But my biggest problem is that the story is weak. There’s nothing wrong with a simple story, but I feel this one and [The Blue Umbrella]‘s are too simple. Think of Presto: Everything that happens comes from Alec’s desperate desire for that carrot and Presto’s reluctance to give it to him. Every action comes from the characters’ choices. Whereas in both Lava and Umbrella things just happen to our characters. Boy Volcano wants a girl Volcano but doesn’t get her until he suddenly does. There’s no character growth, no arc. There’s no story. It’s just things happening on screen.
This is very weird, since Pixar is all about story. Their best shorts are all great little stories: Two One Man Bands compete for a coin but they’re so fed up in their competition they lose the coin. Some mean birds make fun of the larger bird and get their comeuppance. A stork is annoyed by the dangerous animals his cloud provides and learns how to deal with it. These are all very simple stories told in effective ways through visual storytelling. And Lava and Umbrella are missing that
excerpt from “My Problem With Pixar’s ‘Lava’ by Pablo Ruiz
i was having a hard time wording what made Lava and The Blue Umbrella so dull to me so i’m thankful to Ruiz for doing it (it’s cool that he wrote this, being a self-proclaimed “Pixar fanboy” and all)