Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I really didn’t love the cover to be honest. For a company that has made it’s name on brining life to animated characters, to waste most of the cover with just the color red is disappointing. There are four small shots of characters from the films on there, but it is so small and conservative. I guess I just expected something fun and different. The same can be said for the menus. Pretty normal fare, which doesn’t seem to go hand and hand with Pixar.
Almost every short is presented with a commentary track that is actually very informative. The technology is discussed, the background for the short, and even some commentary from two of the Pixar director’s sons. The commentary is both informative and lighthearted, and because they are shoved into a small amount of time, they are very enjoyable and they don’t suffer from having too much “filler.”
Also included as an extra is a 23 minute documentary on Pixar, which again was very informative, and an easy watch. I loved the history that is found on this DVD, and it really makes you appreciate just how far this once-little company has become.
Additionally there are a few shorts that the company did for Sesame Street early on, which range from a few seconds in length, to around a minute. Overall the extras are a great background to the shorts, and they really add to the DVD. They may be geared more towards the “over 12” age group, but they are a nice addition.
The Movie: 7/10
Pixar is a company that has grown into a mammoth entity in the entertainment business. Originally Pixar made short films to advertise their computer skills and equipment, but has since exploded into a blockbuster-churning movie house. This collection of short films is a kind of walk down memory lane for the once small company, and it showcases just how far Pixar, and the technology that Pixar developed, has come.
There are 13 short films included in this collection, and each is pretty short (hence the short films moniker.) The running time is actually less than an hour. The progression from the early animation is astounding, and viewing the advancements is really entertaining. I was enthralled by the leaps made by the technology in such a short amount of time, and even though I had seen many of the films, I was amazed by how much of the advancements in the visual style of the films I had taken for granted.
Obviously the later shorts are more advanced, in terms of the story being told and the technology, but every one was entertaining. It was obvious that the Pixar group had something right even from the early incarnations presented here. Ultimately it was just a matter of time before they hit the big time.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Pixar’s animation on the early short is really the only limitation on this disk. The transfer is as clean and sharp as it can be, considering the limited resolution of the early films. Where the video really shines is on the newer of the shorts, in the post-Toy Story era. The DVD looked and sounded great for a non-high definition DVD.
On Blu-Ray don’t expect all of the shorts on this disc to be up to the same quality as the superb Cars or Ratatouille, some of the older films are presented in 4:3 and standard definition. The later movies on the disc look incredible though and for the discerning audio/videophile the Blu-Ray disc is the way to go.
Did I mention that this runs at less than one hour? While the disk itself is a great bunch of fun shorts, the price on this one seems to me a bit steep, considering that Pixar’s other new release Ratatouille is similarly priced. Unless you are a Pixar fiend, this is probably a rent. I highly recommend the collection, if for nothing more than a history lesson, albeit a very interesting history lesson. The fact is that while this collection is great, I just don’t see me watching it over and over again. That being said, my 2 year-old son seems to enjoy seeing each and every short, over and over again. Often times he begs to see Jack-Jack “blow up,” or catch fire for you and me. Who I am to complain? It sure beats Barney.
Overall Score 7/10