In 1984 Pixar revolutionized animation with their creation of the computer-generated short film, The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. Not satisfied with turning the computer graphics world on its head, the dedicated geeks at the Pixar Studios blazed forth on a trail to create more realistic computer animation with increasingly engaging plots for their films. In the Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1 you will find 13 short films that garnered three Academy Awards® with a further five nominations, an interesting anthology of the evolution of computer animation. (Stacey Pendry)
Bonus features include the featurettes Pixar Shorts: A Short History (23 minutes) and the following snips from the children's TV show Sesame Street: Surprise (20 seconds), Light And Heavy (one minute), Up And Down (30 seconds), and Front And Back (41 seconds). There are also up-front ads.
As can be expected from a collection of computer-animated shorts spanning over a 23-year period, the anamorphically enhanced DVD (with various aspect ratios) has varying levels of picture quality. The earlier productions are a far cry from the incredible animation quality of the more recent films, but considering the type of computer equipment available in 1984, it is still remarkable. There is very little pixel breakup to be seen in any of the shorts, and colors seem to be faithfully reproduced. Black levels can vary between the different productions, ranging from inky to milky. Noise and edge enhancement are not problematic. The most recent films look fantastic, with good resolution, although there are times when the picture can look somewhat soft. Similarly, the H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc has varying levels of picture quality, ranging from relatively poor to superb. The most recent films show fantastic detail and apparent dimensionality, but even the most recent releases can show occasional posterization. (Danny Richelieu)
Again, as a collection of shorts spanning over two decades, the audio quality can vary between each short. Of the 13 shorts, five have Dolby® Digital 5.1 encodings, seven have Dolby Digital Surround EX 5.1 encodings, and one—the first short Pixar produced—has a Dolby Surround track. The majority of the discrete multichannel tracks have impressive mixes that really make good use of each available channel, including the LFE, which can be delivered at wall-rattling levels. Fidelity improves as the years—and production sophistication—increase, and each does a good of job driving the story. The Blu-ray Disc's encodings are very similar to the DVD's, although the Dolby Digital Surround EX encodings are now simply Dolby Digital. (Danny Richelieu)