Sometimes good things come in small packages — especially if you have the attention span of an 8-year-old hopped up on Gummi Bears. If anyone’s been able to make kids sit still over the past 20 years, though, it’s the computer-whiz confectioners at Pixar, whose string of hits — from 1995’s Toy Story to 2012’s Brave — have ushered in a second golden age of animation. Still, as any parent will tell you, little Billy or Susie can find Nemo only so many times before growing restless again. Thankfully, the good folks at Pixar have been salting away a stash of fresh, fun-size ‘toons for their latest grab bag, Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 (2012, 1 hr., 15 mins., G). The two-disc set comprises a dozen minifilms that range from pants-wettingly hilarious (the Ratatouille spin-off ”Your Friend the Rat”) to merely good (either of the two about the bucktoothed jalopy tow truck from Cars). Some are completely original with no ties to previous Pixar franchises (such as Presto, which pits a magician against his famished rabbit, who refuses to pop out of a hat until he’s fed), while others put familiar supporting players center stage (Ken and Barbie in the Toy Story riff Hawaiian Vacation). Actually, Barbie’s dim-bulb, beefcake beau is so awesomely oblivious, he deserves his own feature. Also worth mentioning are the set’s EXTRAS, which include the CalArts student films of Pixar’s A-list directors John Lasseter (Toy Story), Pete Docter (Up), and Andrew Stanton (WALL?E), who confesses in an intro to one of his crude shorts, ”I was one of the weaker animators in my group.” See, there’s still hope for little Billy or Susie yet. B+
PIXAR MAGIC A new collection of stellar short films will captivate animation lovers of all ages (Disney/Pixar)
Runtime (in minutes): 75; MPAA Rating: G
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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