The Best and Worst of Pixar


Many regard Pixar as the best of the best when it comes to animated movies. But also seen before many first run movies is the underappreciated short subject. Very often these are also artistic masterpieces that are overshadowed by their longer more expensive movie competitors. But today I will rank all of the Pixar shorts to find out which is truly the best of the best. 


20. The Adventures of Andre & Wally B.

This was Pixar’s (though technically considered a Lucasfilms creation) first short made and released in 1984 it’s technically very held back by its time, but still very impressive for considering what they had to work with. The story of Andre going with a bee only to be stung by the bee is not the most compelling story Pixar has produced. 


19. Knick Knack

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A story of a snowman wanting to be with the other knick knacks but is confined in his snow globe is not the most earth shattering idea but it is very creative and fun to follow. However, it is pretty forgettable and when compared to the rest of Pixar’s catalog it’s pretty mediocre.


18. Red’s Dream

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Red’s Dream is a cute story about a unicycle’s dream of being a circus performer. However this story suffers from being too simple and uneventful, not to mention the freaky looking clown that takes up a large amount of the short. The short is very enjoyable and generally a good time to come before a movie, but not nearly as good as some of the choices further down this list. 


17. Luxo Jr.

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Luxo Jr. is a classic short film almost everyone remembers fondly. It is incredibly simple showing Luxo Jr. playing with toy beach balls. It is overall very simple but in the best way, being a cute classic and very funny. But it does not have the emotional significance of many other shorts.


16. Tin Toy

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This follows the story of a toy who wants to be played with, but the child is incredibly clumsy, scaring him. He later attempts to cheer the child up when he is crying, but is ignored. The story is simple but the animation and music are first rate. It set a new standard for future Pixar shorts.

15. Lifted

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A classic visual comedic short that shows an alien struggling to probe a human. It features the alien being judged on his performance and he fails. It’s a classic display of well done physical comedy and is one of the few shorts that is genuinely funny. Overall it is a strong short but mostly unmemorable. 

14. Boundin’

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A mostly unmemorable but solid short. It follows a sheep who loses his wool and is a good story about coming back from hard times. Overall an encouraging, short with a good message. 


13. One Man Band

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A musical masterpiece for story telling, One Man Band follows two musicians trying to get a tip from a pedestrian. They battle to outdo each other but both end up failing. The writers used music creatively to create emotion and drama while having a quick pace making the short exciting. However, the story is mostly forgettable. 


12. Lava

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This story follows a lonely volcano who eventually meets another volcano to be with. This short is very cute and feels good. It has incredible animation, intense emotion and great music making it very enjoyable. But it is a very played out trope and I expect more creativity from Pixar. After this short Pixar really picked up more emotionally significant shorts.


11. The Blue Umbrella 

Blue Umbrella Pixar short

An incredible use of color and quick storytelling. A man and a woman in a black and white world with the only colorful umbrellas meeting after many things get in the way. This short utilizes color unlike any other short before it placing emphasis on the two characters. This story does lack emotional significance but makes up for it in purely excellent visual storytelling. 


10. Geri’s Game

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One of the most memorable Pixar shorts ever made, Geri’s Game follows an old man playing a very exciting game of chess by himself. Using excellent camera work to make it look like there are two players while it’s really just him. This short is remembered by everyone who watches it, so it’s no surprise that it won an Oscar. 


9. For the Birds

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A cute funny story that uses clever cuts to its benefit and making a funny story, also has a nice anti bullying message as the little birds picking on the big bird end up losing in the end. A solid short with a good message and good humor. 


8. Bao 

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A story of an overprotective mother having to let her son grow up despite her not wanting him to. He is first represented as a baozi but this is only an allegory representing her real son. This short tells an excellent tight story that children must grow up and eventually leave their parents. Incredible direction, animation, and music all help this short be great. 


7. Lou

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An incredible story of a bully recapturing what it was like before he was a bully. Lou, a creature made of lost toys, wants to return lost toys to their owners. But the bully steals them from the lost and found. Lou shows the bully a lost toy someone took from him, and after he agrees to return the toys, he makes friends along the way. The great story along with the fast pace of this short is what makes it great. 


6. Piper

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Piper follows a bird who fails to get food from the beach and is swept into the water where it is terrified. Piper then learns to find beauty in the water and learns to find food in it. Piper is a very simple but encouraging story about getting over your fears. And this is one of the most beautiful shorts ever made, the animation is stunning. 


5. Sanjay’s Super Team

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One of the most creative animation styles used by Pixar to date, Sanjay’s Super Team is a very deep story with a good message. The son and father are originally annoyed by each other, the father annoyed by the son’s tv show and the son annoyed by the father’s prayer. But after Sanjay learns his heroes are not far off from the Gods his dad is praying to, they find common ground and bond.


4. Presto

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Presto a magician and Alec Azzam his rabbit, have a magic show. But the rabbit is not happy with Presto since he did not feed him. The rabbit sabotages the show in every way he can until the magician is in danger and the rabbit saves him. Not a particularly deep story but the original orchestral composition along with incredible humor makes it one of the most enjoyable shorts Pixar has produced. 


3. La Luna 

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This short follows a boy, his father and grandfather. They give him a hat that they each wear, a large moment for the boy, and they argue over how he should wear it. They climb to the moon to clean it as they usually do and the father and grandfather argue over which broom he should use. The boy puts his hat on backwards and uses a rake. This shows that he isn’t his father or his grandfather but his own person. This short has beautiful animation and an incredible story making it one of the best shorts Pixar has made yet.


2. Partly Cloudy

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Partly Cloudy is about clouds which make babies and other animals to be delivered by storks. Most of the clouds make baby humans but Gus the main character creates porcupines, crocodiles, etc. He is upset by only making “unlikeable” animals but once he sees that his stork is enthusiastic to deliver them and other clouds help deliver them safely, he is cheered up. This short teaches that no matter how unimportant  you feel doing something, so long as you have others to help, it will be ok. 

1. Day and Night

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This story is about the beauty of opposites. Day and Night first meet and don’t like each other, because they are different. But as they see that each of them has their own distinct beauty they grow to like each other. At the end the sun sets and the moon rises and they appear identical, day and night are one; opposites but forever similar. This short combines a beautiful narrative with incredible creative animation and a great score to create one of the best short stories ever created.