Worth Your Time: The 'Wall-E' Cartoon Short

Sure, "Wall-E's" a hit, but Pixar's exuberant (and unbilled) short "Presto" steals the show—before the show even begins. A quickwitted throwback to old Warner Bros. critter capers, "Presto" stars pompous stage magician Presto DiGiotagione, a headliner whose one gag is pulling a rabbit out of his hat. Only today, that rabbit, Alec Azam, is in a diva's snit. Alec is overdue for a carrot and won't budge 'til he's dined—not even when an indignant Presto insists the show must go on. But hell hath no fury like a hungry bunny, and Alec smacks down—hard. The ensuing finger-crimping, egg-hurling and electrocuting dazzles the magic-show audience, who misinterpret it all as part of the act. Like a lot of Pixar's shorts, the Doug Sweetland-directed "Presto" (now on iTunes) is dialogue-free, focusing instead on superb visuals. Each frame is a richly toned pastiche of Victoriana, the camera lingering on vibrant circus posters and saffron-fringed curtains, and the score is classic, cymbal-happy Hollywood. In the end, of course, the two resolve their differences and Alec gets his carrot—exeunt all. It has not a whiff of "Wall-E's" moralistic tone. But with its goofy charm, "Presto" is the perfect foil.