Part one of two – Our Pixar Shorts ranked
This is our Pixar shorts ranking. We’ve grown up loving their cinematic releases, but the original shorts often played before their features, can get overlooked. Many of these shorts have the passion and heart behind them that evokes memories from old Disney and Looney Tunes shorts shown before a film.
We’ve compiled a definitive ranking of all 20 of their original shorts, from worst to best. While shorts can featuring some of Pixar’s beloved characters like Mater and the Ghost Light and Mikes New Car can be hilarious, they’re not quite original enough for this list so we’ve excluded any featuring characters with their own feature-length films.
20. The Adventures of André & Wally B.
1984, shown with Toy Story
Unfortunately, not all of Pixar’s short films have aged the same, and their very first released short film might just be their worst. This is the first entry in our Pixar shorts ranking. While not awful in any sense, it really isn’t much of anything at all. A man, André, finds a bee and runs away. Unlike every other Pixar short well see on this list, this one lacks any kind of inventive concept or interesting storytelling. It might be neat as a novelty of where the animation studio began, but its age lands it at the bottom of the list.
19. Knick Knack
1989, shown with Finding Nemo
This one started the trend that a lot of Pixar short films end up falling into, and it seems the least original or inventive: Two otherwise inanimate Objects falling in love or trying to be together. While cute at first, it doesn’t feel as original as many of the other concepts get, and this one is probably the most simple of them all. The catchy music was written by Bobby McFerrin definitely makes it enjoyable to watch, but there’s not much more here.
18. Tin Toy
1988, a cameo in Toy Story 4
Another of the Disney subsidiary’s first animated short films, Tin Toy is the proto-Toy Story, as it was produced a good while before and the concept shows through. A toy being alive and trying to get the attention of its owner is charming enough, especially considering its age, but the real star of the show is that early-3d animation baby. Maybe the ugliest baby in animated movie history, it definitely steals the show and at least makes the short memorable.
2016, shown with Finding Dory
Playing before Finding Dory, it feels clear that Pixar wanted to make use of the ocean creature theme they already had going for this one. While definitely very cute, Piper doesn’t quite offer anything too memorable or notable compared to a lot of the other shorts in this ranking. An alright story and cute characters definitely make it feel easier to watch than some of the earlier shorts, but there’s just not much here you can’t see in a nature documentary.
16. The Blue Umbrella
2013, shown with Monsters University
This one is kind of difficult to position in our Pixar shorts ranking. On the one hand, it really is one of the most visually impressive Pixar shorts. The animation style feels almost photo-realistic, and the way the objects in the city move feels incredibly believable and charming for inanimate stoplights and vents. On the other though, this is one of the most boring animated shorts story-wise. The theme of two inanimate objects falling in love is at its most eye-rolling here, to the point where it feels like a commercial for an umbrella brand rather than a short film.
15. Luxo Jr.
1986, shown with Toy Story 2
This was the first time we really started to see original and charming concepts played within animation for Pixar. Not only are all the sound effects and characters in this short instantly recognizable, even to those who’ve never seen it before, but it introduces these odd concepts in a way that feels organic and really makes you feel like that baby lamp is just a cute little thing. It definitely feels like The Start of Pixar’s filmography over Andre & Wally B.
14. Reds Dream
One of the first shorts to really embrace creative and silly concepts in an incredibly earnest manner, Reds Dream is just a joy to watch and a really cute point on the timeline of these films. While again, as in Tin Toy, Pixar hadn’t quite mastered making humans look non-creepy, seeing the Unicycle have hopes and dreams of being a performer all on its own just warms your heart.
2003, shown with The Incredibles
Definitely one of the most different films out of the entire catalogue, Boundin feels somewhat out of place. If this was a Dreamworks or Illumination short film, it wouldn’t feel that way at all, but as a Pixar short, it definitely seems quite odd in its tone and setting. Still fun and cute, especially with its fun cryptid cameos, but that’s all it is.
12. For the Birds
2000, shown with Monsters, Inc.
This was the first time the animation in these shorts came up to par with the animation in Pixar’s features, and it shows in how the birds are all animated with their feathers fluffed up. Like many other middle of the road Pixar shorts, there’s not much to offer story-telling wise, just a cute simple story of birds with prejudice and their eventual comeuppance.
2014, shown with Inside Out
Another short of two inanimate objects falling in love, this one might just be the best of that shared idea, as the individual Volcanoes life cycles and geology come into play to bring these two together. While the lava pun might be a little cheesy, as is the story, it at least feels like a different point of view for these kinds of love stories, taking us away from the usual setting of cities and rooms into somewhere new and more visually interesting.
Read the final part of our list HERE.
Do you have a different opinion on Pixar shorts ranking so far? Do you agree or disagree with our list or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Jungle Cruise – Review
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt swing in with force in Disney’s new Jungle Cruise. And while the movie has fun callbacks to the Disney Park ride and a clever plot, if this movie is trying to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, it falls short. Here’s our review of Jungle Cruise.
SPOILERS: Warning there are spoilers ahead.
