HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Walt Disney Studios Short Film Collection
HTS Overall Score:86
Shorts have been a big part of the Disney and Pixar legacy since way before the two companies were under the same banner. Disney started it years and years ago, but Pixar perfected it into a treasured part of each and every animated film they do. In recent years Disney has really stepped up their game and created some fantastic shorts that rival their old competitor, now ally in the animated industry. Some of them are sweet, some of them heart wrenchingly sad, and even more of them are just plain downright hysterical. While most Disney movies are kid’s movies at heart with enough wit, charm and intelligence for adults, the shorts are almost PRIMARILY for the adults. Some of the material is a LOT darker than most children will want, and full of some incredible life lessons that is relevant to even the oldest of us. In this collection of short films, Disney has packed their 12 main ones into one collection with introductions about each and every title by their respective film makers.
1. John Henry. Disney’s first major major short was created in the year 2000, with traditional hand drawn animation and tells the tale of one of America’s greatest folk legends. John Henry vs. the steam drill, where John Henry, a freed slave, battles a greedy corporation and their steam powered drill in a contest that will give hope and freedom to even more people.
2. Lorenzo is one of the darkest of the shorts, with a fat cat (literally) atop his throne of comfort. Ridiculing and teasing the hungry alley cats with his riches, he is finally curse by a mystical cat with no tail. Giving Lorenzo’s tail life, this cat sets in motion a series of tortures that has the fat cat desperately trying to get rid of his appendage. As I mentioned before, this one is DARK, with Lorenzo going as far as trying to drown his tail, run it over with a train and other such various forms of death and dismemberment in his efforts to free himself of it. The ending is a bit bittersweet, and played off as a stage production, but it most certainly is meant for adults.
3. The Little Matchgirl. If “The Little Matchgirl” doesn’t make you sob till you can’t cray any more, then you literally have no soul. Based off of the Hans Christian Anderson short of the same name, it was adapted by Disney to tell the tale of a poor, starving girl in old Russia trying to make ends meet by selling matches to strangers. Not being able to sell a single one she is forced to take refuge in an archway where she is faced with freezing to death in the harsh winter. Striking each match in succession the hot flame fuels her imagination where she is transported to a warm house, a table well set, and a comfortable sleigh that takes her to her dead grandmother’s house where she remembers the joys and comforts of old. As each match is struck it becomes obvious what the ending will be, but the poor girl strikes each consecutive match in an effort to bring herself back to those magical comforts that she wishes for. The ending is the most heart breaking of all the shorts in this collection, and while bittersweet at the end, it WILL leave you in tears.
4. How To Hook Up Your Home Theater is a hysterically funny short featuring Goofy trying to set up a home theater system for the big game. For all of you home theater nuts like myself, this one had me in stitches as it very tongue in cheek makes fun of all the Riga moral that we go through to get the perfect setup. The billion different speakers, the spaghetti pile of cables, 18,000 different remotes and the 14 years it takes us to set up the speakers, TV, calibration and the works JUST to watch a simple game.
5. Tick Tock Tale is short and sweet, mainly teaching us that no matter how offbeat or different a person is, they still have value. A little clock is stuck in a clock maker’s window at 75% because he’s just a tad slow to tell the time. The clock’s little antics among the other clocks don’t leave it in the best of graces, but once a robber breaks in and trashes the store, stealing all the fancy clocks, one learns that no repair is too small for something (or someone).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51610[/img]6. Prep and Landing – Operation Secret Santa is the weakest of the shorts, but it’s a pretty solid adventure. Lanny and Wayne, elves of Santa’s, are given a secret mission by Mrs. Clause. This mission is to slip into Santa’s workshop and steal a mysterious box that he’s got hidden away for years. The elves have to do so WITHOUT waking up the jolly old man, and get back to Mrs. Clause intact.
7. The Ballad of Nessie is simplistic, and much more a child’s tale than the rest of the group. Nessie is happy as a clam in her little pond, but along comes an unscrupulous businessman who dries up her pond to build a putt putt golf course, forcing Nessie to make a move. No matter how hard she tries, poor Nessie is just left out in the cold, with nowhere to go. Finally, at her wits end, the kind hearted beast is given an opportunity for happiness, even though it comes after all her tears and emotions are spent (the moral of the story being that sometimes the best things in life come after times of great sorrow).
8. Tangled Ever After. I can’t tell you how much I love Max the horse. “Tangled” was one of my favorite modern Disney tales, and Max easily the best sidekick. It’s been a couple years since our heroine got her hair chopped off and defeated the evil witch, and now it’s time for wedding bells to chime for her and Eugene. The day is here, the setting is perfect and Max is the ring bearer. Through and unfortunate accident, Max and Pascal LOSE the rings and are forced to go through hell and high water to get them back, even if it means nearly destroying the wedding.
