Walt Disney Video
Available Nov. 6, List Price $29.99
The company began as the computer-research branch of Lucasfilm, becoming Pixar when Steve Jobs bought it. The geek-geniuses had made movies as far back as 1972 (Ed Catmull did a piece called Hand), but they wanted novel ways to demonstrate their software, so they hired John Lasseter, a young animator from Disney, to bring some form and humor to their experiments. The results were the first films Luxo Jr. in 1986, then Red's Dream, Tin Toy, Knick Knack to show the entertainment possibilities of computer animation. Within a decade of concocting these wonderful shorts, Lassetter produced Toy Story, which announced the arrival of feature CGI cartoons and, though it needn't have happened, the demise of hand-drawn animated films.
This collection of 13 Pixar shorts is delightful both in itself Ralph EgglestonŇs For the Birds and Bud LuckeyŇs Boundin' are special treats and as an informal history of CGI animation. Each of the auteurs donates a commentary to his film (except for Mike's New Car, where the comments are provided by two children of the directors), and there's an illuminating documentary to fill you in on the cybernetic side. It's a must-have set for everyone from toddlers to techies.