Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc – mostly. Lava, The Blue Umbrella, and The Legend of Mor’du opt for 2.40:1, but they’re the sole exceptions.
This meant consistently strong visuals. Sharpness was always solid, as the shorts looked accurate and concise. Virtually no instances of softness marred these tight cartoons.
Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and no signs of edge haloes materialized. Of course, the computer-generated shorts lacked any source flaws.
Given the wide range of topics featured here, colors varied quite a lot. These ranged from natural to heavily stylized. Within the parameters at work, the hues looked great, though, as they always showed accurate tones.
Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and well-rendered. I expected quality visuals here and I got them.
I felt happy with the shorts’ DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio, as the soundfields varied but usually added to the shorts in a satisfying manner. More action-oriented pieces like Sanjay’s Super Team or Radiator Springs 500 ½ used the spectrum in the most active manner, but all of them featured wide, engaging material. The tracks flesh out the room and create a nice feeling of location and atmosphere.
Audio quality always worked fine. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Effects became accurate and vivid, with tight low-end. Music appeared bright and full, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic. The mixes suited the cartoons well.
Each short comes with its own audio commentary. Here’s who shows up:
Bao: Writer/director Domee Shi, producer Becky Neiman-Cobb and production designer Rona Liu.
Lou: Writer/director Dave Mullin, producer Dana Murray and editor Tony Greenberg.
Piper: Writer/director Alan Barillaro and editor Sarah Reimers.
Sanjay’s Super Team: Writer/director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle.
Riley’s First Date?: Writer/director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen.
Lava: Writer/director Jim Murphy and producer Andrea Warren.
The Radiator Springs 500 ½: Co-director Scott Morse and editor Torbin Bullock.
Party Central: Writer/director Kelsey Mann.
The Blue Umbrella: Writer/director Saschka Unseld, lighting supervisor Brian Boyd and supervising technical director Chris Burrows.
The Legend of Mor’du: Writer/director Brian Larsen and writer Steve Purcell.
Partysaurus Rex: Writer/director Mark Walsh.
Marine Life Interviews: Director Ross Haldane Stevenson and producer Bob Roath.
Miss Fritter’s Racing Skool: Writer/director Jim Murphy and producer Marc Sondheimer.
With little time available per short, the commentaries need to move quickly, and they do. The various participants usually cover the basics and give us tight, concise examinations of their work.
Of course, the quality of the commentaries varies. Nonetheless, most work nicely and offer good insights within the constraints of the shorts’ running times.
We also find Introductions for all 13 shorts. Each involves the respective cartoon’s director, though Piper also features composer Adrian Belew.
These last between 27 seconds (Radiator Springs) and one minute, 24 seconds (Rex). Unsurprisingly, they vary in quality, as some boast useful info and others say little more than “we worked hard – enjoy it”. Still, they’re all short enough to merit a look.
Making Bao brings a six-minute, two-second program with writer/director Domee Shi. She brings us some basics about the short and offers a decent synopsis of a few topics.
Another featurette, Caricature: A Horrible Way of Saying “I Love You” spans three minutes, 53 seconds and provides remarks from Shi, Cooley, assistant editor Ben Morris and director Ronnie Del Carmen.
They discuss the Pixar culture of caricaturing. It turns into a lively look at this topic.
The Blu-ray opens with an ad for Ralph Breaks the Internet.
A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Collection 3. This includes the intros and commentaries but lacks the two featurettes.
Both prior compilations offered a mix of good and meh, so expect that to continue with Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 3. Despite the inconsistency, we find plenty of enjoyable cartoons in this nice package. The Blu-ray boasts terrific picture quality as well as solid audio and some valuable bonus materials. This winds up as another fine set.