Director: Enrico Casarosa
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Marco Barricelli and Maya Rudolph
It’s hard to comprehend and come to terms with the new Pixar film coming exclusively to Disney Plus. Soul was a nice surprise for Christmas, but I don’t think anyone was expecting the next film to come to Disney Plus, with just a very limited cinema release. That’s just the world we live in now, where streaming rules supreme.
Luca is a young sea-monster who yearns of the world beyond his confined routine. It’s a typical Disney/Pixar set up and one that still hasn’t gotten old. One day, when following another sea monster called Alberto, Luca stumbles across the surface and finds that he can turn human on land. Together they explore the new world above the sea. That is until Luca’s parents discover his secret and the two best friends end up running away.
Firstly, it cannot be stressed enough that this is a beautiful film. The colours are gorgeous and vibrant. Pixar has an extremely high standard when it comes to animation, and they haven’t let themselves down with Luca. It is simply stunning to watch. You can almost feel the heat coming off the screen, and it makes you feel like you’re on holiday. It’s a real shame that this isn’t getting a wide release in cinemas, as the visuals beg to be watched on the big screen.
It’s a lot more intimate and small scale compared to other Pixar films. It’s a coming of age tale, that would feel at home among Studio Ghibli films. It’s charming to watch and entertaining. Instead of there being grand stakes, Luca centres around a race in a small Italian coastal town. The villain, Ercole Visconti is a bully and someone you can’t wait to watch be defeated in the race. If Luca, Alberta and their new human companion Giulia can beat him, then the two sea monsters will have enough money to buy a Vespa and be free to continue there adventure of exploration.
Luca is a film that deals with some tough themes. It’s about people not belonging, the fear that comes with parenthood of children not being safe and it looks at the way people judge others by generalisations. This is all very evident in the film, but it never actually tackles these head on. The resolution comes very quickly and without much conflict. That’s not always a bad thing, but it could have been an incredibly powerful film about acceptance and not judging others by their race, religion or any other descriptive that separates us. It just doesn’t reach the heights that other Pixar films have done.
That being said, the film is very entertaining and that’s what matters most. It’s funny and charming, with a whole collection of brilliant characters. Some of which I’m sure will become icons of Pixar in future years. This is something the whole family can watch together and has enough laughs and silliness for children while also having the more developed characters that Pixar is so well known for.
Luca is definitely not the strongest of Pixar’s output, but it’s not a bad film by any stretch. It’s fun to watch, and adults and children alike will have a great time, bathing in the beauty of coastal Italy. And as I mentioned there’s even parts that feel like a Ghibli film, with the Italian and small town setting. It’s charming and an enjoyable film, it’s just not going to stand tall among some of Pixar’s earlier films.