Sanjay’s Super Team (2015)

Sanjay's Super TeamSanjay’s Super Team Review

Sanjay’s Super Team is Pixar’s 17th short film which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and is such a wonderful surprise and one of the finest Pixar shorts.

It is about a young Indian boy who is enjoying watching his favorite superhero show while his father is trying to meditate at a Hindu shrine. He disapproves of his son’s infatuation with superheroes and forces the boy to pray with him. The boy eventually imagines the world with Hindu gods as superheroes and finally comes to terms with his religion. The story is absolutely wonderful. The directing from Sanjay Patel is excellent and him being the first Indian director of a Pixar film lead to such an authentic and refreshing storyline. It is very important and wonderfully portrays the Hindu religion while also embracing the superheroics at the same time. It is such a clever and sophisticated script with a moving conclusion.

What I found disappointing is the fact that the father isn’t present that much and the second act with the action lasts for too much and I expected the much more intriguing first and third act to last longer. However, everything else here is pretty much fantastic with great character development and a wonderful mythology beautifully realized. I loved the score with a couple of excellent sound effects during action sequences which are also so well executed. And the animation is gorgeous with great colors, slick visuals and great character design. It is such a pleasant surprise and such a vast improvement over Pixar’s previous film ‘Lava’ from the same year.

Sanjay’s Super Team is one of the best Pixar shorts and easily their best in years due to excellent animation and such a unique, wonderful storyline.

My Rating – 4.5

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Boundin’ (2003)

Boundin'Boundin’ Review

Boundin’ is Pixar’s seventh short film which was once again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. But it is one of the worse Pixar films unfortunately.

The plot is about a dancing sheep who loses confidence after being sheared. The plot as stories go is quite okay and there is nothing wrong with it. It is even charming to some extent and the ending is rather cute and endearing. But it is executed poorly. First off, the narration. I am never a fan of the narration and here I was especially annoyed with it. The narrator has a somewhat irritating voice and it is all the more annoying for the voice cast as he is the only actor, giving voice to all of the characters which was super lazy and distracting. And secondly, it is too childish in my opinion and with a childish tone that Pixar films never have, but here it is like that unfortunately.

The characters are okay. The sheep is a fine protagonist and well displayed and the other animals are fine. And I like the jackalope and what he presents quite a bit. It is also a well edited film and the score is quite fun and catchy.

The animation is also superb and advanced even more here. The character design I am not a big fan of, but the backgrounds are very good and I like its color palette and its overall entertaining and colorful tone, both in music and in animation.

Boundin’ is definitely one of Pixar’s lesser efforts. It does have great animation, wonderful music and a solid plot, but it is executed poorly with a too childish approach and very annoying narration.

My Rating – 3

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The Lost Thing (2010)

The Lost ThingThe Lost Thing

The Lost Thing is a 2010 Oscar-winning short film that garnered accolades for its touching and important story. And it deserved it as it really is a special little film.

It is about a young man who one day finds a strange creature on the beach. After learning that it does not belong anywhere and is lost, he searches for a place to put it in and eventually finds a place where all lost things live and leaves it there. It is such a unique story. And I like that the ending is so satisfying, touching but never too emotional which is great. And it is a relevant and sophisticated look into people and creatures that do not fit in and are different and it gives us a message that we should help those who are different and not leave them behind. It is a great story that is beautifully explored and so sweet.

I like the characters. Both the protagonist and the creature are so well realized. The creature is so sweet and you root for it throughout the whole flick while the central character is also really sympathetic and also realistic both in his looks and behavior.

The animation is my only problem with this film. It is certainly good, but never rising above that level and it is never particularly memorable which is a shame as the rest of the movie is anything but. However, the character design is simply terrific and so grounded. The main character has a realistic look to him and he looks for once like a regular guy. And the creature is so fascinating with the mix of a machine and animal-like qualities. It is a machine but also a crab and an octopus. And the rest of the lost things are also wonderfully depicted.

