‘Disney Animation: Short Circuit’ is a Brilliant Celebration of the Art of Animation

Disney Plus is the perfect home for experimental Disney movies and projects that wouldn’t have a home otherwise. Here, the studio can take gambles without having to worry about box office earnings or public perception, a wonderful return to the days of ambitious low budget projects from The Walt Disney Company so seemingly absent in recent years. Disney Plus opens the floodgates to endless possibilities of the imagination, but there is perhaps no greater showcase of this than the newly released Walt Disney Animation Studios: Short Circuit series on the platform. Short Circuit is quite simply the most gorgeous and brilliant experiment showcasing the art of animation from Disney in quite some time, and it shows an exciting new future for storytelling in general. 

Short Circuit is a series of fourteen ‘experimental’ shorts conducted at Walt Disney Animation Studios, developed and produced by various independent Disney animators. The purpose of these shorts was truly experimental, in trying new ideas for visual animated styles and storytelling through new technology. A true showcase of the ‘what if…’ mindset that is so deeply rooted within the company, and its dedication to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and technology. Certainly, these shorts have their faults at times, but its overall achievement is a collection of stunning shorts that are breathtaking in nature and leave you quite speechless. 

Experimental short films have been part of Disney’s DNA for quite some time, particularly at Pixar Animation Studios. Since the beginning of Pixar, short films acted as an experimental outlet in testing the boundaries of visual storytelling and technology, and the same still holds true today. Short films are often created as an outlet to test new ideas without having to commit to an art style to carry a film or for new filmmakers to test their skills before taking on a feature-length movie. The Short Circuit series has given ordinary animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios those very same opportunities to test their skills and passion in creating stunning new ambitious tales. To consider what new technical feats have been accomplished, and what could be integrated into a future Disney animated film is endlessly exciting. 

Arguably, it is very odd to see Disney Plus become the home to various projects intended for completely different mediums. For instance, Cycles, an ambitious short film made specifically for virtual reality is included on the platform, but not in any means a form of its intended medium. The supposed intended feeling (supposed, as we weren’t some of the lucky ones to have tried it), of an immersive 360-degree view of the animated space, is gone, which is arguably the biggest component of its storytelling. It is rather nice to finally be able to see it, but it’s certainly odd to see only half of the experience on Disney Plus. 

Short Circuit is in every way a right step for the company in the ambition that the platform should be home to, and a call for innovative stories to be told once again at Disney. It’s the perfect example of what could be done when the care is given to artists who have greater stories to tell and new methods of telling them. With works like these, we can’t wait to see what the future of Disney Plus and Disney animation has in store.