You just never know what you’ll see at Disney’s D23 Expo. The gathering has become known for its early peeks and surprise screenings of the latest and greatest Disney has to offer. This year was no exception. Before unveiling early glimpses of next year’s The Good Dinosaur and 2015’s Inside Out, John Lasseter had a special surprise for attendees of the Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios arena presentation. Expo-goers were treated to a full screening of the new Pixar short Party Central. Mike’s New Car (2002), a short attached to the Monsters, Inc. DVD, was the first extension of a Pixar feature film. Party Central continues that tradition almost 11 years later, as this latest toon takes place in the world of Monsters University. Check out my review after the break!
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In the short, directed by Kelsey Mann (story supervisor on Monsters University), Mike and Sulley return to Monsters University to help their friends of Oozma Kappa liven up their frat party. The whole gang is back for this one including Terry and Terri, Squishy, Art and Squishy’s Mom, Sherry. With the help of a few portal doors, the group manages to trick, sneak and steal another party into theirs. Transporting the festivities through a room with two closet doors and past a sleeping couple, the simple set-up reaches comedic heights. It builds and maintains a manic energy that we didn’t see in the feature film. In many ways, it feels like an extended scene cut from the original. The thing zips by and before you can catch your breath, it’s over.
The short was extremely well received at the Expo screening and will no doubt be a hit when it premieres next year. That’s a bit of a wait but trust me, it’s well worth it. It’s a shame it won’t be appearing on the Blu-ray/DVD release for Monsters University as it would accompany the feature nicely.
You can catch Party Central in theaters on May 30, 2014, where it will play alongside The Good Dinosaur.