Unlike the PIXAR Theatrical Shorts which were made to accompany the feature length films when they were released to cinemas, the DVD Shorts were made to be bonus features on the DVD releases of those film. These were not about pushing the boundaries of animation but were instead about pushing the boundaries of their worldbuilding. Each one occurs within the world of a PIXAR motion picture and, occasionally, within the plot itself. With the release of the streaming service Disney+ it is unknown if they will continue to make these Feature-Related Shorts for DVD releases or for Disney+ directly, though I sense it may be the latter. That’s a real shame because they were always a highlight of DVD releases.
Mike’s New Car (2002)
I love this short because you get exactly what the title tells you you’re going to get. Having got rid of his old red sports car that Sully wouldn’t let him drive to work in Monster’s Inc, Mike has bought himself a new 6-wheeled automobile equipped with all the gizmos. Attempting to demonstrate the capabilities, Mike is beaten, battered and bruised by the vehicle in a slapstick-fest. Violence does the talking and it’s wonderful.
Jack-Jack Attack (2005)
My absolute favourite DVD Short that PIXAR has ever made and another vehicle for slapstick. It tells the tale of Kari’s eventful night babysitting young Jack-Jack Parr who has decided to suddenly explore his many superpowers. This was the first time pre-Incredibles 2 that we saw anywhere close to the full range of his capabilities like teleportation and laser eyes. I’ve always felt bad for poor Kari because babysitting can be hard as it is but she got a super baby but it is nice to get some closure on her part of the story. Also possible that the Mozart-Piano Sonata no. 11 in A Major sparked my interest in classical music.
Mr Incredible and Pals (2005)
This is the most absurd of these Shorts that you will ever lay your eyes upon. It’s an early 1960’s serial of the show Mr Incredible and Pals featuring Mr Incredible, Frozone and their bunny sidekick Mr Skipadoo as they fight the villainous Lady Lightbug. All the bad serial effects are here from still images of the landscape to the actors real mouths inserted over the characters’ to the blatant message of democracy. It is probably the dumbest thing that PIXAR has ever created and I love it with every ounce of my big, nerdy heart. I’d take a whole show.
Mater and the Ghostlight (2006)
I’ve made no secret about how I’m not the biggest fan of Mater so seeing him be the butt of the joke is kind of cathartic. After playing numerous pranks on the cars of Radiator Springs, they decide to get their own back by telling him the story of The Ghostlight and leaving him to traverse home in the dead of night by himself. When the Ghostlight finally appears, you know that this is also a prank but there’s a good message in here about receiving a taste of your own medicine.
Your Friend the Rat (2007)
Not content with Ratatouille being one of the finest PIXAR films there is, they decided that a fun history lesson was also necessary. Hosted by Remy and his brother Emille, we are taught the history of the rat from the Roman Empire, through the Black Death to today. This short is particularly interesting because of it’s combining of animation styles like 3D, 2D and even a musical number to close. At 11 minutes, it’s longer than usual byut not a second of that time is wasted.
Taking place during the events of Wall-E, a Basic Utility Repair Nano Engineer (BURN-E) attempts to repair a running light on The Axiom after it is hit by a meteorite (accidentally caused by Wall-E). Much like the movie it takes place during, there is no dialogue but it still manages to be compelling. You’ll really believe that this little robot is losing his mind and it’s really funny to re-watch Wall-E with this short in mind. I’m sure there’s a lesson about the Butterfly Effect in here somewhere.
Dug’s Special Mission (2009)
Taking place during the events near the beginning of Up, it shows how Dug came to be sat on the exact spot that would lead to him meeting Carl and Russell. Dug is probably the most likable character from Up and seeing him try his best at the behest of the other dogs just warms my heart, There is so much innocence to this character and this short adds even more sympathy to his backstory.
George and A.J. (2009)
The only one of these shorts to be animated in 2D and it prospers for it, giving it the look of a storybook. Shady Acres employees attempt to collect more people for the retirement home but must survive a pensioner uprising cause by Carl. It’s a really neat look at the ramifications of a story like Up, even if those ramifications are utterly bombastic and fantastical.
The Legend of Mor’du (2012)
Another one that does what is says on the tin. In case you wanted to hear the tragic tale of Mor’du the Bear from Brave it is told here through 2D animation and a glorious narration by Julie Walters. Is Julie Walters telling a fairytale enough motivation to watch this? I think so.
Party Central (2013)
A rare Short from PIXAR as it wasn’t attached to a PIXAR film and was only released on DVD as part of The PIXAR Shorts Collection: Volume 3. Instead, this short was attached to the Disney film Muppets: Most Wanted and features the frat of Oozma Kampa, after the events of Monsters Uni, as they attempt to throw the biggest party on campus. Just utterly ridiculous fun to be had here but is also notable as a posthumous role for the late, great Joe Ranft.
Riley’s First Date? (2015)
Following the events of Inside Out, this almost acts as a small sequel of sorts. Having closed out the film by speaking to a boy, we see how Riley’s parents react to him visiting the house to pick her up and it makes her parents look every bit as embarrassing as she already thinks they are. This is less about the emotions and more about the characters themselves, which is appreciated.
Marine Life Interviews (2016)
I grew up watching the Aaardman show Creature Comforts and it was all I could think about when watching this short, which is possibly the shortest of the shorts. It contains interviews with the animals who interacted with Dory during Finding Dory and paints her character in the most positive of lights. I particularly like that they made the footage look sepia-toned like an old-style documentary. I love attention to detail.
Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (2017)
If you weren’t aware of how badly acted/choreographed local television advertisements can be then there is a whole level of subtext here you are missing out on. This short is literally an advertisement for Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool, clearly organised by Miss Fritter herself and includes a few of her demolition derby friends. Seeing the homemade angle to this really brings back warm memories of my own time in front of a camera for school projects.
Auntie Edna (2018)
This is just Jack-Jack Attacks but with set during the course of Incredibles 2 with Edna Mode as the babysitter and I am more than okay with that. It is clear from this short that Jack-Jacks powers have multiplied and become more terrifying over time and it’s a little amusing to watch Edna – a superhero aficionado – struggle just as much as Kari did. I already loved Edna as a character but her relationship with Jack-Jack is really the icing on the cake. Shout out to the continued use of the Third Movement of the Mozart-Piano Sonata no. 11 in A Major.
Lamp Life (2020)
The first of these Shorts not to be released on DVD but instead to be uploaded to the streaming service Disney+. I’ve mentioned here because I think it’s worth noting as the service becomes bigger and contains more original content with each passing day. The story is that of Bo Peep, as she recounts her life between leaving Toy Story and Toy Story 4, which is a tale I think most of us were curios about and this short delivers. Special mention to Jim Hanks who continues to be the best Tom Hanks impersonator.
Until Next Time…