The year 2014 had already lost a bit of its charm when it was announced that the latest Pixar film would be pushed a year further, after the director left the project over creative differences. Since 2006, Pixar has come out with a movie each year, and so a Pixar-less year does feel strange. But now the latest Pixar movie titled Inside Out is slated for a June 2015 release. In case you aren’t aware of the movie premise, then this summary should sort that out.
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
But we ain’t talking about Inside Out today, captivating as its story may be. Missing this year, apart from the full-length feature film of Pixar, is the studio’s short film too. The one that is showcased right at the beginning, a few minutes of mesmerizing story-telling. Beginning with Pixar‘s second film A Bug’s Life, every movie has been accompanied with a short film. These “shorts” are another medium through which Pixar manages to connect with its audience, for they are equally moving, gripping, with a pinch of humour at times. It’s a demonstration by Pixar of the things that they can do in the world of animation, the depth of quality that they can achieve in their story-telling even when time is a constraint. No wonder that Pixar has been nominated ten times for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, winning it thrice.
The short film to be released along with Inside Out is titled Lava. The name of course comes from the fact that it is about the volcano Uku. And this is how he is going to look.
Ain’t that a happy volcano! Well, he should be, for it seems this volcano is in love with another of its kind, called Lele. The folks at Pixar do really have some crazy imagination! Lava has been directed by James Ford Murphy who has worked as an animator on most of Pixar’s films. This 7-minute film is a musical love story, with the titular song written by Murphy himself, after he learnt to play the ukelele (that is where the names “Uku” and “Lele” come from, get it?). A pair of Hawaiian musicians are performing the music for the film. I can already feel the cool breeze flowing!
Lava will premiere at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan a few days from now, that is on June 14, 2014. But for the rest of us folks, we will have to wait till June 19, 2015, when it is released in theatres with Inside Out. That is going to be a long wait for a short film, but knowing Pixar, this one is bound to be worth it!
In the meantime, why not catch once again one of the best short films released by Pixar in the past? This one came out in 1997, and was the first one to be released after Pixar had ventured into full-length feature films. Titled Geri’s Game, this short film won an Academy Award, and it takes no second thoughts to guess why. A beautifully created film, showcasing the range of human emotions that Pixar could capture digitally (remember, this is 1997 we are talking about), apart from the mixture of humour and loneliness that it interplayed with in its story, this is truly a mark of Pixar genius. Enjoy!