With the release of Inside Out this weekend we are graced with another Pixar short. Pixar has become at least partially known for the charming shorts they play in front of their films. Over the years the shorts have increased in length and in emotional impact. However, some of the older shorts are still just as touching as the newer ones. So, let’s take a quick seat and sit back as we prepare ourselves for a heartwarming and heartbreaking look back at the 5 best Pixar theatrical shorts so far.
5. Day and Night
Starting off our list is the short Day and Night. As every Pixar short does, this one tackles issues much greater than just two characters struggling to get along. Day and Night touches a lot on coexistence with those who are different than ourselves. However, once it shows us how to get along with others who are different, it shows us that we are all really one in the same. Day and Night has some really clever visuals that help depict the emotions and reactions of both characters. The facial animation on each character is very descriptive as well, which Pixar has become masters of. Most of their shorts have no dialogue, so they rely upon their ability to convey emotion with body language and the settings they create. With the message and imagery in this short, it deserves the number 5 spot no doubt.
4. Luxo Jr.
Being the second short that Pixar ever made and becoming the defining symbol of the company are just two reasons why Luxo Jr. deserve to be on this list. However, Pixar’s ability to make me care so much about two lamps speaks volumes about how much more impactful this short really is. The story is one about a father/mother and a son/daughter. The parent lamp is trying to play with its child, and is surprised by the ability the child has to bounce back (quite literally). Much like most parents, the lamp realizes how resilient their child is even when saddened. The short also catches the wonder and happiness that children have when they are doing something as simple as playing with a ball. Luxo Jr. reaches both parents and kids, and tells a story of appreciation on both accounts. It’s a great short that I’ve remembered since the first time I saw it.
3. Knick Knack
Knick Knack is one of the funniest shorts from Pixar, if not THE funniest. It’s a little hard to put my finger on exactly, but this short is much more about the comedy than it about the message when compared to other shorts. There’s something about the levity in this that just makes it so enjoyable to me. It’s a great story about being trapped and being left out and learning to accept your situation, but honestly it’s just really fun to watch.
Lava was by far the most heartbreaking short film I’ve ever seen from Pixar. It was beautiful through and through. From the visuals, to the music, to the story, to the characters. It was nice having actual voices in the short, which as we know almost never happens. I think it was a great move on their part because it helped break my heart (in a good way). It was so sad to see the loneliness felt by the volcano and his inability to communicate with the other volcano. His descent into the ocean made me tear up. However, Pixar being who they are, they took me to the saddest parts of my soul to bring me back up and give me the pay-off I was looking for. The volcano’s ascension back to the surface to meet the other volcano was a moment that nearly made me cheer in the theater. This was without a doubt a high point in Pixar’s short film career.
1. Geri’s Game
Geri’s Game holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first short I had ever seen, and I was blown away. I didn’t know you could even tell a story this quickly, nor did I think one could be as engaging as this was. Another reason it holds a special place in my heart is the fact that it introduced me to jazz. I always loved watching this short just to hear the music in the background. However, Geri’s Game isn’t only the best short because it means so much to me, but it is the true embodiment of what Pixar is. Pixar is all about the child inside of us and allowing that to come out. Geri’s Game is all about a single elderly man playing chess against himself. He is conniving and cheats and laughs and does all the things we would do as children when playing with one another. A Pixar short has always needed to remind me of this aspect of life, and Geri’s Game not only delivered on this message, but will always remind me of where I come from as well as where I’m headed. It tells you to remember to have fun, no matter where, when, how, or with whom. I can’t think of a more memorable, enjoyable, or pure message.
So that’s it folks. As always, let me know what you all think. What’s your favorite short? Do you remember seeing any of these for the first time? Did any impact you in a special way? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey and check out my website SlackerNerds.com where we talk all things nerdy! Thanks for reading everyone!