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Western Animation / Lifted

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Lifted is a 2007 animated short film by Gary Rydstrom. It is one of the Pixar Shorts.

The setting is an isolated farmhouse in the dead of night. A Tractor Beam shoots through the window, picks up the farmer, and carries him to the window—until the floating farmer bonks into the windowsill. It turns out that the whole affair is a test for Stu, a young greenish blob of an alien, who is attempting to abduct his first Earthling. As his stern examiner Mr. B scribbles on his notepad, the young alien continues to bungle the abduction, and gets more and more flustered.

Played in theaters before Ratatouille.


  • All There in the Script: The alien is named Stu (as in "Student"), the teacher is named Mr. B (Named after a teacher Gary Rydstrom had, who always gave everyone B grades, regardless of how much or how little effort they put into any of their assignments), and the farmer is named Ernie.
  • Animation Bump: Two new pieces of software were created for the short: one to animate Mr. B masterfully manipulating all of the controls to put Ernie's room back together (in which multiple arms overlap in a Motion Blur) and one for the alien's gooey texture (an early version of the inhabitants of the AXIOM in WALL•E, when they were devolving jelly creatures instead of obese humans).
  • Billions of Buttons: The control panel of the space ship has thousands of identical, unlabeled switches.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: The short ends with Stu crashing the ship on Ernie's house, flattening it into a pit. That is, except for the farmer's bed, which fit right into the hole at the bottom of the spaceship, saving the farmer's life. At least until he wakes up and steps right off the edge.
  • Dramatic Alien VTOL: The alien ship departs in a slow, dramatic climb straight up from its position over the farmhouse, then gets slammed into the ground by the student pilot.
  • Driving Test: Lifted is an alien abduction variant.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ernie actually has the same design as Linguini from Ratatouille, which this short played in theaters before.
  • Flying Saucer: One with a trainee who is struggling.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Ernie sleeps through his whole "attempted abduction" ordeal, despite getting his head hit on the wall several times, thrown around the room, squeezed through a half-open window and dragged through several tree branches (though it could be an additional effect of the tractor beam, that keeps him asleep).
  • The Millstone: Stu not only fails at extracting Ernie from the farmhouse with any shred of competence, he gets in the way of Mr. B doing it correctly, and when Mr. B lets him drive the saucer as a consolation prize, he promptly rams it into the ground.
  • Mythology Gag: Tinny from Tin Toy can be clearly seen under Ernie's bed in a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Noble Demon: While the aliens were trying to abduct Ernie, Mr. B is kind enough to save him from falling to his death and reorganizes his house.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Stu cuts off the tractor beam too soon, dropping Ernie five stories or so before Mr. B flips the switches and arrests his fall six inches from the ground. Ernie is fine.
  • Oh, Crap!: Stu, when he drops Ernie from a great height.
  • Obfuscated Interface: The UFO's control board has numerous identical switches, none of which are labeled. Even the manual consists of only dots representing switches.
  • Pet the Dog: After poor Stu fails his abduction test, Mr. B offers to let him fly the ship... only for him to crash into the ground while trying to lift off.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After Stu repeatedly flicks the wrong switches while attempting to get Ernie out of the window, he screams in frustration and starts swiping at several different switches at the same time.
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue, as is true of almost every Pixar short. The closest it gets to having one of the characters talk is a moment when Mr. B is about to write something down on his notepad and Stu makes a nervous stuttering sound which comes out as "Didideh-det-bubuv … buh … didit-dit-dit …"
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream can be heard in the credits when Ernie gets up with the alarm clock waking him and he falls into the pit.
  • The Stoic: Mr. B's facial expression (as seen in the image) remains the same for the entire short (except when Stu is about to screw things up even worse, where he becomes justifiably angry).
  • Tractor Beam: They can be dangerous if you don't know how to work them.
  • Verbed Title: Relating to how a Tractor Beam can be used to lift things.