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Lifted

Lifted poster
Directed by Gary Rydstrom
Produced by Katherine Sarafian
Osnat Shurer and John Lasseter (executive producers)
Written by Gary Rydstrom
Music by Michael Giacchino
Editing by Steve Bloom
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures (2007 release with Ratatouille), Pixar
Release date(s) December 29, 2006
Running time 5 minutes
Country  United States

Lifted is a 2006 Pixar computer animated short film directed by Gary Rydstrom. This is the first film directed by Rydstrom, a seven-time Academy Award winning sound editor and mixer.

The film was released theatrically with Pixar's Ratatouille (June 29, 2007). The short also received a sneak peek at The 42nd Chicago International Film Festival.[1]

Contents

Plot

A young alien, Stu, is inside a spaceship taking an examination in abduction. He must snatch a sleeping farmer named Ernie (who is actually Linguini, the main human protagnist from one of Pixar's other films, Ratatouille) under the watchful eye of his imposing instructor, Mr. B.[2] To accomplish this, Stu must, from memory, utilize the array of thousands of unlabeled toggle switches on the giant console before him. With a few hesitant flicks of the wrong switch, and eventually a frustrated swipe at the array, he mistakenly propels the human into walls and occasionally the ceiling, but never waking the farmer from his slumber. After repeated failures to successfully lift the human into the ship, Mr. B takes over and, wielding the massive bank of switches with ease, returns the farmer to his bed and cleans up the mess inside the farmhouse.

Ashamed over his failure, Stu starts whimpering, trying to hold back his tears. In a rare moment of compassion, Mr. B generously offers Stu the opportunity to launch the space ship back home. Full of glee, Stu takes hold of the steering apparatus and starts to lift the ship into the air, but the flying saucer plummets to the ground, crushing the farmer's house. When the spaceship finally departs, its underside covered in debris, all that remains is a crater with a tall pillar of dirt in the center, left by the tractor beam's cargo entry, atop which the farmer is still sleeping soundly in his bed.

During the end credits there is the sound of an alarm clock, the farmer waking up, yawning, the Wilhelm Scream, and then a thud.

Awards

Lifted was nominated for best animated short film on January 23, 2007 for the 79th Academy Awards.[3]

Production

  • Pixar regularly uses its short films to implement new software plug-ins and techniques. This film implemented a jiggle program (used to animate Mr. B.), wherein an animator can pick a certain section of the computer model and tap on it to make it resonate.
  • Rydstrom, whose previous work was primarily as an award winning sound editor and mixer, notes that the abduction console is based on a sound mixer's console. He muses that both look impossible to use, and Stu attacking the user console is part of Gary's wish to destroy a mixing console when frustrated.
  • Rydstrom named the instructor Mr. B, suggesting a teacher that would give his students 'B' Grades, no matter what. The voice of Mr. B is provided by Rydstrom's dog.
  • The sound made by the console whenever Stu bumps the abductee into a wall is the "Hero" alert sound from Mac OS X.
  • According to the director's mother, this short is partially based on Rydstrom's experiences in driver's education.
  • The short makes numerous references to Steven Spielberg's similarly themed film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The title is also a play off of the television series Taken.
  • A toy resembling the mechanical one-man band musician, Tinny from Pixar's Tin Toy, can be seen under the farmer's bed.
  • At the close of the film, when the farmer plummets into the crater, the scream heard is the famed Wilhelm scream, a stock sound effect used in many films since its recording in 1951 that has taken on some notoriety as an in-joke among film and sound buffs.

References

External links

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