Hawai’i has been a muse for artists of all genres. Photographers, poets, painters, singers and songwriters, jewelers, and most recently animators have found inspiration in all things Hawaiian.
Pixar Animation Studios showcased their homage to the islands with “Lava,” an animated short that debuted with “Inside Out,” their most recent full-length movie. Hear about James Ford Murphy’s creative process in the following video:
Our take? Pixar’s short could have been two or three minutes shorter. Murphy’s song — both the lyrics and music — falls flat in comparison with the stunning animated sequences. Murphy said he “learn(ed) enough of the ukulele to build the song around,” and that good-enough mentality seems to have made its way to the writing, where the bold songwriter dared to pair such lines as “I have a dream, I hope it will come true … // … You are here with me, I am here with you.”
I drew on a napkin a volcano with a face on it, and I just wrote the line ‘I lava you’ … and I thought, ‘there’s a story there.’
James Ford Murpy
Murphy takes his inspiration from Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow,” and taps the talents of local artists Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig. But why employ such accomplished musicians without letting them compose, let alone play their own instruments?
That being said, the animated short — like all things Pixar — is viewer gold. Two unofficial videos have been seen nearly 5 million times since they were posted a month ago. We just hope that Disney’s based-in-Hawai’i film “Moana,” due out in 2016, goes a long way toward redemption for the islands.
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: forever an inspiration