A Year in Shorts Day 180: "Lifted"
I was not fortunate enough to see Ratatouille in theaters. The closest I came to doing so was catching a glimpse of a screen showing it while my family was at a drive-in. (We were there to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I believe, which is actually the first Harry Potter I saw in theaters; but that’s a story for a different time.) However, I didn’t actually see any of Ratatouille on that screen. No, it was early enough in the screening that instead I saw a clip of the short which played before it, Lifted. And while it wouldn’t be long before I saw Ratatouille on DVD, it would be a much longer wait before I saw the rest of this short. Was it worth the wait? Let’s find out!
Directed by Gary Rydstrom, Lifted tells the story of an anxious, awkward teenage alien taking a driver's test in a UFO. Having never taken a driver's test I can't quite relate to this story, but I do relate to someone being anxious behind the wheel. That one hits a little too close to home. Of course, this being an alien test, things are little bit different for our hero, who has to demonstrate that he can properly abduct a human being. And, this being a cartoon, hijinks ensue, mostly in the way of the poor hapless human being forcibly bumped into things. At just under five minutes, Lifted is considerably shorter than a lot of the films we've covered (especially lately). But admittedly there isn't a whole lot one can do with this premise, so I'm glad the film doesn't overstay its welcome.
If someone were to make a list ranking every Pixar film, both shorts and features (which is an utterly ridiculous prospect and absolutely something I would do, if I could bring myself to watch the Cars sequels, which I can not), Lifted would not rank particularly highly. Not that it's a bad short; it's cute, has some good physical comedy, and the designs of the aliens are pretty neat. But it doesn't do anything particularly special, either. It doesn't have much heart, nor does it push the boundaries of Pixar's animation style or technology. Which makes it something of a strange pairing with the film it preceded, which is one of Pixar's best. Still, they can't all be masterpieces, and sometimes you just want to watch a teenage alien just utterly ruin the life of a sleeping human being. And when that's the case, Lifted is the film for you.
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"Lifted" is available to watch on Disney +
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