It has such a wonderful world-building, but unlike Mr. Hublot, it is better explored and overall much more entertaining and memorable. And also hard-hitting. And I like the narration as well which is also a great accomplishment as that is hard to do well in short form. It received an Oscar and while Pixar’s Day & Night deserved the award as it is a much better film, I am still okay with their decision as The Lost Thing is also superb. 2010 was a very strong year for both short and feature animation.

The Lost Thing has not so memorable animation, but it has a wonderful and meaningful story, excellent world-building, amazing characters and terrific character design. It is a touching but also very important and imaginative film that leaves a very strong impression.

My Rating – 4.6

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Ranking Pixar Short Films

Ranking Pixar Short Films

Pixar is known for their quality feature films, most of which classics and of the best ever made. But while their feature films are simply amazing, the company also made many short-length movies with some being just as important or as good as their feature-length companions. This is a list for those movies, short in length, but leaving a lasting impression nonetheless. This is my personal ranking of all sixteen short films Pixar released up to this point.

 

Boundin'16. Boundin’

http://www.simbasible.com/boundin-review-2/

On the bottom of this list definitely has to be Boundin’ mostly because it is a rare Pixar short that features narration and talking which is done in an annoying fashion. It has its moments, but it is mostly a disappointing film that although an okay short, is still the worst for the company that usually makes top-notch animation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knick Knack

15. Knick Knack

http://www.simbasible.com/knick-knack-review/

This one is a personal choice as I know it has a good reputation. It was a nice change in pace for the studio at the time that did more mature stuff, but this one is a comedic venture that is not particularly successful in my opinion as the characters are unlikable and the character design is pretty unappealing.

 

 

 

 

Lava14. Lava

http://www.simbasible.com/lava-2015/

I am sad to put Lava so far down this list as I watched it in the theatre and overall enjoyed the experience, but it is such a simplistic story and the one that the studio did before and better. It still has gorgeous animation and very interesting music, but it is again slight stuff in terms of storytelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Umbrella

13. The Blue Umbrella

http://www.simbasible.com/the-blue-umbrella-review/

The Blue Umbrella is the only Pixar short along with ‘Lava’ that I watched in the theatre and it is basically the same as with that film – a technically stunning short, but with a familiar storyline. And although its story is basically a rip-off from Disney’s ‘Make Mine Music‘, it is still a somewhat better film than the previous movie on the list thanks to its photorealistic animation which truly is breathtaking to behold.

 

 

 

La Luna

12. La Luna

http://www.simbasible.com/la-luna-review/

I think this is going to be the most controversial choice, but I was immensely disappointed with this film. It is too ambiguous in nature and I just expected much more from it in terms of plot, but La Luna is still beautiful to watch and also incredibly charming with really likable characters.

 

 

 

The Adventures of André and Wally B.

11. The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.

http://www.simbasible.com/the-adventures-of-andre-and-wally-b-review/

I know, this one has a pretty dated animation and it is incredibly short, but it is very charming in its execution and characters and that animation is just so incredible and groundbreaking for the time. It is the first ever Pixar short film and it holds up rather well in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifted

 10. Lifted

http://www.simbasible.com/lifted-review/

This is the point on the list where we start to see some really quality piece of filmmaking. Now granted, Lifted did disappoint me a bit as it had much more potential with the premise and the humor, but it is funny at times and it is such a unique setting for the studio with definitely one of the most satisfying conclusions as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Man Band9. One Man Band

http://www.simbasible.com/one-man-band-review/

Coming in at the middle of the list is One Man Band, a short that probably took me the most by surprise. Yes, the lack of soundtrack at times bothered me and I still think that the girl at the end was mean, but that ending along with the whole flick was a lot of fun and very funny but it is above all incredibly unique with an authentic setting and powerful animation.

 

 

 

Tin Toy

8. Tin Toy

http://www.simbasible.com/tin-toy-review/

I have to admit that I am not such a big fan of Tin Toy as the rest because it does seem dated with its creepy animation of the baby, but it certainly deserved its Oscar and it paved the way for ‘Toy Story‘ with its toy-centric storyline which is very inventive and intriguing.

