Watch 'Luca' this weekend, fall in love with some monsters
Pixar is back with an emotional tale of friendship and self-discovery in the Disney+ animated production Luca. Directed by Enrico Casarosa, the storytelling is simple, the visual effects charmingly imperfect, and it is an out and out family-night watch. While some movies make us think, some are just meant to reinforce our faith in goodness. Luca falls under the second category. Here's our review.
The story begins with Luca (Jacob Tremblay), a young sea monster, who lives underwater near the Italian Riviera. Luca dutifully does his job and is obedient, but wishes to see what lies on the surface. Like Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid, he's forbidden to be curious, but we know how that goes. Fellow sea monster Alberto's (Jack Dylan Grazer) entry sets things in motion.
Luca discovers he can turn into a human as soon as he leaves the water. Amazed by human inventions, he falls in love with a Vespa, equating it with freedom. This quest leads Luca and Alberto to a triathlon race in a human village that might earn them a Vespa. They join forces with Guilia (Emma Berman), a feisty human girl, to achieve this.
A light-hearted movie, Luca gives us quite many laughs, be it his grandmother snoring or weird Uncle Ugo's cameo. But it's not devoid of threats. Even one drop of water can disclose the boys' identity and the entire village considers sea monsters dangerous. There's also Ercole, a Draco Malfoy-like villain with a superiority complex. Yet, Luca bears the promise of a happy ending.
Casarosa is greatly influenced by Studio Ghibli's 2D-inspired animations and takes good care to draw his figures less real, but more humane. The flora underwater bears resemblance with Loving Vincent, a movie made using frame-by-frame animation technique, and it's a visual delight. While kids will love this, it also has the potential to make adults soft. Don't miss the post-credit snippet though! Verdict: 3.5/5.
Ever since the trailer dropped, people have compared Luca to Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name. Both are set in Italy, focus on two boys/men through one summer. However, Casarosa has quashed these theories, maintaining, "I really wanted to talk about friendship."