Updated: Sep 21, 2021
When it comes to Pixar, the animated studio has made many colorful worlds; from ones filled with lively toys to others with superheroes. While the studio has made an array of magical worlds, they also taken much inspiration from various cultures of the real world, from the locations seen in of Finding Nemo to the mysticism surrounding Brave and Coco. In the case of their new film,Luca, Pixar has decided to both as movie visit the shores of Italy and shows what happens when a small island gets some aquatic tourists.
Directed by Enrico Casarosa, the film centers on Luca and Alberto (Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer) two sea monsters who set off on a journey to see the human world which leads the duo to a town where they meet and befriend a young girl named Giulia (Emma Berman). Along with being Casarosa’s directorial debut, the movie takes inspiration from several sources such as Casarosa’s childhood, Italian folklore and even the work of acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. The movie was originally meant to make a splash on the big screen but, at the last-minute, Disney decided to make the summer movie a Disney+ original. Seeing the previews, Luca looked to be an enjoyable, not to mention colorful, film and given Pixar’s track record there was a good chance this new movie would be a memorable experience. After seeing the film for myself, it is in this Film Adventure’s opinion that Luca definitely makes a splash.
Luca is a coming of a age tale. At its core, the plot centers on Luca and Alberto’s journey for independence and this point was an endearing aspect for the movie. Yet the story only went so far with its concepts. The underwater world was hardly touch upon while the conflict between humans and sea creatures was not fully explored-though it did provide the right dilemma for the story. Furthermore the film’s plot points were fairly standard in concept as it was not difficult to see how the story would play out. Despite its straightforward nature, the story had a good sense of morality as the themes, though simple, were easy to get behind. Between that and the plot's solid center these attributes were enough to make this fish out of water story a heartfelt tale that was easy enough to enjoy.
When it came to the title character, Luca was likeable. The young sea monster’s curiosity was matched by his insecure nature and his development was effective in making Luca a layered protagonist. Matching Luca was Alberto whose eccentric demeanor and personal conflict gave the character an enigmatic charisma, and Grazer’s performance truly shined in making this sea monster a captivating character. Together the duo were formidable pair that complimented one another. In the case Giulia, the young girl was a fine addition for the film as her bold personality made her equally as enjoyable as both Luca and Alberto. The supporting characters were also a delight despite having little development. Both of Luca’s parents Daniela and Lorenzo (Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan) were not most intriguing of characters but they did have their moments; while the devious Ercole Visconte (Saverio Raimondo) was as basic as a villain could get but he was fun to watch and Raimondo”s performance made this outrageous antagonist shine in all of his scene. Along with a shady feline, this cast was as enlightening as any of Pixar's ensembles as this small group embody the value of characterization and fun performances.
The world of Luca was a colorful one. The animation was vibrant in both design and style and shined in moments such as Luca’s daydreams which showcased the animation’s colorful nature. The animation also created an engaging aesthetics to the movie’s setting. Along with matching the movie's style, there also a definitive look to the town which gave a realistic aspect to the cartoon world. Also helping this vibrant world was the music by Dan Romer. Along with featuring a soothing and youthful melody, the score was thematic for the film’s setting which made it the perfect companion to this animated feature.
Luca is another delight from Pixar. While it could be too simplistic in its delivery, the movie made up for it with good themes and enjoyable characters. Along with this was the movie’s wonderful animation that not only lived to studio’s tenure but brought something new with its unique designs and brilliant execution. Luca, in many ways, is a refreshing animated film that shows the value of subtlety and style, making it not just stellar film for Pixar but an enjoyable splash for the summer season.