 

 

 

 

Luxo Jr.

7. Luxo Jr.

http://www.simbasible.com/luxo-jr-review/

This is where it started. This is where Pixar showed their true talents. And if Luxo Jr. may seem too simplistic and short, it compensates for it with a really good humor, lovable characters and just revolutionary CGI animation that changed the game forever. As Pixar’s logo and one of their most respected and oldest films, it does stand out and it deserved its accolades for sure.

 

 

 

 

Partly Cloudy

6. Partly Cloudy

http://www.simbasible.com/partly-cloudy-review/

Coming in at number six is probably the studio’s most underrated film – Partly Cloudy. We again have some soundtrack troubles with a pretty repetitive score, but it is the most purely lovable and cute film of the bunch with wonderful colorful animation, terrific humor and the most satisfying finale.

 

 

 

 

Presto

5. Presto

http://www.simbasible.com/presto-review/

Continuing to feature all-new settings and approach, Pixar released Presto in 2008, a short that is their most uncharacteristic for it is a love letter to older cartoons with its slapstick and violence. And although it does lose its steam a bit near the end, this is still an incredibly well executed flick with an abundance of funny and inventive moments.

 

 

 

 

For the Birds

4. For the Birds

http://www.simbasible.com/for-the-birds-review/

At number four I put For the Birds and it is the first truly great Pixar short in my book. The humor is just outstanding and it is undoubtedly the funniest short from the company with excellent animation as well and simply hilarious, laugh-out-loud ending. It is the film that surprised me the most with its unexpected quality and perfect humor.

 

Geri's Game

3. Geri’s Game

http://www.simbasible.com/geris-game-review/

This choice is a no-brainer. It is their first film that proved how clever and relevant their stories can be while also being incredibly inventive and just fun and charming. It also has thrilling animation and it is just beautiful to behold and so smartly executed. Geri’s Game is a deserved Oscar winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red's Dream

2. Red’s Dream

http://www.simbasible.com/reds-dream-review/

Here we have our runner-up – Red’s Dream, the most shamefully underappreciated and most heartbreaking movie of this entire group. It is technically superb, it is emotionally devastating and so mature in tone with an ending that feels both heartbreaking and sweet. The filmmakers here showed they can present us a true character-driven film and they showed us real emotion for the first time and for that alone, it is their second best film, the one that for a very long time I thought was going to be the number one on my list until I’ve watched…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day & Night1. Day & Night

http://www.simbasible.com/day-night-review/

This is it! The one and only Day & Night, a film that is not only Pixar’s very best short but also one of the finest animated short films ever made! It is endlessly inventive and sophisticated, evidently moving and important, beautifully animated and groundbreaking in nearly every aspect, it is such a heartfelt, unique but above all powerful and one of a kind experience with a story unlike any other, animation unlike any other and the message that is as clear as the beautiful colors on display. It is their smartest, most inventive, most technically dazzling and overall best and most awe-inspiring film. A pure miracle that will go down into history and it of course takes the top spot on this list.

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Presto (2008)

PrestoPresto Review

Presto is Pixar’s eleventh short film which was again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and is one of their best shorts of the 2000s without a doubt.

It is about a magician trying to perform with his rabbit who is willing to take a carrot. The two then fight in a Looney Tunes style execution. The plot is really well done as are the action sequences. It is definitely that old-fashioned style of classic cartoons which I highly appreciated. It was a different approach for a Pixar film and that is great and once again a proof that each of their short films is quite distinct and different from each other. The beginning is also a great throwback to classic shorts and it begins wonderfully, instantly making you interested. It also ends well. But there is one problem I have with it and that’s the gags. They are phenomenal at first, but they quickly wear off and the later scenes are not as entertaining as the previous ones.

