Tuesday Shorts Talk: “Geri’s Game”

Tuesday Shorts Talk is a weekly discussion of an animated short film, featuring classics and lesser known works.

In 1997, no one was aware of excellence that Pixar would soon produce. Up to that point, their only full length film film was Toy Story. A few years later in 1997, Pixar quietly made “Geri’s Game,” a short film about an old man playing chess. Whoa, sounds like a blast, right? Take a look:

With “Geri’s Game,” Pixar proved they had the ability to make just about anything interesting and entertaining. This is a short that takes a relatively simple concept and creates something truly memorable. Since when was watching an old man play chess so exciting?

The film’s only character, Geri, has a wild imagination. He is not playing an ordinary game of chess because his opponent is himself. Even more shocking is the fact that this concept works as exposition. You’d expect the reveal of Geri’s opponent to be reserved for a twist ending, but it is precisely the opposite. Viewers know from the very beginning that Geri is alone.

The progression of the short takes a mind-bending twist. Geri begins playing by himself, and by the end, he is playing against himself. What starts as a comical viewing of an old man turns into a exhilarating and slightly voyeuristic game of chess. As the short goes on, viewers are made to believe that maybe Geri isn’t just playing by himself, even though it is clear that he is alone.

Who are we as audience members to experience this old man’s private delusion? Though innocently presented, it seems so intrusive.

“Geri’s Game” is an early sign of Pixar’s blossoming creativity and is still one of the studio’s best shorts.

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3 thoughts on “Tuesday Shorts Talk: “Geri’s Game”

  1. I love that you are reviewing the shorts and Geri’s Game is I think my personal favorite. I have been reviewing the Pixar movies on my blog as well as all the shorts and wow are they impressive. They are funny, sweet, and amazingly inventive. Plus, a great way for talent to try new things without the commitment of a feature film. I just reviewed Partly Cloudy this week.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much! Last week, I reviewed the 30’s Disney short, “Mickey’s Trailer.” I look forward to writing about shorts each Tuesday! I plan on looking at your Disney reviews. I really like the concept of your blog.

      And yeah, I’ve always seen shorts as a creative and inventive way to show new talent. Thank you again and look forward to more of your pieces!

      Liked by 1 person

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