Luca is a 2021 computer-animated fantasy comedy produced by Pixar Animation Studios and is a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old sea monster curious about the world above the sea. Luca stars the voices of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman and Maya Rudolph and is exclusively available to stream on Disney+.
Luca is set on the beautiful seaside town of Portorosso and follows a young boy who experiences an unforgettable summer. He shares his adventures with his best friend, but all of their fun is threatened when his real identity as a sea monster is threatened. Luca is essentially a coming-of-age story whereby the lead character attempts to figure out his true identity. The premise is simple and safe, but with stunning visuals and great characters, Luca proves to be Pixar’s latest hit.
Visually, Luca may just be one of Pixar’s greatest films to date! From the detailed individual scales visible on the sea monsters, to the sunlight delicately shimmering on the surface of the water, Luca is almost photorealistic at times! I was particularly amazed with the seamless animations of the characters’ transformations from sea monsters to humans. These animations are so effortless to watch and feel so natural. Likewise, the character design of both the sea monsters and humans are fantastic; each variation of the character is vastly different in appearance, yet are instantly recognisable as their counterpart.
The town of Portorosso is equally as beautifully well designed and it’s a town with so much character. From the winding cobbled streets to the authentic main square in the town where everyone hangs out, Pixar did a fantastic job at recreating a vibrant and realistic town on the Italian Riviera. The town is stereotypically Italian, take the gelato shop and annual pasta eating competition for example, but all these stereotypes are done in good taste. As a result, Portorosso is one of the most mesmerising locations Pixar have created to date.
Through a combination of its setting, themes and dazzling visuals, Luca has a great summer vacation feel to it. Watching the characters explore the vividly coloured town of Portorosso and soak up the culture for the first time certainly gave me the itch to want to go travelling! Much like how many people watch Frozen around Christmas time, I can absolutely imagine people watching Luca to get them in the mood for their summer vacation.
Jacob Tremblay voices lead character Luca Paguro, with Jack Dylan Grazer voicing his best friend, Alberto Scorfano. The two main characters are likeable and I really enjoyed watching their friendship develop over the course of the film. Saverio Raimondo voices the local bully of Portorosso and the film’s main antagonist, Ercole Visconti. His character provides for plenty of laughs throughout, but he’s not exactly a character you’d deem a villain. Due to the nature of the film, Luca has a bit of a youthful feel to it and hence the direction for the main antagonist being more of a bully than villain makes sense.
Luca’s plot is a bit simple and does end up becoming a little predictable in the latter stages of the film. It’s a stark contrast from Pixar’s last feature length film Soul, which has one of the most complex and thought-provoking plots of any Disney film ever. Granted simplicity isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, but Luca feels like it’s aimed at a much younger audience than the likes of Soul, or even Onward for that matter. There’s still plenty within Luca for audiences of all ages to enjoy, it’s just a shame that its simplicity makes the plot a little predictable.
With dazzling visuals, outstanding characters and one of the best settings of any Pixar film ever, Luca is undoubtedly the feel-good film of the summer.