Preceding Disney-Pixar’s latest spectacular film Cars 3 in theaters this weekend is a brand new Pixar theatrical short, titled Lou. Pixar’s history is rooted deep within their animated shorts, with those being the very powerhouse the modest studio was able to build its legacy upon, and it has become a regular tradition for each theatrical Pixar film to be accompanied by another original Pixar short. With Lou, the studio returns with one of their absolute best shorts, beating out recent entries like Lava, The Blue Umbrella, Day and Night, Partly Cloudy, as well as a few others, and its an example of the fact that even though Pixar’s coming off a bit of a slump, they still have the creativity and ambition that once defined their role in animation.
Reaching the level of Pixar’s best shorts, like Geri’s Game, Presto, or Piper, this short, Lou, is full of brilliance and creativity, and a massive amount of heart and depth. Within just a few short minutes, director Dave Mullins understands how to craft the perfect blend of humor and emotion to create an experience that will certainly resonate with you even once the credits for Cars 3 has finished rolling.
The journey to get Lou to development has been one of hardship for director Dave Mullins, who has been pitching and revising the project since 2005, having worked as an animator at Pixar for over a decade. So seeing Lou come to life on-screen is a feat not only in the aspect of great visual storytelling, but that can only be attributed to Mullin’s perseverance and dedication to the project, and we’re all the better off for it.
Lou is also a stunning breakthrough in animation. Every frame is rich with detail, but also with creativity, as each new element of the story finds new ways to raise the stakes through intensity and humility, as the storytelling takes drastic turns throughout. The way that the team achieves this is by constantly switching the character design for the titular character, Lou, as he begins to take on different shapes reliant on the items found in the Lost and Found box. The result is wacky and wonderful and adds up to an endless amount of impressive feats found in this short film, which would be one of Pixar’s best in years, if not for their spectacular short film, Piper, just last summer.
Lou is a promising indication that Pixar is not only getting back from a slump, but they have the potential to continue to sustain their quality and allow themselves to grow from it. It’s not clear what’s beyond the horizon for Pixar past The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4, but projects like these allow us to have confidence that it’s a promising one. We also can’t wait to see where short film director Dave Mullins will go next, and we hope that this project will be a stepping stone to bigger and better things to come.
Pixar’s ‘Lou’ precedes screenings of ‘Cars 3’ in theaters nationwide this Friday.