The characters are wonderful. Presto the magician is a very well imagined character and is a great counteract to Alec the rabbit who is just hilarious and so sympathetic. His design is somewhat different than other animated rabbits, but his voice is typical for these bunny characters, especially in his hysterical laugh and that was great here.

The animation is really well done. The colors are somewhat toned down which is great for this setting which is once again unique. The design of the characters is as great as usual and it is overall pretty to look at.

Presto is one of the best of the Pixar’s newer shorts with excellent animation, funny characters, charming humor and it is a nice throwback to the classic cartoons of yesterday.

 

My Rating – 4.2

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Day & Night (2010)

Day & NightDay & Night Review

Day & Night is Pixar’s thirteenth short film which surprisingly did not win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but it should have as it is such a wondrous film and easily Pixar‘s very best to date.

It is about the two characters of Day and Night. Each has a sun or the moon inside them and their emotions turn into actions in themselves. At first, they are jealous and don’t accept each other, but later learn that each of them has its highlights and learn to live together. That is such an awesome story for so many reasons. First of all, it is so incredibly authentic, wildly original and just inventive. Secondly, it is very relevant and is filled with the themes of prejudice and acceptance. But above all, it is incredibly endearing and even funny at times, but mostly just so incredibly smart and powerful. The ending in which they find their similarities, represented by sunrise and sunset, is such a perfectly satisfying conclusion to this wonderful journey.

I have just two very small flaws with it that prevent it from reaching the perfect rating from me. The first is its somewhat annoying sexual angle as sometimes, the thing that annoyed me the most in ‘Knick Knack‘, but thankfully wasn’t as present here. And the second is its speech at the end as it wasn’t that needed and should have been all silent as usual, but it was still solidly done. Yes, even the flaws in this film are so little that they do not hurt it at all.

The character development is excellent. This is the example of a character-driven short film that manages to develop its characters within a short timeframe which is always quite an achievement. Both are so likable and so realistic and their troubles and relationship with each other is so relevant and applicable to the real world.

The animation is just exquisite, so breathtaking. This is one of the best animated works from Pixar, feature-length or short! It is original even in its animation as it mixes CGI in its backgrounds and hand-drawn animation in its characters. And both are great, the CG is polished and beautiful to look at whereas the character design is absolutely terrific, wonderfully simplistic and charming. It works wonders in this film and it is a moving magic to behold. It is also a tightly edited film, it has excellent score and wonderfully realized sound effects. And it has a longer than usual running time for Pixar and with never a rushed or dull moment.

Day & Night is an almost perfect film! It is a magical harmony of sophisticated plot and themes, just breathtaking animation and inherent emotion, realism and cleverness. It is an original, wildly inventive, emotional, relevant, funny and beautiful look at prejudice and acceptance and without a doubt the very best Pixar short ever made and also one of the finest animated short films period.

My Rating – 4.9

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The Blue Umbrella (2013)

The Blue UmbrellaThe Blue Umbrella Review

The Blue Umbrella is a 2013 Pixar short film that was not nominated for an Oscar and is not one of their best efforts, but it still has its strengths.

The story is my biggest complaint in The Blue Umbrella. It is romantic and it can bring joy to you and it is emotional and endearing, but it is typical and just so cliched, predictable and overused. But above all it is a stolen idea. It is basically a rip-off of Disney’s ‘Johnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet‘ which is a segment from ‘Make Mine Music‘. It is about two hats falling in love and this is about the two umbrellas in love. It follows the same basic formula, but is still engaging to watch and sympathetic.

The characters are okay. Both the red and the blue umbrella exhibit real emotion which is an evident technical prowess on the part of the animators that they brought emotion to difficult inanimate objects. And I like the rest of the street objects as well and they are used very well and are the highlights.

The animation is the film’s standout and the chief reason to see this short. It is absolutely incredible with its photorealistic realism and great attention to detail in both the clothing and the lighting. It has great smooth and muted colors and is wonderful to behold. The score is also quite solid and moving and although the movie lasts a bit too long, it is still very well made and shot.

