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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Various
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
Disney and Pixar present an incredible new collection of 12 short films, featuring multiple Academy Award nominees (best short film, animated: Presto, 2008; Day & Night, 2010; La Luna, 2011) and a host of family favorites. Join the celebration of imagination with this must-own collection, packed with unforgettable animation, fantastic stories, and captivating characters. Plus, enjoy all-new extras that share how Pixar's storied talent got their start - including student films from acclaimed directors John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Pete Docter!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (10 Shorts)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (2 Shorts)
Audio:
See Body Of Review
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 75 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 11/13/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentaries for 12 Shorts
• “The Short Student Films of Pixar Directors”
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume II [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2012)

While they’ve made their fortune on full-length films, the folks at Pixar regularly churn out short cartoons as well. Back in 2007, the first 23 years of these got put out via Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1. Five years later, they’ve amassed enough additional material to warrant Volume 2, a set that presents 12 shorts originally released from 2007 to 2012.

Your Friend the Rat (11:16): Ratatouille’s Remy and Emile detail the evolution of the rat over the centuries. It uses a style reminiscent of those semi-educational Disney shorts from the 1950s. I like the mix of visual techniques and think it’s a lively and fun way to tell us a little about these much-maligned rodents.

Presto (5:16): Shown prior to WALL-E, this one features a hungry magician’s rabbit who causes havoc with the act when he doesn’t get fed. The short features a definite Looney Tunes vibe and provides some fun dialogue-free antics.

BURN-E (7:35): The short focuses on a repair droid and shows what he was up to during the Axiom-based drama of WALL-E. It’s a cute look at a different part of the story, but it doesn’t really go anywhere terribly interesting.

Partly Cloudy (5:49): In this pre-Up short, we follow a stork who always gets stuck with difficult baby deliveries. It’s awfully cutesy, but it musters decent entertainment value.

Dug’s Special Mission (4:42): The cartoon provides more fun with the canine star of Up. It actually connects to the film, as it shows how Dug ended up in a place to meet Carl and Russell. It provides good amusement, and I like the manner in which it ties into the movie.

George and AJ (4:01): Here we focus on the nurses from the retirement home Up’s Carl is supposed to enter. We see what happens with George and AJ after Carl’s house takes flight. The short comes with extremely limited animation – it borders on storyreel, honestly – but it’s still pretty fun. We see how Carl inspired other oldsters in this clever, wacky piece.

Day & Night (6:02): The piece ran with theatrical screenings of Toy Story 3 and focuses on two blobby dudes in whose bodies we can see the world. One’s stuck in the day and the other’s set at night; they try to come together. We see some clever bits in “Night”, but it’s too heavy-handed for my liking. It throws out a pretty obvious message about unity/accepting differences; that’s not bad thing, of course, but I think the short does so in a hammy manner. It’s got some entertainment value but isn’t a favorite.

Hawaiian Vacation (5:53): The short preceded theatrical screenings of Cars 2 and gives us a new Toy Story adventure. In it, Ken bemoans that he and Barbie didn’t get to accompany their owner Bonnie to Hawaii. To compensate, Woody, Buzz and the other toys throw them a fake tropical vacation. This is a simply delightful short.

Air Mater (5:12): This one delivers a “Cars Toon”. This shows a “tall tale” in which Mater claims he once flew a plane. It’s decent but not nearly as charming as “Hawaiian Vacation”. (It also feels like it exists simply to advertise Planes, a direct-to-video piece coming in 2013.)

Small Fry (7:06): Another “Toy Story Toon”, a fast food kiddie meal Buzz Lightyear manages to stow away – and replace – the “real Buzz” in Bonnie’s toy box. Is this as fun as “Hawaiian Vacation”? Yeah, pretty much. It throws out a slew of new characters, and tiny Buzz is a hoot. I can’t wait for more “Toy Story Toons”.

Footnote: I think “Small Fry” is the only one of these shorts that ran with a non-Pixar movie; it appeared prior to screenings of 2011’s The Muppets

Time Travel Mater (6:23): An additional “Cars Toon” entry, Mater discovers a way to go back to the 1920s and meet Stanley, the car who founded Radiator Springs. Time travel stories always offer plenty of room for comedy, and this one exploits some of them. It’s not as good as it probably should be, though; it’s amusing to see the development of the town and some period silliness, but it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.

La Luna (6:57): Shown before 2012’s Brave, a young boy accompanies his father and grandfather to work: they sweep fallen stars off the Moon. When I saw “La Luna” with Brave, I thought it was precious and cutesy, and that opinion hasn’t changed. It’s not a short that does much for me.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. La Luna and BURN-E opt for 2.39:1, but they’re the sole exceptions.

