It was back in November of 2018 that we first heard the rumors of a Disney-owned streaming service, and that day has finally come. Disney+ went live last month and Earheads everywhere rejoiced. The service includes some awesome content that I can't wait to check out, but the biggest surprise for me was finding the collection of Pixar shorts. As one of the most beloved parts of Disney animated features from Toy Story on, I was super excited to watch these beauties again.
Anyone whose seen these bite-sized films knows that there are three things all the best shorts have: an adorable main character, a moment that makes you cry, and a heart-warming lesson learned. Taking these three categories into consideration, I've decided to rank some of my favorite shorts which can be found on Disney+ now.
Here's how it works: Each short is ranked from 1-5 (5 being the highest) in my three categories, and the short with the most points will be crowned the ultimate mini movie. In order to capture all the best parts of a Pixar short, I've come up with the following categories:
"Pass the tissuesness"
"Warm and fuzzy feels"
"So-cute-I-could-squeeze-it-ability" (shortened to "squeezability")
If you've seen these shorts before and want to join me on this journey, let's dive in! If not, go check them out first since I will certainly spoil them for you.
This short condenses a multi-year journey about identity within a parent-child relationship into just a few minutes, and it's one that really touched me.
Warm and Fuzzy feels: 3
On the surface, you'd think a storyline like this where a parent ultimately decide to embrace the uniqueness of their child would invite more cozy feelings. However, the short spends a majority of its time depicting a very sad and realistic theme of parents not accepting their children for who they are. Ultimately, an important lesson is showcased but it seems to take the father in this story many years to finally get there and it depresses me. I can only give this a 3 out of 5 here.
The little boy in this story and all the perfect gaps in his teeth are just so darn cute. Specifically, the way he bounces up and down with excitement when him and his dad arrive at the gate of the park is the most adorable thing I've seen in a short. That one shot alone is enough to rate this a 4 for cuteness.
In total, Float comes off with a solid score of 11 out of 15.
A beautiful and strange story on parenting and children rebelling against their overbearing parents. The first time I saw this in theaters, it was instantly one of my favorites.
Pass the Tissues: 5
This short made my cry not once, but twice, which is quite impressive even for a naturally weepy fan like me. I first teared up as the mother disturbingly placed the little Bao in her mouth. As terrifying a thought as that was, her visible pain made my heart hurt, especially since it was a slow road to her feeling continuously betrayed by her son. The second round of tears came when the son, now in his non-edible form, comes through her bedroom door and they awkwardly, but lovingly, share some bao together. Definitely a maximum score of 5 for this category.
Warm and Fuzzy feels: 3
Director Domee Shi is able to paint a tragically truthful story of an entire childhood in just a few minutes. We are able to feel the struggle of the mother who wants her child safe, and also relate with a boy who desires the freedom to experience life. Both of these overarching themes do not give me any sort of warm feelings, they just make me hurt for both characters. My first instinct was to give this category a 1 or 2. However, the ending with the son's new wife helping his parents craft the bao and the pridefulness the characters exhibit creates enough of a good feeling to redeem its score into a 3.
If you think I'm being generous with this score just look at that little Bao's face. even as weird as you may find the fact that the mother has eaten her metaphorical child, you can't deny the cuteness of the artistry. Shi said she got the inspiration for the story when her own mother used to tell her "I wish I could put you back in my stomach so I knew where you were at all times!". So strange... but, regardless, this earns a 4 from me.
In total, Bao gets a final score of 12 and just edges out our first short. Let's see if either of our next two shorts can beat it!
Full disclosure: this is my favorite short of all time so I had to throw it in the mix. However, I have no idea how the scoring will turn out, and I'll will maintain my good sportsmanship even if it doesn't win (maybe).
Pass the Tissues: 1
As much as I absolutely adore this short, I have to say it does not make me reach for the tissue box. Mostly, I think it's because I'm so distracted by the adorableness of the sandpiper. Unfortunately I have to be fair and give it a score of 1 for this category.
Warm and Fuzzy feels: 5
Finally! A short that I can confidently say gives me all the good feels. Even though younger audiences (certainly not me) may get a bit sad seeing the little piper trembling with fear after she first gets knocked down by a large wave, viewers are quickly able to forget the sorrow once the mini crab comes into the picture. The unlikely hero helps the piper find her confidence to tackle the wave and embrace her newfound independence, all of which is nothing but heart-warming. This earns a perfect 5 from me!
Do I even need to write it? They made a hermit crab cuddly. Take all the points, Disney.
Even with perfect scores in the latter two categories, Piper gets a final score of 11 - which ties it with Float. I've got to say, I wasn't expecting that. We must push on to our last short!
A somewhat silly and magical story about a lost and found mash-up who sends an anti-bullying message to a bratty kid. Pixar brought another unsuspecting character to life... with a box of scraps!
Warm and Fuzzy feels: 4
Shorts that really leave an impact on me involve kids. Seeing a destructive and annoying child have a change of heart once he has a run-in with an imaginative hero is an incredibly cute and creative idea. And speaking of creative, the way the artists were able to create what seemed to be a living, breathing character out of a combination of inanimate objects was very cool. Even as you watch the bully chase poor Lou around the playground, it's an adorable scene. Four points for Gryffindor!
I'm always impressed with Pixar's ability to make an old jacket with kid sweat inside it so endearing. Though he's not an animal (my ultimate weakness in this category) and not a cute piece of food, Lou is an undeniably squeezable character. Those baseball eyes? C'mon. He's no Piper, but still earns a 3 from me.
In total, Lou gets a final score of 9. Honestly, I thought this short would earn more because of how big a fan I am of it, but the categories have spoken.
With all the scores calculated that means that our winner is.... Bao! I really thought it would be Piper based on my true love for that short, but I'm also not surprised by our result. Bao is the perfect short. It has a realistic and deep story that makes us think, coupled with a happy and heartening ending. Not only is the artwork beautiful, but the entire concept is outstanding and somewhat uncomfortable. The uneasiness of the short makes it all the more intriguing. The perfect blend to make a standout short.
Jump on Disney+ to check out Bao and all the other wonderful Pixar shorts. Old favorites such as Geri's Game and new SparkShorts such as Kitbull are all available. I've watched every single one currently on the platform, and I'll keep my eyes open to see if more will be added.