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Pixar goes art-deco sci-fi with new, robot-focused short Smash and Grab

By Jacob Oller
smash and grab poster

Last week’s Purl proved that the Pixar short film program SparkShorts was pulling no punches; today’s Smash and Grab highlights the diverse range of animations it will showcase. After Purl’s more traditionally Pixar-esque aesthetic, the robot-centric Smash and Grab, from director Brian Larsen, is a delightful bit of art deco sci-fi outside of Wall-E’s decrepit view of the future.

The short focuses on two robots who’re stuck as strange, sentient slaves tethered to a train’s propulsion system. Even coal shovelers weren’t tied down by power cables. The resulting buddy movie is a delightful metaphor for (somewhat riskily) escaping a dead-end job.

Take a look:

Again, like Purl’s salty language, Smash and Grab contains elements that Pixar simply won’t include in its family-friendly features. Grab gets shot by a guard robot that screams Star Wars rather than Up. The pair of friends have a close run-in with death, but ultimately find the freedom they seek — all a bit darker than the usual animated fare fans are used to.

There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette that describes the process of creating the art style of the sci-fi world and the surprising amount of motion-capture that goes into making robots walk and move:

Fans of these two Pixar shorts should be excited about Kitbull, the third SparkShorts movie to be released, which will arrive on Feb. 18.

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