Pixar Review 20: Lifted

liftedWe’ve made it to Pixar review 20! Can you believe it?  I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am enjoying watching/writing about them.  I have particularly enjoyed the animated shorts as they can be unjustly ignored when people look at the Pixar legacy.  Today we are talking about a very special comedic short called Lifted.  It is one of the longer shorts and it gets some of the biggest laughs (and looks great too).

Lifted is a simple story about aliens- one alien to be exact.  His name is Stu and he is in training to man the control board.  He is being watched over by ‘Mr B’ who has a clipboard and seems to be giving him some kind of test.  It reminds me of someone getting a test from the DMV.

Pixar's short film LIFTED, directed by Gary Rydstrom, shows what happens when an over confident teen alien gets behind the controls of a spaceship.  He must attempt to abduct a slumbering farmer under the watchful eye of a critical instructor.  But abducting humans requires precision and a gentle touch, and within a few missteps it's painfully clear whey more humans don't go missing every year.

I love the expression on Stu’s face as he knows he is failing in his test.  Poor thing!  The test is to get a human into the ship using the light beam.  This was a clever twist on the classic sci-fi scenario because not only does he struggle to get zapped up but we actually want him to be abducted.  Normally an alien taking a human would be scary but in this case we want Stu to succeed and get the guy from his bed!

lifted7It’s also funny how the human never wakes up despite all the abuse going on to him and his house.  He’s certainly no light sleeper that’s for sure!


I love how incredibly massive the control board is.  How many features does this beam have?

lifted10The final joke as Stu is allowed to commandeer the ship back home is a great laugh.

lifted5Here’s the full short if you haven’t seen it.

All the shorts are very simple but Lifted is one of my favorites.  It’s bright, colorful and very funny.  Plus, I like Stu and his efforts to pass his test.  When he cries it’s a very sweet moment. Let’s be honest- we’ve all been there trying desperately to pass a test or make an audition.  We’ve all wanted to something so bad and yet all we do is screw it up.

I also really like the way Mr B and Stu move and look.  It is bright but also translucent and very fluid.  I read they came up with a new program called jiggle to create this look.  “The animator can control how far out to resonate body movement, such as only within a limb, or stay away from specific parts of the body such as the face”.  In the strong tradition of Pixar shorts creating new technology Lifted is no exception!


Lifted was first film directed by Gary Rydstrom who did the sound mixing and editing for most of the Pixar movies going all the way back to Luxo Jr.  Naturally the sound design in Lifted is great with little details like the alarm and human reactions at the ending.

Have you seen Lifted? What do you think of it?

Overall Grade- A+

5 thoughts on “Pixar Review 20: Lifted

  1. This is one of the sillier shorts, definitely. A fun fact is that the human being abducted is actually Linguini from Ratatouille, the film which followed this in theaters.

    My aunt actually thought this was just another trailer when we saw it together (as a result of it being packed under so many countless other trailers). She was scared by the farmer screaming at the end and said that she didn’t want to see that.

    I always liked Mr. B’s gesture of compassion at the end. Misguided but still very telling about who he really is as opposed to how he comes across.

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