REVIEW: ‘Luca’, a funny and heartfelt story | fashions
Pixar’s latest animated adventure “Luca” doesn’t chart new courses, but still delivers a healthy experience that the whole family will enjoy.
Pixar films are often full of important and well-meaning messages that transcend ages, but just as often are too confusing with a plot that interferes with the themes. Sometimes less is more. “Luca” won’t be confused with minimalist storytelling, but its story is relatively straightforward – a curious boy wants to see the world outside of his small frame. As it turns out, this boy, the titular Luca, just happens to be a sea monster living in the waters just outside of a small Italian village that absolutely despises sea monsters.
Luca follows in the path of similar Disney protagonists, including the equally overwhelmed Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” defying his parents’ bossy demands to stay close to home by visiting the forbidden lands above. There, he meets another of his kind, Alberto, who speaks fast enough to convince the naive Luca that he knows all about the world. Barely meeting this new sea monster, Luca knows nothing about Alberto, except that he is well informed and is waiting for his father to return from a visit to the underwater gas station to fetch a gallon of milk.
As the sea monsters undergo the “change”, becoming human while on land, Luca and Alberto quickly begin to explore the human village of Italy around the 1960s. They become friends with an energetic young girl. , Giulia, and soon run into the town’s bully, Giacomo. The trio embark on a quest to win a local race that involves swimming, eating lots of pasta, and riding bikes. There’s only one problem: Every time Luca and Alberto get wet, their true forms are revealed, and this town really hates sea monsters.
The inclusion of Giacomo as the film’s primary antagonist seems almost forced. He’s such a larger-than-life character compared to the rest of the cast – including the sea monsters – that he feels out of place. The film doesn’t need its character at all, as the central conflict of discovering yourself and fighting the prejudices of others is enough to carry the water of the story without having to force an unnecessary opponent.
The story is simple and follows a journey that will be familiar to all but the youngest of viewers. And while the themes of friendship, maturity, and acceptance are generally simple and superficial, “Luca” handles everything well and wraps it into an entertaining whole that is sustained by the sum of its parts.
What “Luca” lacks in originality in the storytelling department, he makes up for by the originality of its setting. There is something authentic – almost magical – about the film’s Italian coastal setting. Between the bright, vivid colors and the art direction that focuses on the contrast of the rustic classic human village with the incredible underwater visuals, “Luca” manages to present a visual feast for the eyes that is so warm and inviting – as if it was a childhood memory brought to life. Perhaps director Enrico Casarosa brought up some of his childhood memories for this free-spirited adventure film.
Whenever a new Pixar movie comes out, many often immediately wonder where it belongs in the studio pantheon. “Luca” doesn’t invoke ambition from earlier films like “Up,” but it doesn’t need to. Very often the public is obsessed with the idea of looking deeper into something more. We look into the depths, looking for sea monsters to analyze and separate. “Luca” is not the kind of film that forces its audience to dive into the depths of Luca and his family. It’s a simple, fun animated adventure movie that almost feels like a throwback to old Disney classics. He’s got a lot of heart, and that’s really all that matters.
“Luca” is available now on Disney +.
Josh Rouse lives in Lawton and writes a weekly review for The Lawton Constitution.