We think Pixar and we automatically think of their big name properties: Toy Story. Finding Nemo. Monsters, Inc. How often do we talk about their short films?
I would argue their short films involve a more honed form of art: story-telling through animation, for the most part, sans dialogue. Somehow, it can be done.
Take “Presto,” for example. It tells the story of a magician’s rabbit. Poor little guy. All he wants is a carrot to eat, but his master’s ego means he thinks more about the success of their stage show than about his partner’s natural impulses. The film explores themes of friendship and social class. All in 5 minutes, and all without a single word of dialogue. To describe the on-stage antics would be a disservice to the film, but suffice to say, it must be seen to be believed.
Another film, “For the Birds,” tells an entire story on a telephone line, when multiple birds attempt to perch on top. Somehow Pixar creates characters without dialogue, relying on facial expressions and body movements in the animation.
Pixar’s short films are always thought-provoking, and always hysterically funny. They remind us that art comes in many forms, even in the five minutes before a family film.