To be honest, I was expecting a much less creative plot from this movie. Following suit with typical adventure movies, I was expecting this film to be a less-funny version of the Jumanji reboot. But the plot has an unexpected emotional centre and a clever twist. And while the film suffers from CGI villain goopiness, it gives the CGI villains actual heart and motivations.
The film centres on Lilly (Emily Blunt), a botanist in search of a healing petal. The petal is said to be able to cure any illness and resides deep in the Amazon Rainforest. She is accompanied by her little brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall) and their hired skipper, Frank (Dwayne Johnson).
But a curse resides around the petal. Spanish conquistador Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez) and his crew went in search of the petal four hundred years ago. The petal can only be found with an arrowhead sacred to the Umbala or Headhunter tribe of the region. When Aguirre and his crew are on the brink of death, the Umbala tribe saves them. But Aguirre betrays them to get his hands on the arrowhead, and the chief of the Umbala tribe curses Aguirre and his party. They can never stray from the river, or the rainforest will take them. For four hundred years, they’ve lain dormant, having strayed too far from the banks of the river. They cannot die.
Now the arrowhead rests with a sexist scientific community. Lilly steals the arrowhead, just before it was set to be sold to Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons). Joachim works for the German government during the height of World War One. He believes that the petal will not only bring victory to Germany, but will make him a world ruler. (How he thinks it will do that is unclear).
As Lilly, McGregor, and Frank make their way down the Amazon in search of the Petal, Joachim follows and occasionally attacks them in his submarine. Deciding he needs more help, he wakes up Aguirre, now a monster of the Amazon, and his crew. Aguirre, who is now made out of snakes, and his two colleagues, one of which is made out of honey and bees and the other mud and tee frogs, are sent on Lilly’s trail.
What happens next is the usual adventure. White water rapids, a run-in with the Umbala tribe (who become allies), submarine fights, swinging on jungle vines; you name it.
But after a run-in with Aguirre, Lilly learns the truth about Frank. In a plot twist I absolutely did not see coming, it turns out that Frank is actually Francisco, Aguirre’s cartographer. We learn that Aguirre was not looking for the petal for glory or gold, but to save his deeply ill daughter. Aguirre and Francisco grew up together, and they were willing to do anything to save his daughter. But when Aguirre betrays the Umbala tribe, Francisco tries to stop Aguirre. Francisco was also cursed to be unable to leave the riverbank, but Aguirre kept returning to fight and defeat (stab) Francisco.
Tired of constantly getting stabbed, Francisco traps Aguirre in a cave. Letting the Amazon have him and turn him into the monster he is today. Francisco then built a town on the river banks, built a boat in search of the petal, gave up, and now runs river cruises.
While the plot is very complicated, it’s easy enough to follow while watching the film. I will say that the motivations of Joachim are a little hard to follow. But the plot twist with Frank was very clever. It gives a CGI-heavy Aguirre a human heart. Now all he wants to do is break the curse and be allowed to die. To do so he needs a petal. The plot in and of itself was much more clever than I expected.
Characters and performances
One character that pleasantly surprised me was McGregor. At first, I thought he was merely queer-coded. He definitely fell into some gay stereotypes, but I thought that was all it was going to be. A guy who was subtly a little queer. But, when Frank asks him why follows Lilly, even through a jungle, he gives a surprisingly candid answer. He explains to Frank that he is gay and that Lilly is the only one who supports him.
When the world turned his back on him, she stood with him, and for that, he would “follow her into a volcano.” This is the first time I can remember that a Disney character was very, clearly openly gay. Disney has had about a dozen “first gay characters,” but all of them have been off to the side. None of them has stated their sexuality or been open about it. McGregor not only states it outright but is not ashamed of it and it is not his only character trait. He becomes brave and capable and is a good friend to both Frank and Lilly. It was really surprising to see good representation from Disney in this film.
Emily Blunt also gives a wonderful performance (as she always does). She’s headstrong and stubborn, but kind. The sexism was a little on the nose, with a tired bit about how she wears pants, but she was delightful.
And Dwayne Johnson was… okay. He plays the exact same character in every movie he’s in. And while his performance was good in this movie, I can’t help but think that another actor could have done better. He and Emily Blunt have a romance in this movie, but they have absolutely no chemistry. It was hard to believe their romance. I think another actor could have added a little more to Frank’s character. Frank is an interesting character, and another actor could have done more with him. This movie might have been better without Dwayne Johnson.
This movie also might have been better without Joachim. His motivations were really hard to follow. At the end of the day, he was just another stereotype of a German general who only complicated the plot.
It feels as though Jungle Cruise might be Disney’s attempt to re-make the magic of Pirates of the Caribbean. But I can’t see this film becoming a franchise. The first Pirates movie is masterful, with amazing rewatchability. But Jungle Cruise, while fun, is forgettable. It’s not a movie I see myself rewatching anytime soon. If this is an attempt to create a new franchise for Disney; it falls short. But, the film was fun to watch and was a good movie theatre experience.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 5/10
Thank you for reading our review of Jungle Cruise. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our review of Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place Part Two HERE.
Read IMDB information about Jungle Cruise HERE.
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