Pixar released the first rendered still of its newest short Lava today via the LA Times. The still shows a jolly male volcano grinning ear to ear. And we must admit, he’s adorable.
The short is a 7-minute, 9-minute second love story about two volcanos, which will span millions of years, showing the two’s romantic history evolve as they do. (We suspect that time will force them together after eons of being apart.) The volcano shown in the still is Uku (voiced by Kuana Torres Kahele, who is also the short’s narrator), the short’s lead charater who is “crusty and prone to eruptions, but with a warm core underneath.” His design is creative and very appealing, as he is arms and other body parts are formed from lava flows. Uku’s love interest (not shown) is named Lele (voiced by Napua Greig).
Pixar’s shorts are typically known as hotbeds of innovation, as they are used to explore new techniques, such as the photorealism found in The Blue Umbrella, a first for Pixar. This film is no different as director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren attempted to achieve a sense of live-action scale that is usually achieved through helicopter shots. It’s definitely a feat for computer animation, which normally “choke[s] on that much visual information.”
It’s interesting that this film is being promoted as a musical, something that Pixar usually strays away from. Will the volcanos sing? Or will the songs be performed by a another singer? Pixar always delights and surprises, so no matter what it is, we know it’s going to be good. Murphy mentioned how he was very influenced by Hawaiian music and island culture growing up, so there’s no question that the score will have a very distinct Hawaiian vibe.
Lava will premiere this Monday at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan, which is a perfect setting considering Japan is an island nation formed itself by volcanos.
After making rounds at the festival circuit, Lava will premiere to worldwide audience before Inside Out on June 19, 2015.
What do you think about the first still from ‘Lava’? Do you like Uku?
Special thanks to Stitch Kingdom for the high resolution, uncropped version of the still.