Part two of two – Pixar Shorts ranked
Here we go. We’re continuing our look at how these Pixar Shorts should be ranked. Pixar is an animation studio many of us have grown up loving and admiring. Their original shorts that often play before their features often get overlooked! That’s a huge shame because many of these shorts have some of the passion and heart behind them that many of us have been missing from old Disney teasers.
We’ve compiled our definitive ranking of all 20 of Pixar’s original shorts, from worst to best. While shorts featuring some of Pixar’s well-known characters like Mater and the Ghost Light and Mike’s New Car can be hilarious, they’re not original enough for this list.
You’ve probably read part-one, so, here’s the final part of our countdown.
10. Day & Night
2010, shown with Toy Story 3
While the two beings in this short don’t technically fall in love in this one, you do get similar feelings from this short. As the Day and Night feud over which one is truly better, coming together in acceptance at the end. What does elevate this short above the others though is a visual gimmick. Swapping between the same settings at different times of day does make for some really interesting and cute animation.
9. Geri’s Game
1997, shown with A Bug’s Life
The first animated short to be made after Toy Story had been released. Geri’s game is great based on its writing and visual comedy. The idea of a man playing chess with himself becomes something more and more absurd the further the short goes on. It culminates in an incredibly funny sequence that’s been stuck in the minds of everyone who saw it ever since it first released.
8. Partly Cloudy
2009, shown with Up
Adorable and full of heart Partly Cloudy does what Pixar does best. It gives a fun twist on an otherwise simple and timeless story: Where do babies come from? Especially the less cute ones? Endlessly rewatchable just for the cute baby animals alone. This short uses interesting storytelling and heartwarming writing to appeal to anyone. Bonus points for premiering in front of Up, preparing you for the emotional journey to come.
7. Sanjay’s Super Team
2015, shown with The Good Dinosaur
As Disneys pushes for greater diversity in their pitches and stories, one of the most charming recent results has been Sanjay’s Super Team. Giving a cool action superhero twist to classical Hindu beliefs. It does this in an exciting and action-packed manner. It shows some of the most dynamic and exciting action scenes from Pixar’s filmography. While still keeping the heart that makes a lot of their films so memorable.
6. One Man Band
2005, shown with Cars
This was probably one of the first genuinely interesting and engaging Pixar shorts in many memories. Taking the musical styles of old Disney animations and silly symphonies. One Man Band combines a funny and charming story with intense music that sticks in your memory long after the short is over.
5. La Luna
2011, shown with Brave
A very cute coming of age story, La Luna does what Pixar does at its best: heartwarming stories that take widely-held stories and give them a unique twist. Here, the phases of the moon being dictated by a family line of sweepers provide the perfect setting for a still-complex story. It’s about fathers and sons, showing how individuality can sometimes be the greatest gift of all.
2017, shown with Cars 3
Most people probably missed Lou, as it premiered ahead of Cars 3, a sequel to a series many passed on when it came around. Regardless, Lou provides a return to some charm as we continue to assess how Pixar shorts should be ranked. With a sweet story of a living Lost and Found trying to teach a playground bully a lesson. Visually interesting, the short uses a lot of great physical comedy to balance out its tender and heartfelt moments. Definitely worth a watch if you missed it the first time around.#
2006, shown with Ratatouille
One of the most extreme concepts of any of these Pixar shorts. Lifted stars an Alien taking a sort of driving test as he tries to abduct a human for the first time. As with a lot of the other best shorts on this list, this film manages to convey all its storytelling without the use of words. The animation works as part of both the comedy and the story to provide something that’s quite unique.
2008, shown with WALL-E
The funniest short of them all. Presto goes to some near Looney-Tunes level heights of comedy and ingenious storytelling. It doesn’t even need words to tell its story. A magical hat provides all the comedy necessary, and you’re sure to laugh out loud at some of the antics that result. Endlessly rewatchable, this short is perhaps the peak of Pixars comedic filmography.
2018, shown with Incredibles 2
If Presto was the peak of Pixars comedy, the Bao is the current peak of their emotional output. With just the visuals and animation alone, it tells a simple story. It’s about a mother coping with her only child leaving the nest. Trying to fill the void with a little Bao baby, only to find that all good things must always come to an end. It provides a similar twist as many other Pixar shorts, but it does something very powerful. It uses a metaphorical reality to show a real human truth underneath. If you haven’t rewatched it recently, it’s absolutely worth it, but be sure to keep a box of tissues handy.
That’s our list, we’ve ranked the Pixar shorts. As we’ve seen, Pixar has a vast array of short films and animations that can make us laugh, cry, and everything between. Its a shame so many have been overlooked for so long. If you have Disney+, it’s definitely worth going through all of them and picking your own favourites out of the list. Here at TheCultureCrossing.com, we hope to at least give you a place to start. They’re all a treat to watch and rewatch.
If you haven’t already you can check out the first part of this list HERE.
Do you have a different opinion on these rankings? Do you agree or disagree with our list or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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