Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 Movie Poster Image
Exceptional collection of animated shorts for whole family.
  • G
  • 2012
  • 75 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The bonus features include student films made by famous Pixar animators that will teach Pixar fans about how these world-class animators got their start.

Positive Messages

While the shorts are a bit brief to convey any life-changing messages, most of them stress the importance of friendship, family, love, loyalty, and bravery.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of Pixar's most beloved characters -- from Mater and Lightning McQueen to Buzz and Woody -- continue to show how brave and caring they are toward their friends (the toys even recreate a Hawaiian vacation for Ken and Barbie to enjoy). New characters, like the father and grandfather in "La Luna," are also examples of unconditional love.

Violence & Scariness

Mild cartoonish violence, like when in "George and A.J." the characters' van nearly crashes and they're nearly flattened. In "Your Friend the Rat," humans try to kill rats. A discarded (and recalled) value-meal toy keeps accidentally punching other toys in "Small Fry." In "Dug's Special Mission," a rock falls and lands on three dogs, trapping them.

Sexy Stuff

In "Small Fry," Barbie and Ken smooch briefly, while the Mini Buzz flirts with Jessie.

Language
Consumerism

The shorts include characters from Pixar films like WALL-E, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Up and Cars, all of which have lots of merchandise available to buy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pixar Short Films Volume 2 is a collection of 12 short animated movies made by the world's leading animators at Pixar. A few of the shorts will seem familiar to those who've seen Disney/Pixar films on the big screen, because they preceded full-length theatrical features. There is some mild cartoonish violence in a few of the shorts, but it's of the slapstick variety that is more humorous than upsetting (like when a rock nearly flattens the dogs in "Dug's Special Mission"). Although they're short, many of the films encourage the importance of unconditional friendship and loyalty.

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What's the story?

Pixar is following up their popular first collection of short films with another volume with 12 shorts. The stories range from spinoffs from familiar Pixar movies, like "Small Fry" and "Hawaiian Vacation," both of which take place in the post-Toy Story 3 universe; "George and A.J." and "Dug's Special Mission" follows secondary Up characters; and a couple of Mater's Tall Tales focus on beloved Cars character, Air Mater. There are new, more high-concept shorts as well, like "La Luna" that chronicles three generations who clean the moon and "Day and Night," about the personification of daytime and nighttime; while "Presto" tells the straightforward tale of a magician whose hungry rabbit turns the tables on him for the sake of a carrot.

Is it any good?

All 12 of the Pixar shorts are worth watching, from the avante garde-feeling "Day and Night" to the hilarity of the Toy Story shorts. One of the funniest is "George and A.J.," which shows what happens when other elderly folks figure out a way to propel their houses into the great beyond. By the end of the short, kids and parents alike will not be able to contain their laughter as the poor put-upon retirement home drivers deal with one last escaping resident.

The genius of the shorts is the brilliant little details, like the names of all the discarded kids' meal toys in "Small Fry" or the way the toys get together to create a perfect "Hawaiian Vacation" right in Bonnie's bedroom. With such fabulously crafted short films at less than six minutes a piece, it's probable families will want to rewatch a few of their favorites again and again.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether they prefer cartoons with talking animals, realistic ones with just animated people, or ones where inanimate objects are anthropomorphized. 

  • Did you like the short films based in a Pixar universe you already knew -- like Toy Story or Up -- or the completely original ones?

  • Which other Pixar movies do you think should have shorts dedicated to them?

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