If there's one thing that Pixar is known for, besides its cast of colorful characters, it's the animated shorts that precede every Pixar film. Traditionally a proving ground for animators who want to direct full features, these shorts have been emotional journeys, hysterical comedies, and overall touching affairs. So it's no surprise that Cars 3 is going to have another trademark round of whimsy and emotion from Pixar, with their latest short targeting a subject that's been in the news quite often in recent times: playground bullying.
USA Today got the scoop from Dave Mullins, the animator who's directing Lou, the new short that features a collection of living objects from the school lost and found coming together to form the force to be reckoned with on the playground. Lou's job is to protect the kids on the playground of his home school, and in the short attached to Cars 3, he'll be facing off against J.J. - the school's resident bully. While J.J. may terrorize the kids at his school, Lou's about to show him a thing or two when it comes to playing nice.
Don't think that Pixar's trying to get either overly-emotional or preachy with its latest short, as Lou sounds like a physical comedy similar to some of Pixar's previous shorts. In fact, the two that come to mind are For The Birds, the short in which one larger bird inadvertently shows his smaller tormentors sweet revenge, and Presto, the story of a magician with a rabbit who won't perform until he's been fed. Both shorts had the heartfelt message of respect and retribution, and they employed a fair bit of physical comedy too. Besides, with a face like the one shown above, you know Lou's going to be good for some laughs.
Lou sounds like the perfect short to open up Cars 3, as the latest chapter in Lightning McQueen's saga will have him dealing with his own sort of adversity. With his days in the pro-racing circuit numbered, and a pretty rough accident on display in the film's teasers, it's going to be a long road of recovery for Team McQueen. But if the movie, or its preceding short, have anything to say, it's that with a dash of empathy, and the right teammate by your side, anything is possible. Which is exactly the sort of message kids could use these days.
Cars 3 races into theaters on June 16th.