As Zoom attention spans shorten and sunny days lengthen, it’s ideal to provide entertainment fare that’s bite-sized and suitable for the family.
Emeryville’s Pixar Animation Studios knows just how to deliver those goodies and are doing so on Disney+. Their latest short film — “Out” — is a landmark for the studio, the first to feature an LGBTQ lead. Others in the Spark Shorts collection are equally delightful with all running under 10 minutes. That should keep Junior and Senior interested.
Here are mini-reviews of almost all of them, now available on Disney+
• “Out”: Oakland writer/director Steven Clay Hunter and San Francisco producer Max Sachar share the honor of creating Greg, the first lead gay character — a flustered, closeted-to-his-parents man who is in the process of moving with his partner. A magical dog collar finds him swapping personalities with his cute dog, just as his parents come over to help him pack. Sweet, funny and tear-inducing.
• “Purl”: The new hire — a pink ball of yarn — finds herself getting needled in a “bro”-dominant environment where the guys don’t include her to do anything. A determined Purl tries to fit in by telling jokes and hanging with the boys by changing her appearance. But does her being just one of the guys ostracize others? Director/writer Kristen Lester cleverly illustrates how a tight-knit work culture works against itself.
• “Kitbull”: One of my favorites in the bunch, this moving Oscar nominee circles around the unlikely friendship between an abused junkyard dog and a stray black kitten. Director/writer Rosana Sullivan covers tough terrain — cruelty toward animals — and conveys the brutality with sensitivity toward younger viewers. It’s a lovely film.
• “Float”: An exasperated single dad can’t stop his little boy from floating all around the place so he holes him up in the house. A stroll past the playground sparks the boy’s supernatural talent, sending dad into a tailspin. Bobby Rubio’s gentle tale reminds parents and kids to not just accept their differences, but bask in them.
• “Smash and Grab”: Fans of “WALL-E” will be tickled by director/writer Brian Larsen’s sci-fi chase film starring two robots in love. The outdated models are stuck in a grinding slave-like job on a train until they decide to unshackle themselves and make a great escape. It’s madcap and soulful.
• “Wind”: A industrious grandmother and grandson are also planning their own great escape in director/writer Edwin Chang’s fable. The only way out of an enormous hole in the planet is to turn the scraps around them into a rocket-like contraption that they can fly. There’s a hitch, though; only one can get out safely.
To watch all the shorts, visit https://www.disneyplus.com/