Review: Disney Pixar’s Luca

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Disney Plus has had decent success with its straight-to-streaming launches some for adults and others for families or kids. Luca comes in with a made-for-summer coming-of-age story for the family and adults alike.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares these adventures with his friend, Alberto, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world below the water’s surface. “Luca” is directed by Enrico Casarosa and produced by Andrea Warren.

Review

Ah the Italian Riviera, the ocean, a beautiful seaside town, fresh pasta. Oh and the sea monsters; wait what? Luca follows the story of a young boy, of the same name, who just wants to know what’s on the surface. You see he is a sea creature and his parents forbid him from going to the surface where they fear humans would kill them. Quickly Luca meets another boy who also happens to be a sea creature but he spends his time on the surface. Together they dream of riding a Vespa around the world seeing new places and meeting new people. And then the fun begins.

Like most Pixar films, the story includes some hidden humor that could be lost on a younger audience, but for the rest, it makes the scenes all the funnier. A great example is when the boys learn to speak phrases in Italian and you end up getting just about every type of cheese mentioned instead. This story even in its more serious moments finds ways to lay in a nervous sense of humor that you just can’t help cracking a smile at. The villain of this story is your stereotypical obnoxious Italian bully who thinks he’s better than everyone else and has a small group with him that he bosses is around. The boys enter a race, alongside a friend they have met in the human world named Giulia.

Don’t think that this story won’t tug at your heartstrings though. Funny moments aside, there are moments around Alberto’s past and Luca’s growing friendships that will leave you feeling like a kid again. Let’s talk about the animation for a moment. Pixar has always had amazing talent when it comes to animating its films. For Luca, the crew scouting locations in Italy were able to recreate the town and the feeling of a small Italian Riviera town on the water with great detail.

Let us not forget to give a shout-out to the MVPs of the story though: Giulia’s cat and Mona Lisa the fish. That poor cat went through hell knowing full well what Luca and Alberto were and getting stopped at every turn where it could have revealed their identity. And poor Mona Lisa just wanted to smile with some fish in her mouth and do some horizontal sheep-fish swimming away from the pack but I don’t think Luca was cut out to be a fish-herder.

This coming of age story is yet another great film in Pixar’s library that will be rewatched for many years. It’s cute, heartwarming, funny, and fresh all rolled into this one phrase: What’s Wrong With You Stupido! Go and see Luca!

Luca premiered exclusively on Disney+ Friday. So gather your family together and sit down for a fun summer story.

Robert Prentice