Presto and Glago’s Guest

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Was privileged to see two new CG shorts last week: Disney Animation’s Glago’s Guest and Pixar’s Presto. Both films couldn’t be more different, yet both succeed in accomplishing their modest goals with style to spare.

Glago’s Guest is the second film from Disney’s new shorts unit, established by John Lasseter when hne took over the studio. The sole intent of producing new shorts at Disney is to experiment with style, test new techniques, and to develop new directors. Chris Williams was a story artist at Disney (Mulan, etc.) for fourteen years. His original tale of a Russian soldier stationed in a remote Siberian outpost is so far removed from what a Disney cartoon has been, it’s just what the staff needed to flex their muscles. To tell you what happens, or who his guests are, would ruin the experience – but the short is layered in luscious detail, and filled with more heart than most features ten times its length. It’s being released in 3-D on November 26th with Disney’s Bolt and it looks incredible in that format.

Pixar’s Presto is as perfect as any homage to classic Hollywood cartoons could be – especially with it’s opening title tribute to Disney shorts (against burlap) and MGM cartoons (note the type style). The story is a mash up of UPA’s Magic Fluke (1949), Avery’s Magical Maestro (1952), and Jones’ Case of the Missing Hare (1942) – magician versus his adversarial rabbit, who gets revenge via a magical hat. It’s the fast pace, strong poses, appealing characters and visual gags that turn this into a charming original entertainment – top notch fun from first frame to last. An absolute winner from Pixar. Catch it on the head of Wall-E this weekend at a theatre near you.

These shorts are special – that’s something we can’t usually say about short form films. I’m delighted Disney is producing films like these. Could a modern day equivalent of Melody Time grow out of such a program? After seeing these two, that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.


  • http://pixaritalia.blogspot.com Elikrotupos

    Can “Your friend the Rat” be considered an equivalent of “Melody Time”?
    Anyway… I can’t wait for Glago! in 3D, oh my…

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    If I had to guess from the poster, I would have said that Glago was about a giant breast. So I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment when I read the description.

    Once I got over that, my interest definitely picked up. Sounds quite brave and I’ll be interested to check it out.

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com Daryl T

    Sounds like that would be a cracking idea. Another great post.

  • http://www.upapix.com Tee

    I’m crossing my fingers, Jerry, I hope you’re an early witness to the new dawn of studio shorts, the one element that seems to have been missing in this glorious animation evolution we’ve been witnessing.

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    For someone who grew up watching Golden Age shorts, I still have a soft spot for any new shorts that come across in this age of blockbuster animation.

    Glaso’ Guests maybe worth a look… but it depend whether or not Bolt is going to be my cup of tea or not.

    For Presto, the more I know about this Pixar short, the more I look forward to watching that than Wall-E.

    I loved Magical Maestro mainly for its memorable use of Barber of Seville; but then so do Rabbit of Seville and the Woody Woodpecker take on Barber of Seville. So I may have an enjoyable bias towards that when I see that at the cinema, because of its homage to magician-based cartoons of yesteryear.

  • Steve Gattuso

    I’ve been looking forward to Presto as soon as I heard about it. Glorious design and expression. Going to be a good year for shorts.

  • http://segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    Presto is directed by Doug Sweetland, consistently one of Pixar’s best animators. From Toy Story to the present he has always had a distinctive style and vision. I’m so happy he has a chance to direct, perhaps he has a feature in the future.

  • http://persistenceofvision.blogspot.com/ Ethan

    I couldn’t agree more. Both shorts are amazing and couldn’t be any more different. Presto is easily one of the best shorts Pixar has done so far. I love the animation, love the style.

  • Carlos

    Man, I can’t wait! I’m so glad Disney is doing shorts like this, I hope the people really respond.

  • http://www.pbcbstudios.blogspot.com pbcbstudios

    They’re both great.

    Chris Williams is a genius and I’m amazed by Glago. The scope and scale is incredible. It’s really unique and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a short like it.

    Congratulations on both of them!

  • ElPatoLoco

    These are both great.

    It’s a great idea to implement a shorts program at FA.

    Yeah…too bad Lasseter and Catmull are gutting the story crew over at FA, shrinking the team down to a lean 10 artists and have been working to lower the story artists salaries to almost Union minimums across the board.
    Hmmmm I thought the layoffs were over.

  • Tobey

    Just FYI, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first short, “How To Hook Up Your Home Theater” is for sale on iTunes now.

  • http://www.educatedmetalhead.blogspot.com DanO

    Can’t wait to see these. Thank you for posting about them.

  • http://cartoongeeks.blogspot.com/ Michelle Klein-Hass

    A shorts omnibus feature would be great. Actually I’d like to see Disney and Pixar go beyond their borders and maybe also include shorts they consider to be worthwhile from independents and students. I’d pay money to see a shorts omnibus curated by the mighty John Lasseter.

  • http://dtoons-pro.com Alex Dudley

    Glago’s Quest looks and sounds fantastic.
    Hopefully, it won’t overshadow Bolt and awesomness.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    that little snippet for ‘Presto’ before wasn’t enough for me…can’t wait to see the whole thing! And ‘Glago’s’ definitely got me hooked already from what I’ve heard, and the images show from it thus far. Really exciting! These are the kind of things I look forward to from the big guys out West.

  • http://www.christianziebarth.com Christian

    Yes, both shorts are very good and it’s true that you can’t say a little about Glago’s Guest without saying too much . . . but even if somebody spoiled it all the fun is still in the watching of it. How awesome is it when there’s two great shorts from Pixar and Disney on the horizon?

  • Chris Hatfield

    Man I jumping out of my seat. I want to see these shorts so bad. Truly the rebirth of Disney feature animation has begun, I smell winds changing.

  • http://thelink.concordia.ca Christopher Olson

    If you don’t want to ruin the surprise in Glago’s Guest, don’t look up the wikipedia entry they’ve got up on it now. It’s only a sentence or two long, but it’s got spoilers up the yin-yang.

    Re: ElPatoLoco:
    What you said about Lasseter and Catmull cutting staff salaries at Feature Animation sent a chill up my spine. Where did you hear that?

  • ElPatoLoco

    Go to the Animation Guild and read the entry about “on call” status. That is happening at FA right now.
    I heard the salary deal “rumor” from an FA employee.
    The staff cuts are the thing that angers me. I thought John and Ed would be different.
    Meet the new boss…

  • elan

    I havent heard that rumor about the story department. Now, the animation department on the other hand…