Blu-ray Review: Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 3 (2018)

Now Available

Bookmark and Share

Shining a light on the audience, before every Pixar feature, the studio reaffirms their commitment to short filmmaking not only through their latest offering – which dazzles us just before the main attraction – but within the Pixar logo itself.

Evoking an image from the company's 1986 animated short Luxo Jr. with that now iconic bouncing desk lamp, more than three decades and three volumes of short films later, Disney Pixar's passion for creative storytelling remains just as strong today regardless of running time.

In fact, looking at the thirteen films included in this gorgeously transferred, recently released Blu-ray combo pack, one could go as far as to say that while Pixar's blockbuster features still thrill, it's in the studio's non-franchise shorts where they take the most risks.

While many shorts still embrace some of Pixar's favorite staples including unusual paths to romance or family-centric tales of parents learning to let go as children come-of-age, with new twists on familiar themes, these personal and often jaw-droppingly ambitious shorts introduce us to new cultures, countries, traditions, and perspectives.

Kicking things off with one of the most moving shorts I've seen in a long time, Chinese-Canadian storyboard artist Domee Shi became the first woman to helm a Pixar short with 2018’s Bao, which mixes fairy tale structure (including a dash of Pinocchio) with her own background for this bittersweet saga about an empty-nester.

A perfect companion piece to Alan Barillaro's 2016 Academy Award winner Piper, the disc’s early films – including the inventive Lou from Dave Mullins which focuses on bullying – flow nicely from one to the next as they tell a story about aging children and parents struggling to assert their independence while staying connected to home.

In the thrilling entry Sanjay's Super Team, writer-director Sanjay Patel puts a superhero spin on the Hindi gods he prayed to alongside his father as a child when he thought he'd much rather be watching cartoons.

Checking back in with some of Pixar's most iconic movies and characters, while on the whole, the standalone franchise shorts are pretty hit or miss, Riley's First Date?, Party Central, and Partysaurus Rex from Inside Out, Monsters University, and Toy Story respectively are definite highlights.

Helping to balance out the mayhem of some of the wilder shorts (even if this volume goes in this reverse chronological order), Pixar proves once again that animation can appeal to adults just as much as children with Saschka Unseld's groundbreaking 2013 short The Blue Umbrella and James Ford Murphy's lyrical Lava, which was made a year later.

From the free will and heightened realism on display in Umbrella, where a love story plays out on a dark city street as inanimate objects guide two umbrellas together to the fated romance of a lonely volcano hoping to find someone to "lava," the two works use music incredibly well, whether augmenting Unseld's dialogue-free film or literally telling Ford Murphy's story through song.

Also featuring two bonus shorts and filmmaker introductions, this stunning collection of admittedly similarly themed but mightily different shorts is filled with the heart, empathy, and magic we've come to expect from a studio that's set out to bring us closer together under the warmth of Pixar's illuminating light as it captures, interprets, and reflects the emotional journey of life.

Text ©2018, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I may have received a review copy or screener link of this title in order to voluntarily decide to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique. Cookies Notice: This site incorporates tools (including advertiser partners and widgets) that use cookies and may collect some personal information in order to display ads tailored to you etc. Please be advised that neither Film Intuition nor its site owner has any access to this data beyond general site statistics (geographical region etc.) as your privacy is our main concern.