586. Red’s Dream – John Lasseter

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SUMMARY: A lonely unicycle in a bicycle shop dreams of better things.

WHY IT’S HERE: Following the breakthrough short ‘Luxo Jr.’ was never going to be an easy task and John Lasseter’s ‘Red’s Dream’ is not quite in the same league. As a big fan of Pixar, however, I’m always interested in their early development and ‘Red’s Dream’ has much to recommend it even as it falls short of the perfection of ‘Luxo Jr.’ Notably, ‘Red’s Dream’ continues to see Pixar excel at animating usually inanimate objects, with the little unicycle achieving real pathos as it longs for a life in the circus and finds itself condemned to loneliness in a bicycle shop. This effective emotional engagement would prove crucial to Pixar’s later successes. Unfortunately, ‘Red’s Dream’ also features a human character and at this stage in their development, realistic or even visually appealing humans were beyond Pixar’s reach. So the clown in this short is an awkward, angular grotesque who acquired the nickname Lumpy due to his hideous appearance. Pixar would continue to experiment with human character and would nail it eventually but Lumpy sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise delightful and tonally interesting short.

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