By Joe Clark, Sports Page Editor
Pixar is well known for having not only some of the best animated movies in history (and being a major driver for computer-generated animation) but also for having some pretty amazing shorts.
Here, I’ll be ranking the five best animated shorts, with one caveat — the short had to be attached to a theatrical release, which eliminates any SparkShorts or feature-related shorts.
Without further ado, here’s my personal ranking of the top five Pixar shorts.
5. “Partly Cloudy”
“Partly Cloudy” is a story about sticking with your friend when times get tough.
The stork becomes battered and bruised by his deliveries, but he’s good friends with the cloud, who feels bad that he can’t make anything as pretty as the other clouds, who make babies, puppies and kittens.
“Partly Cloudy” is ultimately about friendship, as the stork perseveres and adapts to keep helping out his friend. This short is heartwarming and funny at the same time.
4. “La Luna”
Directed by Enrico Casarosa, who also directed Luca, “La Luna” is thematically similar. Like Luca, “La Luna” centers on a boy trying to find his way in the world.
While his dad and grandfather bicker about everything from the way the boy wears his hat to how to sweep up the stars on the moon (where they work) he tries to emulate both of them. When a shooting star gets wedged in the moon, the two men can’t figure out how to get it out.
As they push and pull, the boy symbolically turns his hat backwards and climbs to the top of the star, hitting it with a hammer as hundreds of smaller stars flutter out from it.
It’s a story of independence and forging your own path with a beautiful setting off the coast of Italy. It’s definitely a fun watch.
3. “The Blue Umbrella”
“The Blue Umbrella” is a beautifully animated story of teamwork.
In a world of black and grey umbrellas, there’s one blue umbrella who becomes enamored with a red umbrella. When the people holding the umbrellas go in opposite directions, the blue umbrella fears it’ll never see the red umbrella again and forces its way out of the hands of the man carrying it.
Eventually though, with the help from a few friends including a living construction barrier and storm grate, the two umbrellas are reunited in a heartfelt ending.
A cute story about overcoming fear, “Piper” is about a sandpiper who struggles to get food when the waves come crashing to shore. After being caught under a wave, Piper is fearful of going back to the shore to gather food.
She shows her resilience when she copies a hermit crab digging in the sand to get its food, and gets more food than the rest of the flock. Piper then overcomes her fear of going in the water, realizing that the ocean isn’t as scary as she thought.
The animation is once again the highlight. It’s incredibly detailed and vibrant, with the sand and water really popping off the screen.
Inspired by the music of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, “Lava” is about a singing volcano just trying to find love.
As he gets older and older, he doesn’t think he ever will, but he continues to sing his song to find “someone to lava.” He eventually sinks under the ocean, defeated that his quest to find love was futile.
However, another volcano heard his song everyday, and when he went under the ocean she came up, and she sang his song. Upon hearing someone else sing his song, his lava was reignited and he rose back above the ocean, and the two volcanoes lived happily ever after.
Unlike most shorts, which feature instrumentals, “Lava” has a song throughout that’s incredibly peaceful and tells the story.
It inspired me to buy a ukulele, which should be enough evidence that it’s really freaking good.