Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending a special Pixar presentation in Los Angeles largely geared towards giving members of the press an early look at the upcoming feature film Inside Out... but that wasn't the only title on display that day. We were also the first audience outside of the animation company to watch Lava, the studio's newest short. Sadly, it will still be a long time before the project will be arriving in theaters, but the good news is that today we have a very special first look.
The clip does a pretty great job setting up the basic premise of what to expect from Lava. Written and directed by James Ford Murphy, Pixar's head of animation, the short is basically a music video that tells the story of a Hawaiian volcano named Uku and his desire to find someone else to share his life with. Speaking with Yahoo!, Murphy reveals that his two biggest sources of inspiration were his long-felt love of Hawaii (even while growing up in Detroit) and his emotional connection to the version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" sung by the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole:
Singing the titular song in Lava is Kuana Torres Kahele, a Hawaiian musician whose face was also partially used as inspiration for Uku's look. According to Murphy, the volcano's face was inspired by Kahele, Jackie Gleason of the Honeymooners and the Bulldog from the Chuck Jones animated short "Feed The Kitty:"
If this little clip put a smile on your face and made you excited to see the full thing, I have some rather unfortunate news. Because Pixar doesn't have a film coming out this year, sadly audiences are going to have to wait until 2015 and the theatrical release of Inside Out to see Lava in full. It was going to be attached to The Good Dinosaur, which was originally supposed to come out this summer, but then some major behind the scenes drama went down and The Good Dinosaur was delayed until November 2015 (presumably with a brand new short). Lava and Inside Out will be coming to theaters on June 19, 2015.