Collection 1 showed slightly erratic visuals due to the age of some of its shorts. With nothing made before 2007, however, that’s not an issue with Collection 2.

This meant consistently strong visuals. Sharpness was always solid, as the shorts looked accurate and concise. Virtually no instances of softness marred these tight cartoons. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and no signs of edge haloes materialized. Of course, the computer-generated shorts lacked any source flaws.

Given the wide range of topics featured here, colors varied quite a lot. These ranged from natural to heavily stylized. Within the parameters at work, the hues looked great, though, as they always showed accurate tones. Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and well-rendered. I expected quality visuals here and I got them.

Rather than pick one audio format and stick with it, Collection 2 opts for a changing roster. Why? I have not the slightest clue, but we get four formats for the main English tracks:

Dolby Digital 5.1 EX for Your Friend the Rat, Presto, BURN-E, Partly Cloudy, Dug’s Secret Mission, and George and AJ;

DTS-HD HR for Day & Night;

DTS-HD MA for Hawaiian Vacation;

Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for Air Mater, Small Fry, Time Travel Mater, and La Luna.

Even with the bizarre melange of formats, I felt happy with the audio. Soundfields varied but usually added to the shorts in a satisfying manner. More action-oriented pieces like BURN-E or Dug’s Secret Mission used the spectrum in the most active manner, but all of them featured wide, engaging material. The tracks flesh out the room and create a nice feeling of location and atmosphere.

Audio quality always worked fine. Of course, the various lossless tracks showed the most accurate sound, but even the lossy mixes remained more than acceptable. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared bright and full, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic. The mixes suited the cartoons well.

Each short comes with its own audio commentary. Here’s who shows up:

Your Friend the Rat: Director Jim Capabianco and Production Designer Nate Wragg.

Presto: Director Doug Sweetland.

BURN-E: Director Angus MacLane.

Partly Cloudy: Director Peter Sohn.

Dug’s Special Mission: Director Ronnie Del Carmen and Supervising Technical Director Brad Winemiller.

George and AJ: Director Josh Cooley.

Day & Night: Director Teddy Newton and Layour Artist Sandra Karpman.

Hawaiian Vacation: Director Gary Rydstrom, Story Supervisor Jason Katz and Supervising Animator Angus MacLane.

Air Mater: Director Rob Gibbs, Producer Kim Adams and Production Designer Rob Pauley.

Small Fry: Director Angus MacLane.

Time Travel Mater: Director Rob Gibbs, Editor Torbin Xan Bullock and Production Designer Anthony Christov.

La Luna: Director Enrico Casarosa and Producer Kevin Reher.

With little time available per short, the commentaries need to move quickly, and they do. The various participants usually cover the basics and give us tight, concise examinations of their work.

Of all 12, two commentaries stand out from the crowd. George & AJ goes the comedic route; it pairs Cooley with an over the top narrator who blatantly lies about the film. We don’t learn a ton, but it’s a fun little ride.

Sohn’s chat for Cloudy proves to be the most personal of the bunch. He tells us how his relationship with his Korean mother influenced the short. Rarely do audio commentaries become touching, but this one delivers in that way and gives us probably the most compelling of the 12 tracks.

Under Directors’ Student Films, we find an additional seven shorts. These include John Lasseter’s Nitemare (7:14) and Lady and the Lamp (6:02), Andrew Stanton’s Somewhere in the Arctic (5:37) and A Story (6:52), and Pete Docter’s Winter (3:30), Palm Springs (3:21) and Next Door (6:26). (Note that all these running times include director introductions; you can also watch the shorts without the intros.)

The quality of the shorts varies but they’re reasonably enjoyable. Remember that they’re student films, so they’re unpolished and rough. Still, you can see glimmers of talent there – and some foreshadowing of later Pixar products.

Of the bunch, A Story is probably the most interesting, if just due to its raw cynicism. Stanton mentions his aversion to phony magic ‘n’ whimsy, and that comes through via the dark short. It’s not great but it’s certainly a change of pace.

The introductions add good notes to the package. Indeed, for Pixar fans, the directors’ chats might be more enjoyable than the shorts themselves. Lasseter, Stanton and Docter give us some useful info and lead into their cartoons in a satisfying manner.

Disc One opens with ads for Monsters University, Planes and Peter Pan. These also show up under Sneak Peeks along with clips for Disney Parks, Sofia the First, and Finding Nemo.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Collection 2. This includes the same extras as the Blu-ray, so it’s a quality addition.

As was the case with its predecessor, Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 comes with its ups and downs. Nonetheless, we get a reasonable amount of entertainment and variety across the 12 cartoons, so they mostly fare well. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals, good audio and a small but valuable set of supplements. This becomes a must-own set for Pixar fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main