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Red's Dream 1987
Description: Life as the sole sale item in the clearance corner of Eben's Bicycles can receive lonely. So Red, a unicycle, dreams up a clown owner and his own juggling act that steals the show. But all too soon, the applause turns into the sound of rainfall, as reality rushes back. Red gotta resign himself to sitting in the corner and await his fate.
Released: 06 Jul 1987 Director: John Lasseter Writers: John Lasseter Actors: N/A Genres: Animation, Short, Family
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Red's Dream Reviews:

I create my living as the night engineer at the local PBS TV station. I also happen to be a LONG time animation freak.I've loved and collected the cartoons from Disney, the Fleischer Brothers, Warner Brothers and all the rest for a very long time. I felt that the art of the cartoon was a static field and that it would never drift far from it's pen and ink roots.One night at work... after a tool that ran a several mins short of a full hour, PBS used RED'S DREAM as filler material to round out the hour.A entire fresh globe opened up on the screen...When RED came along, pc animation was still in it's infancy. I think Pixar produced the movie as a demonstration piece for what their technology is capable of. At that mission in time pc animation was still very expensive, probably as expensive as the traditional, one drawing at a time process of making cartoons by hand.Cartooning done the traditional method has become SO expensive that it's caused some major users to either receive out of the field, or create major concessions in movie quality.The beloved "Termite Terrace", the old Warner Brother's cartooning unit, closed years ago. Likewise, to slash down on the number of drawings required, Fred Flintstone suffers from "Hanna Barberra Palsey"; frequently, Fred's feet and mouth are the ONLY things on the screen that move.To combat the high costs of traditional, full motion cartooning, SOME concessions to modern technology have come to the fore. In some of Ralph Bakshi's work (HEY GOOD LOOKIN' and THE HOBBIT for example) he moved offshore to slash labor costs (Ireland), and used Xerox copying.Disney had ALWAYS been the unquestioned master at giving drawn characters the subtle nuances of personality, and occasionally he did it with inanimate objects like Red. My private Disney favourite is "Casey Junior", the tiny locomotive that pulls the circus train in DUMBO. I saw somewhere that Casey's personality was inspired by the cartoonist watching a puppy. I can trust that easily; while trying to receive the train moving, Casey does a maneuver that's VERY familiar to anyone who has spent a lot of time around dogs; Casey does a "Play Bow", a canine transport used as an invitation to another dogs to come out and enjoy with him. It was tiny touches like this that convinced me that the cartoonist and animator never had to worry about being automated out of a job by computers.But... then came Red.Red is ASTONISHING. This easy tiny unicycle achieves the targets that each cartoonist shoots for in his creations. In a very short movie he introduces himself, displays a clearly defined personality, communicates to the viewer his wants, needs, and motivations, and he manages to touch that indefinable something deep inside of the viewer that makes you CARE about him. You really IDENTIFY with this easy tiny hero in a four minute film.That's what cartoons are all about, and Red touches each one of the bases.When I saw this tiny guy, I realized that the traditional pen and ink and drafting board were on their method out, to be replaced by the microprocessor and the graphics tabletThe Shreks, Roger Rabbits, and all of the another modern cartoon characters were inevitable, both because of the economics of animation, and the success of tiny movies like RED'S DREAM.We owe this tiny unicycle, yearning for stardom, a vote of thanks. He himself may be a dead end, but he opened the door to a entire fresh generation of cartoons.


The people at Pixar do a unbelievable job here. While this isn't their greatest short, it is definitely a fine one and the character here is a surprising one: a tiny red bike, an inanimate Walter Mitty! I got caught up in this short. Pixar really could re-release their collection of their short films. The short work they do is all at least interesting and most of it is magnificent! Well worth hunting up and most highly recommended.


'Red's Dream', at the time of writing, currently ranks as one of Pixar's lesser known efforts, something which I search quite ironic considering the topics matter of this endearing tiny short - a lonely and dejected unicycle has to deal with being the only item in a bike shop restricted to the clearance corner. His only true coping mechanism is to sit there dreaming of better things, and the nice stunts he should pull if only given a possibility to prove his worth, in particular upstaging a rather clueless clown in the circus ring. It's more of a case than a story, really, but it works very well, and you receive a nice feel of Red's sorrow and predicament as it goes. And I can't support but love it as much as any of the company's classic material - it's downbeat, there isn't a nice deal to laugh at, and its overall sombreness will probably come as quite a shock to anyone raised solely on 'Knick Knack', 'For the Birds' and Pixar's another different laugh-out-loud contributions. But 'Red's Dream' manages to keep the viewer's attention through something a tiny more striking than just its potential comedy value. For all its fantastical personification, it succeeds in capturing a very true and very poignant aspect of human nature - that is, the desire for escapism from a bleak reality.The reality in which our protagonist lives - as reflected in the colourlessness of the bike shop - is cruel and harsh, and topics him to constant negligence from those around him (not even the another bikes seem to reply to him). But Red finds solace in his dream, however temporarily, and I know that everyone can identify with him on that one on at least some level, just as we can all see something of ourselves in both Woody and Buzz of the 'Toy Story' realm. Strange as it may sound, you really end up feeling for this terrible tiny wheel, and when he envisions his colorful circus scene, and being loved by the audience, you really want that it should come real and that he should stay there. But at the same time, you're left with the uneasy awareness that that's all it is - a dream, and nothing more - and that Red will have to face up to the true globe sooner or later.The 3D animation quality is great enough - that clown does look cute grotesque and chunky I'll admit, being Pixar's first true attempt at an organic character, and a saying sign of their actual lack of expertise in this particular field, but then again, he IS a clown, so I don't think it really matters! Otherwise, the visuals are thumbs up, and Red himself is undeniably pretty (it says, a lot don't you think, that you can end up getting attached to an animated unicycle with no organic details whatsoever?) On the whole, the general mood of the short did leave me feeling a tiny cold, but appropriately so, and it's definitely worthy of being a classic in the same league as 'Luxo Jr'.Above all, Pixar are capable of making me now care about such daily inanimate objects as desk lamps, tin toys, miniature snowmen and unicycles - and that has got to be worth something.Grade: A-



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