Most of you Pixar fans would be aware that Pixar always graces us with an entertaining ShortFilm before each feature, and if you’re heading to the cinemas this coming week to enjoy Inside Out, you will also be pleasantly surprised with Lava!
This short is only 7 minutes long, but, boy, is it touching! Watching it, I was reminded of Up and how that Pixar film made me weep in the first 5 minutes. Lava, feels a little like this, its sweet and lovely. The story is told musically, which is always exciting, because music can really get to core emotions and Lava most certainly achieves this, almost effortlessly. I promise you will be humming this tune after you leave the cinemas, it’s that catchy! Perhaps my favourite moment is a time lapse sequence that is so perfectly animated, it’s stunning to say the least! Thank you for your art Mr. Murphy!
James Ford Murphy has been a core member of the Pixar team, from the very beginning. He is now head of Animation at Pixar, so he has a large artistic influence on everything Pixar that we see. I think it’s great that he has had the opportunity to direct a ShortFilm, and his work is short of impeccable. You can really feel the love for music that he has, since he wrote the song, that also serves as a narration for this volcanic-tale. I have also learnt that Murphy also performs the ukulele for this short.
In an interview he revealed that the idea was born from his love of Hawaii, and the inspiring volcanic regions. It was in Hawaii that he purchased his first ukulele and managed to teach himself how to play it, no doubt drawing from his guitar abilities. It was here that he also stumbled on Kuana Torres Kahele, who was eventually cast as Uku, the singing volcano. In addition Napua Greig voices Lele, another singing volcano. All this Hawaii influence give this ShortFilm a sense of authenticity, and I strongly believe this is why it feels so deep and meaningful.
Lava was actually released in 2014 at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival. It was eligible for an Oscar, and was submitted, but did not get shortlisted. John Lasseter was not happy about this, and this also means that Lava will not be up for an Oscar, even though it is being theatrically released in front of Inside Out. Feast took the coveted prize last year, and my money is on Pixar’s upcoming short Sanjay’s Super Team, which will feature in front of The Good Dinosaur.
Enjoy Lava and Inside out!
TRIVIA COOKIE: Uku’s face is a combination of Jackie Gleeson’s face and Marc Anthony The Bulldog from the 1952 ShortFilm, Feed The Kitty. Most certainly sources of inspiration from James Ford Murphy.