My Review of Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Last night while scrolling through Netflix for something to watch I came across this fascinating movie focusing on twelve Disney short films. Some are old, some are new, some involve characters you know and love while others feature fresh stories with never-before-seen heroes and heroines. As I sat entranced with these various movies for over an hour I couldn’t wait to share my experience with you. And now that time has arrived. I’m going to individually review each short and at the end, I will share which three shorts ended up being my favorite. Enjoy!

“John Henry”

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The first short film was about the inspiring tale of John Henry, a former slave turned West Virginia hero who singlehandedly built a railroad and thus the blissful freedom of his hardworking, blue-collar compatriots. While I thought the story was really good and I enjoyed the music it felt borderline racist if I’m being honest.

As the only short film that focused on people of color John Henry’s story of triumph was shortlived as the conclusion saw him literally work himself to death. It was jarring and a harsh reminder of a time when, as a black woman in America, I would’ve been forced to perform hard, arduous work ’till the point of my ultimate demise, whether that death would be caused by exhaustion, childbirth, or by the hands of those wanting to inflict harm upon me.

To make matters even worse, the short film was not created nor given a thumbs up by an African-American, making the message of hope and inspiration they may have tried to convey a bit confusing.

“Lorenzo”

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One word sums up this short film; disturbing. It’s about an overweight cat whose greed has consumed him to the point that he’s nothing more than a fat, gluttonous cat who eats in the face of his starving brethren. Then comes along a black cat with a stub of a tail. He laughs at the black cat but the black cat has something else in mind. He hexes the greedy cat, turning his gigantic tail into a living being that haunts Lorenzo for every second of the day. He tries all he can to kill the evil tail but he can’t and so the black cat returns with some shears and he cuts the tail off.

I just found this short film to be very, very disturbing. The animation was dark and twisted, the story of greed was concise but haunting, it really was…something else.

“Little Match Girl”

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This short film was truly, truly devastating. It’s about a little girl orphan in Europe during the freezing winter. She has a box of matches and is trying to sell them but no one buys any. In the freezing alley in the midst of a snowstorm, she sits down to try to rest. But remember, it’s freezing so she begins to use the matches.

With each match her imagination becomes reality and she is surrounded by warmth and the perfect life that she so desperately wants. When all of the matches run out the little matchgirl goes to sleep…never to wake again. But an angel comes to get her to take her to the place she longs for; heaven.

It was so sad I couldn’t even cry but my insides were like this: 😭😭😭😭😭

Despite the obvious fact that the short film was tragic it was quite beautiful, paired with a melodic yet morose score that only plucked at the heartstrings.

“How To Hook Up Your Home Theater”

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After three short films that left me feeling so-so at their conclusions this short, featuring everyone’s favorite goofy Disney character, Goofy, brought my spirits right up to a solid ten. You see, Goofy is preparing for the big football game and he wants to enjoy it in the best way possible. The film basically picks on society and how nuts we can be over wanting the best television, the best speakers, the best everything when it comes to our home entertainment.

I could not stop laughing at this truly hilarious and brilliant short film. I love Goofy.

“Tick Tock Tale”

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Oh my goodness, this short film was sooo good. It highlights a clock that has an annoying chime in a clock shop. All of his fellow clocks don’t like him and the clock feels ashamed. He tries to destroy the little man who does the annoying sequence that has all of the clocks picking on him and despising him but he can’t.

At his lowest point, a burglar arrives in the clock shop to steal some clocks. The ugly-duckling clock sees the thievery and has to do something about it. He runs after the burglar, makes a whole lot of noise to draw a nearby policeman’s attention, but as the burglar sees him he stomps on him, practically killing the clock.

The clock shop owner returns the rescued clocks back to their spots but throws the destroyed clock in the trash. The other clocks write a secret note to the owner, urging the owner to fix the clock.

As the repaired hero clock settles in on a shelf between two clocks who once bullied him he prepares for the worst. Instead, every clock in the shop praised him and was so happy to hear his formerly annoying chime. And that’s how it ended.

It was so sweet it made me cry. Dang it, Disney.

“Operation Secret Santa”

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This was a simple short film about two elves sent on a secret mission to retrieve an object from Santa’s office without him knowing it. There was nothing fancy, nothing tragic, it was engaging, but I was glad when it was over.

