Since the 1980’s, Pixar has helped usher in the use of computer graphic imagining in cartoons. Not only that, but they’ve pushed the boundaries and excelled in their craft, creating stunning feature-length films and garnering a huge fan base in the process. However, with their feature-length work, they’ve made it a priority to commit to making short films as well. Their shorts almost always appear before their feature films, and some of them are almost more memorable than the feature itself. So, with all the great shorts Pixar has put out over the years, which are at the top? Here are 25 Best Pixar Shorts You Need To See.
George and A.J.
George and A.J. was a bit of a departure for Pixar, being a hand-drawn cartoon rather than computer imaging. It tells the story of the nurses who came to take Carl Fredricksen from UP to a nursing home and their life after witnessing Carl flying away in his house with balloons.
The Adventures of André and Wally B.
The Adventures of André and Wally B. is a simple short by the studio that would eventually become Pixar. It was their first short. André wakes up and is confronted by a bee and a chase ensues. The only intention of the short was to show what computer imagining could do with cartoons.
Mater and the Ghostlight
Mater and the Ghostlight isn’t exactly Pixar’s finest short. It’s actually one of two shorts that weren’t nominated for an Academy Award. However, it was directed by John Lasseter, the founder of Pixar, so that has to count for something. It’s also a relatively humorous short and if you or your kids are a fan of the Cars franchise, you’ll have to check this one out.
Rex from Toy Story isn’t exactly known for being a party animal. However, things change in the short Partysaurus Rex. Set after the events of Toy Story 3, Rex finds himself with the bath toys, and they need the water to go on so they can keep playing. Rex turns it on and gets the party started. It’s a cute little short that’ll sure to delight fans of Toy Story.
At the end of the movie The Incredibles, you might recall hearing a bunch of voicemails from the babysitter talking about Jack-Jack having “special needs.” Well, in the short Jack-Jack Attack, we get to see exactly what happened. It’s a silly little short, showing Jack-Jack finding his baby powers and terrorizing his babysitter.
Red’s Dream was another early Pixar short, and you can tell. Lasseter and his team are clearly feeling out their creative process and how far computer imaging can take them. It’s a good short to see the early beginnings of Pixar.
About a dancing sheep that gets sheered by a man driving down the road and suddenly becomes self-conscious, Boundin’ has all the early Pixar charm and a nice moral to the story to go with it. Supposedly, the car that drives down the road is Stanley from Cars.
Day and Night
Released in theaters before Toy Story 3, the Pixar short Day & Night playfully combines hand-drawn animation with CGI to tell the story of the benefits of things happening during the day and during the night. Two characters get to see each other’s worlds and enjoy them together.
Created in 1997 after Toy Story, the idea behind Geri’s Game is fairly simple. Geri plays a chess game by himself, switching seats each time he makes a move. However, it turns to the comedic when Geri tries to cheat and swindle himself in the game.
The Legend of Mor'du
The Legend of Mor’du appeared on the Brave DVD/Blu-ray release, and it’s a short detailing the backstory of the black bear villain in Brave. If you weren’t really sure what the deal was with the black bear in Brave, then this short will help you out.
One Man Band
One Man Band was released in theaters before Cars, and features two characters named Bass and Treble who vie for a coin from a girl. Eventually, the two try to work together rather than apart.
The Blue Umbrella
The beauty of The Blue Umbrella is its photo-realistic animation. The creator said he got the idea of the story when he found an abandoned umbrella on the street and imagined its backstory. It released before the theatrical premiere of Monsters University.
Written and directed by John Lasseter in 1988, Tin Toy is the first time a computer-animated short film won the Academy Award. Though it now looks extremely dated, it’s another great example of Pixar’s humble beginnings and its early inspiration for making Toy Story.
Luxo Jr., released in 1986, is officially the first short under the Pixar Animation Studios name. Directed by John Lasseter, “Luxo” would eventually become a part of Pixar’s opening credits screen.
For the Birds
Directed by Ralph Eggleston, For the Birds was attached to the Monsters, Inc. theatrical release. It tells the story of birds on a power line and one bird that looks goofy and silly. It won the Academy Award in its category that year. Also, here’s a fun fact, there’s a boat called For the Birds in Finding Nemo.
Intersecting within the Wall-E film, Burn-E is a short that follows the character of the same name, an engineering robot, to fix the damage done to the ship. It takes on the similar style and animation as Wall-E and was released on home video.
Partly Cloudy originally played before the theatrical release of Up, and is directed by Peter Sohn, the voice of Emile in Ratatouille. About a world of cloud people who create cuddly and cute things, one cloud gets the horrible job of creating not so cuddly things and is teamed up with a not-so-happy stork.
Knick Knack was originally made in 1989 but re-released before Finding Nemo. In its humble style, it features a snowman trapped behind a snowglobe. He desperately wants to get out to be with a girl knick-knack on a beach. The comedy focuses heavily on irony and bad luck for the protagonist who can’t seem to catch a break.
A more recent short film, Lava played before Inside Out in theaters and followed a giant volcano wishing to have his love back with him again. It broke from traditional Pixar norms of little to no dialogue in their shorts and rather had the volcano tell the story through song.
Directed by Academy-Award winning Gary Rydstrom, Lifted follows two green aliens trying to abduct a human from his home but continue to fail at every turn. It debuted before the release of Ratatouille.
Following the child “Bambino” on a midnight sailing journey with his father and grandfather, La Luna is a particularly magical short by Pixar and from director Enrico Casarosa. The story highlights the conflicts between father and son. Casarosa himself stated the idea of the story came from his own childhood by the sea in Genoa, Italy.
Sanjay's Super Team
Sanjay’s Super Team is about how a boy in love with western pop culture conflicts with his father’s more traditional views. Their two perspectives collide, but they both bond over the experience. It premiered before The Good Dinosaur and was directed by Sanjay Patel.
Appearing before Wall-E, the short film Presto follows a white rabbit named Alec Azam trapped in a cage and desperately wants a carrot. Presto the magician takes Alec out of the cage to perform his magic tricks, but to the frustration of Presto, Alec doesn’t cooperate.
Piper is a gorgeous, photo-realistic Academy Award-winning short film by Pixar that continues to blow us away. Putting this next to their first short film truly shows how far they’ve come and realizes the potential of computer imaging. It’s about a tiny bird on a beach shore desperately trying to get food under the water but struggles with it. It’s a must watch short film.
One of their most recent short films in 2017, LOU, which comes from three letters in “Lost and Found,” played before Cars 3 and follows a bully being antagonized by a pile of items in the lost and found. Eventually, Lou comes to better understand the bully and the bully realizes what he needs to do to make things better again. It tackles issues kids tend to deal with such as bullying and feeling invisible.
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