Luxo Jr. – Disney+ Talk

Luxo Jr. - Disney+ Talk

Pixar is one of the leading companies in the CGI animation industry and have created numerous beloved and award-winning films that I not only love but are loved around the world. So, it may come as a surprise that I have never seen their very first short film ‘Luxo Jr.’.

‘Luxo Jr.’ is a 2-minute short, following two desk lamps. In the film the smallest lamp, Luxo Jr., excitedly finds a small bouncy ball. However, in its excitement, breaks it. Feeling guilty, it then hops offscreen and manages to find another, bigger, ball.

The short is essentially a comedy skit as well as a demonstration of what the company could create so they could earn financial backing to get Pixar off the ground. And, for a first animated short, it’s extremely impressive. Even 30 years later, the models still look incredible and life-like. Even the lighting still looks fantastic.

Overall, this was a window into what was to be expected of Pixar, in terms of quality. Furthermore, it was a window into how they’d animate inanimate objects to have feelings (a technique that was used for their first feature-length film ‘Toy Story’). The lamps don’t talk, so only communicate through whistling and body language. Again, the latter was important to get right and was later incorporated into 2008’s ‘Wall-E’.

The short is also important because it gave way to two Pixar staples. The first one to note is Luxo Jr. itself, which would become the company’s mascot; the logo in this short is a grey square with a small circle in it. Even the act of the lamp jumping onto the ball and deflating it would be used for Pixar’s opening logo sequence, replacing the ball with the letter ‘I’ in the company name.

Even the whistling sounds as it bounces have stayed throughout the decades. Another aspect to note is the small ball that is deflated (now known as the ‘Luxo Ball’). While it doesn’t appear in every Pixar film, the yellow and blue ball has made numerous appearances, most recently in 2020’s ‘Onward’.

If you have 2 minutes to spare, and want to see some Pixar history, then I would recommend ‘Luxo Jr.’. For a demonstration of the animator’s skills, it said a lot to what they could achieve, and opened a window into what they would be capable of doing.

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Megan’s taste in films are interesting: her favourite films are ‘Space Jam’, Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’, as well as horror films ‘Saw’, ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’. When she’s not watching films, she’ll be spending precious hours playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.


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