Red’s Dream sure is depressing. It’s wonderfully depressing, actually, since the second act is so profoundly upsetting one almost hopes for the happy ending.
The short is only four minutes, so I think the first act basically consists of the tracking shot through the bike shop. The titular Red is a unicycle, on sale among the better regular bikes. I mean, what can a unicycle even do?
Clowns like unicycles. Maybe a clown will show up.
And then we get to the dream. Where Lasseter makes his coolest move is when the short goes from being about a clown’s unicycle to the unicycle itself. There’s some beautiful, silent anthropomorphism going on. Lasseter actually makes the unicycle far more accessible by giving it a duck’s beak and head tilt.
The short is very assured, very confident. When Lasseter gets to the coda, it’s devastating.
Lovely score from David Slusser as well.
Written and directed by John Lasseter; music by David Slusser.