9. Paperman was simple little short in front of “Wreck-it Ralph” and won best animated short in 2012. It features a simple accountant looking for the love of his life, a sweet little thing who escaped his grasp on the train station. Making a fleet of paper airplanes to catch her attention once more when he spies the beautiful girl across the street from his work, he tries vainly to flag her down. However, this paper airplanes have a mind of their own and do their very best to bring the two love birds together, with a little bit of magic.
10. Get A Horse was the animated short just before “Frozen” last year, and features Mickey, Pistol Pete and crew to break through the animated screen and watch themselves perform a classic 1920’s sketch act. It’s not my personal favorite of the bunch, but the classic animation and old characters is wonderful to watch, especially for us adults who grew up with them.
11. Feast… Now we’ve come to my favorite short of the batch. “Feast” was the latest short and attached to “Big Hero 6” earlier this year and makes the dog lover in me squeal with glee. A young pup is rescued by a kind hearted man and given a new life. One that is rife with new tasty treats. As most people know, there are two types of dogs in this world. Those who eat to live, and those who live to eat (one of the reasons why pet obesity can be so overwhelming). This dog is very obviously the latter, gulping down every bit of dogfood like it’s the best thing in the world. Soon he’s introduced to the incredible world that is people food, from Pizza, meatballs and everything in between. This wonderful tale of friendship and food lust comes to an end when the owner becomes attached to a female of HIS species. One who happens to be a vegetarian. Thus ends the incredible feeding times for our poor puppy. Having to put up with nothing but vegetables or his own dog food, our furry friend sadly watches from the corner until one day his master and said girlfriend breaks up, which unleashes all those tasty treats for the happy puppy once more. Only problem is, his master is eating himself into oblivion out of sheer misery, which leaves our hero to do the unthinkable, give up his own happiness to somehow mend the bridges that have been burned between the two people (or does he give up said tasty treats)?
12. Frozen Fever was created for the live action “Cinderella” film earlier this year, and plays out more like a traditional short MOVIE rather than the obscure shorts that the rest adhere to. Its Anna’s birthday and Elsa (along with the rest of the cast) are trying their best to make it a perfect day. The only problem is that Elsa has a cold and is sneezing tiny snowmen which are doing their best to wreak havoc on the celebrations.
Rated G: For General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51618[/img]This is Disney, do I really need to go into any more detail? The video encode for all 12 animated shorts is pretty much flawless, with each particular short and animation style given plenty of breathing room on the disc, which lends itself to pristine image quality. The old hand drawn animation of “John Henry” goes hand in hand with the crystal clear digital animation of “Tangled Ever After” and “Frozen Fever”, with razor sharp lines and incredible detail. The colors are incredible, with rich reds and luscious blues and whites in “Frozen Fever” while the pastel colorings of “The Ballad of Nessie” and “John Henry” strike a chord for those of us who grew up BEFORE digital animation became the thing. Black levels are deep and inky, with excellent contrasts and NO artifacting to my eye. In short, a perfect picture
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51626[/img]All 12 shorts are given a fantastic sounding 5.1 DTS-HD MA track in English, all of them which sound great regardless of their particular sound design. John Henry’s hammer ringing out is powerful and full of LFE, while the signing in “Frozen Fever” fills out the surrounds with amazing results. Some of them, like “The Little Matchgirl” are dead silent except for the addition of horse’s hooves and sleigh bells in the background, or the miserable whipping of the cold icy wind. Happy laughter and the pitter patter of puppy feet come through with incredible fidelity and the surrounds are almost constantly active with some sort of ambient noise. LFE stays strong throughout, with some shorts showing more of it than others, but all in all, each short has its own unique sound to it, and they all sound respectively fantastic. While all 12 shorts carry a 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track, 7 of the 12 shorts ("How to Hook Up Your Home Theater", "Operation secret Santa", "The Ballad of Nessie", "Tangled Ever After", "Get A Horse!", "Feast", and "Frozen Fever") also contain Spanish, French, and Portuguese audio encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1.
• @DisneyAnimation: The Short Story About Shorts
• Introductions By the Filmmakers
The Disney shorts are one of my favorite parts of every Disney movie, usually causing me to snuffle in the theater and immediately look around to make sure no one noticed that a 35 year old male is crying while all the other people are just watching. This collection of shorts is a collection of pretty much every major short that Disney has ever done, and while there are a few ones that are just "good" instead of "great", they all are well worth the watch. If you have every Disney disc known to man, then this may not not be wildly necessary to own, but it IS handy to have all the shorts in one place instead of needing to remember WHICH disc had WHICH short on it and then rummaging around to pull that particular one out. There's something to be said for simplicity. The audio and video score is about as perfect as Disney can make it, which makes this a definite watch or buy in my opinion. Highly recommended.
Directed by: Mark Wenn, Mike Gabriel, Roger Allers, Dean Wellins and More
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: Mandarin: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th 2015
Buy Walt Disney Studios Short Film Collection On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
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