DVD LET­TER­BOX

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - MICHAEL BODEY

THE Pixar la­bel is far more than one of the world’s most as­sured en­ter­tain­ment brands. It is also a par­ent’s best friend. How many houses are laden with the films of Pixar, the Cal­i­for­nian com­puter an­i­ma­tion com­pany be­hind Mon­sters Inc , Find­ing Nemo and The In­cred­i­bles ? Those films are the cheap­est babysit­ter — er, ed­u­ca­tional en­ter­tain­ment — that a par­ent can find. Al­ready, my house­hold’s two- year- old au­teur is en­rap­tured by the DVD sleeve of ‘‘ Toy Stor­wee’’, and he’s only seen excerpts of the film, with­out the sound. The ba­sic eco­nomic the­ory of sup­ply and de­mand em­pha­sises the strength of the la­bel’s ap­peal to fam­i­lies: you can never find a dis­counted Pixar DVD any­where.

Nor would you have been able to find any mean­ing­ful pack­age of Pixar films be­yond the eight- disc The Ul­ti­mate Pixar Col­lec­tion in 2005. That set had two prob­lems. First, it con­tained only four films from the Pixar canon, and the best of the canon, the Toy Story films, weren’t among them. Sec­ond, the box set was as dif­fi­cult to find as Nemo. One thing Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios hasn’t done with its an­i­mated DVD re­leases is flood the mar­ket.

Re­lief is at hand with the up­com­ing re­lease of two Pixar DVD col­lec­tions. On De­cem­ber 5, the Dis­ney Pixar Ul­ti­mate Col­lec­tion will be launched. It in­cludes all seven an­i­mated Pixar fea­tures: Toy Story , Mon­sters Inc , Toy Story 2 , A Bug’s Life , Find­ing Nemo, The In­cred­i­bles and Cars . There is only one medi­ocre film among them, which makes the ap­peal of Cars mer­chan­dise to chil­dren even more in­fu­ri­at­ing for par­ents. This col­lec­tion is $ 149 worth of an­i­mated good­ness that ar­guably will be of lim­ited ap­peal to fam­i­lies be­cause many of the films would have been pur­chased in­di­vid­u­ally al­ready. Of course, the col­lec­tion will be­come sort of re­dun­dant in Jan­uary with the re­lease of Pixar’s latest film, Rata­touille , but what the hell.

The box set also in­cludes some of the Pixar short films, which are avail­able in the Pixar Short Films Col­lec­tion, Vol­ume 1 that was re­leased this week. Not only is it an­other sub­lime dis­trac­tion for par­ents, it’s a ter­rific primer on Pixar’s pro­gres­sion for any film buff. The Pixar shorts have been just as pro­gres­sive and en­ter­tain­ing as the fea­tures, one of their main at­trac­tions be­ing their rel­a­tive free­dom. They have been ex­per­i­ments in sto­ry­telling and in re­search and de­vel­op­ment. And to jaded Pixar watch­ers, if there are such beasts, the shorts are free of the odyssean story tem­plate that fu­els their fea­tures. You know the drill: lov­able pro­tag­o­nist loses friend or fam­ily and ven­tures off into un­known sur­round­ings to find them and learn about life.

They are a de­light­ful bunch of short films to watch even if you have seen some of them be­fore. To­gether, they dis­play a won­der­ful con­tin­uum, one that is en­hanced if you first watch the be­hind- the- scenes fea­ture about the early days of ex­plo­ration and frus­tra­tion at Pixar in the late 1980s as it mor­phed from a high- end com­puter sup­ply com­pany into an en­ter­tain­ment en­tity. It will colour your view­ing, par­tic­u­larly if watch­ing the shorts with the di­rec­tor com­men­taries. Pixar films are so much more than tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments, though. Just ask your kids.

* * * DISC WATCH: The Comic Strip Presents ( ninedisc box set), Mad­man, MA15+, $ 69.95. The first television out­ing of Rik May­all, Jen­nifer Saun­ders and pals is an er­ratic comic of­fer­ing. Very, very funny TV par­ody from the ’ 80s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.