I was a young girl when Toy Story made its debut in theaters. While parts of the movie terrified me (Sid), on the whole, I loved it. The characters were clever, the jokes were funny, and the animation was amazing at that time. My family quickly embraced the Pixar films and we’ve been repeatedly delighted with each new story. But the films themselves weren’t all Pixar had to offer. The adorable short films shown in front of every release became something we looked forward to more and more.
It would be many years after Toy Story before my favorite short would debut. I remember my little sister was visiting me right after Brave was released in theaters. Knowing that Pixar films were something we both enjoyed, I took her to see it. Before the movie started, we settled in to watch the latest short, “La Luna” — a perfect little film that made my heart so happy. For a long time now, I’ve loved anything related with outer space and the nighttime sky. Stars, planets, suns, and of course the moon, so I was a little biased form the get-go. However, the six and half minute story proved to be good too. Here are my top five reasons why “La Luna” is my favorite Pixar short film:
A Sweet Story
“La Luna” does not need any dialogue to tell it’s story. From the very beginning we know this young boy is joining his grandfather and father for the first time on an interesting journey. He’s eager to know what to do so he mimics their actions while they wait for the moon to rise. He crosses his arms like his father and cleans his ear like his grandfather. When the moon appears the adults send the boy up first where he discovers the surface is covered in stars. No words are used, but the grunting adults clearly indicate that they have very different opinions of what’s best for the young protagonist. Whether it’s the way we wears his hat, or how he clears the stars, both think their way is superior. All of this is communicated through sound and gestures and something everyone can relate to.
The detail in every frame of this short is elegant and feels like it contains magic. The small shooting star that crashes into the moon lands, and skids and a small cloud of smoke blows off of it. When the giant shooting star lands, if fills the screen with its muted glow and there’s just something awesome about the whole scene. It’s the small details too, like, the look of surprise on the elders’ faces when their young offspring climbs atop the giant star and breaks it.
A Terrific Score
Michael Giacchino composed the score for “La Luna” and it’s beautiful. Any time I learn he’s composed the music for a movie or show, I know I’m going to enjoy it. This is no exception. His score is sweet and melodic and sounds like a lullaby. It fits with a nighttime theme, and while the short has elements of outer space built in, the score doesn’t even remotely touch on anything science fiction.
Form the gentle splash of the water when the boat’s anchor is dropped to the clinking echo of each star, the choice of sounds help to complete the story. I love the way the stars sound when they hit each other or are pushed around with the brooms. They sound like they’re made of glass. I also love when the boy taps the giant star, and it vibrates with a dull hum.
This short doesn’t use a bright, over the top palette, but that doesn’t mean it’s not colorful. The images in this nighttime setting are gorgeous and full of rich hues and tones. My favorite is the brilliant glow that comes from each star that covers the moon.
It’s going to take a lot for another short to top “La Luna.” I love this little film way more than I should, but I think, for good reasons. Pixar has always found wonderful ways to tell stories whether they’re feature length or short and sweet, and I will continue to look forward to each new installment.
Have you seen all of the Pixar short films? Do you have a favorite one? Let us know! Also, if you can’t wait to see the latest Pixar short “Bao,” be sure to check out the adorable clip.