in a souvenir snowball shaker. He sees a good looking souvenir doll further along the shelf and determines to escape to get to know her better. His schemes become more and more desperate. This film features a soundtrack by Bobby McFerrin.
  6. Geri's Game (4:40) 1997 - This film made 8 years after the previous one is a huge step forward in quality. It tells the story of an old man playing chess with himself and is full of humour and pathos. Also an Oscar winner.
  7. For The Birds (3:14) 2001 - Now this is a great short film. Fantastic, funny situation with brilliant, incredibly detailed animation. I remember how much I loved this when I first saw it at the cinema before Monsters Inc.
  8. Mike's New Car (3:39) 2002 - This first of the shorts to use the same characters as one of the main features and in my opinion is not one of the best. It is amusing but not overly memorable.
  9. Boundin' (4:30) 2003 - This one is a lot of fun and a very different style of film to the rest. It features a country music soundtrack and is set in a mythical landscape where a sheep lives with a number of other animals. He loves dancing and showing himself off but one day he is grabbed roughly, sheared and dumped back in the rain. His depression is lifted by the arrival of a jackalope who helps him to understand how to get over his embarrassment. My young boys love this film.
  10. Jack-Jack Attack (4:31) 2004 - Another film involving the characters from a feature but this time it is much more successful. To some degree this could have started life as a deleted scene from The Incredibles as it actually fits into the story of the feature. It has some great stuff in it including my three year old's favourite, 'fire baby'. A very amusing and entertaining film.
  11. One Man Band (4:21) 2005 - This one featured with Cars and was Oscar nominated but to my mind is not as good as the other movies of this era. There is something about this film which I find hard to like; perhaps it is the slight meanness of spirit. Regardless, it is entertaining and the technical aspects are phenomenal.
  12. Mater & the Ghost Light (6:51) - The longest film here and one of the best. This reuses the characters from Cars to great effect which is one of the best set of characters ever put together by Pixar. A very funny and entertaining film.
  13. Lifted (4:49) - This is one of the best films here and is very funny indeed. It tells the story of a trainee alien who is having difficulty getting the knack of the complex console for transporting humans aboard the alien spacecraft.

    All in all, this is a wonderful collection of short films and the only real criticism I could come up of this collection is that it only runs 52 minutes in total. The disc is nicely packaged with a cardboard slipcover. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent. All of the films seem to be in original aspect ratio, although IMDB lists Mike's New Car as 1.85:1 and it is 1.33:1 here, which certainly surprised me.

    In order the films are in the following aspect ratios (all are 16x9 enhanced unless noted), 1) 1.33:1 (4x3) 2) 1.47:1 3) 1.80:1 4) 1.75:1 5) 1.88:1 6) 1.66:1 7) 1.90:1 8) 1.33:1 (4x3) 9) 1.85:1 10) 1.78:1 11) 2.35:1 12) 1.78:1 13) 1.80:1. In other words, every aspect ratio under the sun is featured here! 

    The picture was wonderfully clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    The only artefacts I noticed were some small specks on the earlier films.

    There are subtitles in English, Arabic, Romanian, Croatian, Slovenian & Serbian.

    There was no noticeable layer change.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    This DVD contains a variety of different tracks dependent upon the film. The first film has a Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 192 Kb/s. All the rest have a main soundtrack of English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 Kb/s. Ones with dialogue also feature a variety of foreign language tracks, although not all the options appear on every film. The other options are Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in Romanian, Croatian & Slovenian. I did notice that the Slovenian track was replaced by the standard English one on Jack-Jack Attack.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music runs the gamut of styles from classical to country to vocal and sounds great on all the films.

    The surround speakers were well used by the newer films especially Jack-Jack Attack and Lifted.

     The subwoofer was also used by the newer films, although, as you might expect, not overly.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   

Menu

    Well designed menus are featured including scenes form the films, soundtrack music and some nice motifs.

Commentaries

    Commentaries are included by the filmmakers (or people close to them) on all films except for Jack-Jack Attack.

The Pixar Shorts - A Short History (22:18)

    16x9 enhanced. This is an interesting documentary on the history of Pixar and computer animation in general. Interviews are included with most of the major players at Pixar, covering technical issues, the Pixar business and discussion about all of the film projects. Good stuff.

Sesame Street Shorts

    There are four shorts here featuring the two characters from Luxo Jr. They were made for Sesame Street and have an education bent. They are worth having but not overly entertaining. They are Surprise (0:21), Light & Heavy (0:57), Up and Down (0:33) & Front and Back (0:41).

Easter Eggs

    I found three Easter Eggs on this disc, as follows:

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis, let's just call it a draw.

Summary

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    A good selection of extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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