The Blue Umbrella isn’t one of Pixar’s best efforts due to its rip-off and basic storyline, but it still has fascinating animation, solid score and inherent romantic sensibilities to it.

My Rating – 3.5

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Lifted (2006)

LiftedLifted Review

Lifted is Pixar’s tenth short film which was once again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and once again failed to win it. It is a nice film, albeit too expected.

It is about an alien abduction where a clumsy alien named Stu unsuccessfully tries to abduct a man under the supervision of another alien. Now, the story has an intriguing setting and sci-fi theme which is definitely new for the studio. It is also brilliantly executed and very well edited with a superb opening and excellent conclusion. It is one of the best crafted Pixar shorts for sure. And it is funny at times, but it is unfortunately only mildly funny and the story is highly predictable once you get past the first surprising gag. That is the biggest problem here, the gags are never as good as they should have been thus diminishing the whole effect a bit.

The characters are great. Stu is of course the highlight as the clumsy and sympathetic protagonist. You really can’t help but love him. Ernie is just there as a plot device, but he has a funny conclusion as well. And the examiner Mr. B is a great irritated counteract to the exuberant central character.

The animation is really good. I like the blue colors here and the character design of both the human and the two aliens is very well done. It is a charming film to look at and it is also technically polished with excellent editing as mentioned before and a very memorable score.

Lifted has a great score, really good animation and a unique sci-fi theme to it along with charming characters, but it is expected and the gags are never as funny as they should have been.

My Rating – 3.7

 

 

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La Luna (2011)

La LunaLa Luna Review

La Luna is a 2011 Pixar short film that was nominated for an Oscar and is well regarded by many. However, I find it to be one of company’s lesser efforts.

The story is my main issue here. Yes, it is very endearing and even so romantic, but it is overly ambiguous, at least to me. I didn’t know if that was all a metaphor or not. It is a charming flick that benefits from its intriguing sense of wonder and magic, but is undone by its ambiguous and problematic storytelling. It starts and ends well, but the whole middle part is flawed.

The characters are effervescent. The boy is great and of course the father and the grandpa are very entertaining with their quarreling. And their evident care for the boy is what makes it so beautiful. And I like how authentic the characters are here with their design and nationality.

The animation is superb. Although it was a bit too dark for my taste, the blue colors of the night and the yellow of the stars nicely contrast and make it look so wonderful and even magical. Everything is beautiful to look at and once they get on the moon, the animation just gets better and more imaginative. It is also a well paced and directed short and I liked the score as well. It just is weak in the storytelling department.

La Luna is one of the lesser efforts from Pixar. It is too ambiguous and flawed in its storytelling, but it still has charming characters, endearing tone to it and wonderful animation.

My Rating – 3.6

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Partly Cloudy

Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy is Pixar’s twelfth short film which was surprisingly not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but it should have been as it is such a charming and endearing flick.

It is about storks delivering babies from clouds and one of them, unlike the others, only gets aggressive baby creatures such as crocodiles and sharks much to his dismay. It is an incredibly charming flick, so sympathetic and incredibly effervescent. The story is once again different, this time around mixing Disney charms with their own. But it works wonderfully as the story is engaging from start to finish and so beautiful to behold. And although the conclusion is not as grand as I wanted it to be, it is still a very well crafted short that is charming and funny throughout.

The characters are so lovable. The cloud is so sympathetic, whereas the stork is so funny and relatable. Their relationship and the stork’s troubles with the babies are so well executed and amusing and the character design is absolutely gorgeous.

The animation is splendid with such a wonderful mix of blue and pink colors. It is so polished and beautiful to look at. And its setting was perfect and suitable for the accompanied release with ‘Up‘. It is also a longer Pixar short for once which I appreciated and although the score is very repetitive and not likable from its start even, it is also a very well edited and paced film.

Partly Cloudy is not well scored and the conclusion is not the most satisfying one, but it is nonetheless a wonderful film filled with an endearing plot, lovable characters, splendid animation and an inherent charm.

My Rating – 4.1

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