“The Ballad of Bessie”

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Ever since I was little I have LOVED rhyming stories, making this short film an absolute blast to watch. From sad to triumphant this film left me with a huge smile on my face.

“Tangled Ever After”

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Tangled is one of my sister and I’s favorite Disney films so to see a short film focusing on the characters within this movie was truly wonderful. You see, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are getting married and the horse and Rapunzel’s chameleon are tasked with bearing the rings. But after losing the rings they embark on a hilarious quest to recover the rings in a slapstick fashion.

This short made me laugh from beginning to end and it reminded me how much I love Tangled. Such a great film.

“Paperman”

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Paperman is only the second Oscar-winning short in this collection and it truly deserves it. It focuses on a young man working a typical job behind a desk. Going to work with a stack of papers in his arms a breeze blows the paper directly into the woman’s face standing beside him. He sees her with her distinct red lipstick against the black and white surroundings and he immediately falls in love with her.

I’ll stop the description because it’s so good I want you to enjoy it for yourself. The animation is simply stunning in its preciseness and engaging manner, the story was simple but incredibly heartwarming, and the music was superbly crafted for the film. By the short’s conclusion, I felt clapping with happiness. It was a beautiful, beautiful Disney movie.

“Get a Horse”

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Classically riveting, this short highlights many of the famous Disney characters of old but in both black and white and color, adding an extra dimension to these classic characters. Fun, concise, and filled with laughable mischief, this short is a blast for those of all ages.

“Feast”

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This is the second short to win an Oscar and once again, I see why. It tells the story of a cute dog who goes from being on the street and eating scraps that he can find to living with a man who feeds him everything he could’ve ever wanted; from pizza and hamburgers to spaghetti and meatballs. The dog is in paradise until the man meets a woman who he falls in love with. Gone are the lavish feasts replaced by normal dog food and the dog is upset.

He wants the old times back when he could feast on the best food and his wish comes true. As the man’s girlfriend leaves the man becomes depressed and starts eating away his sorrow. For the man, the story turns tragic but for the dog, his dream has been realized. Once again the dog eats like a king but then one day he runs into something that reminds him of the woman his master lost and he goes to find her. In the end, the dog brings the man and woman back together, they marry, have children, and the children are now the ones who give the dog all the food he could ever want.

You see, this short harps on the idea that it’s better to think about others than yourself and as the hero of the story, the dog, lost his self-interest he was able to save a man who probably would’ve eaten himself into a slow but imminent death due to heartbreak. And the reciprocation of such a kind act ended up rewarding the dog anyway proving that kindness is greater than selfishness any day.

It was a beautiful message.

“Frozen Fever”

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And last but not least, the final short belonged to Frozen‘s Anna and Elsa which was a blast to watch. The story revolves around the fact that it is Anna’s birthday and her sister, Queen Elsa, wants to give her the best birthday ever. Kristoff, Olaf, and of course, the moose Sven return to act as co-stars to this fun, comedic look at a slice of the life for Princess Anna and Queen Elsa.

The short features a brand new song which pales in comparison to the ones for Frozen but it was still good. Elsa, who had a cold, would sneeze and her sneezes created miniature snowmen. Oh my goodness, it was hilarious.

And, because Anna’s birthday is in the spring, she and Elsa got two stunning new dresses to gawk over.

It was clearly an enjoyable short film.

My Conclusion of the Shorts

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While all of the shorts were very enjoyable it was clear which ones were my favorite.

  1. “Paperman”
  2. “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”
  3. “Tangled Ever After”

They were all, however, very entertaining and worth the watch. I especially that between each short film there was an introduction from the people who helped create the individual shorts who then explained what inspiration and why they created each short. It was truly fascinating.

Now, while these shorts are created for children some of the shorts may have adult themes and can be a bit disturbing for little ones but hey, we’ve all been there. I still remember the trauma I felt after watching Bambi as a child. I haven’t watched the film since. Or Bridge of Terebithia for that matter. Just…be careful with the more tragic shorts films. They can be quite a doozy.

If you’re interested in seeing this movie you can currently watch Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection on Netflix.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

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