You often hear the expression “Lightning in a Bottle” to describe a successful project that seemed doomed to fail. But a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Circuit film called Lightning in a Bottle takes the expression literally, resulting in a product that is unironically worthy of the same phrase. Prepare to be dazzled.
A young boy has set a trap for lightning, with a mason jar and a lid with a lightning rod attached. In the middle of a thunderstorm, he catches a young ball of energy who mimics his actions and reaches out to the edge of the jar to try and touch its human captor. But when the sky demands the spark back, the boy will have to make a choice of keeping his sparkly pet or letting it go.
Lightning in a Bottle comes from Virgilio John Aguino, a Modeler who has been with Disney Animation for over 25-years working on films as far back as Hercules and as recent as Frozen II. His love for Disney Animation started when he saw the Donald Duck short Trick-Or-Treat as a child in the Philippines where Halloween wasn’t part of the culture. Lightning in a Bottle had an unintentional serendipitous effect on Frozen II, which was able to use the lightning effects created for this short.
Lightning in a Bottle captures the pure joy and childlike wonderment of nature. It reminded me of warm summer nights from my childhood in my backyard with a jar to catch lightning bugs. The boy in the short may be on a much bigger hunt than I ever was, but his enthusiasm for the catch captures a similar nostalgic feel that took me back to simpler times.
I give Lightning in a Bottle 5 out of 5 safety goggles.
You can see Lightning in a Bottle when it premieres exclusively on Disney+
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.