Luca (voice of Jacob Tremblay) is a 123-year-old young sea creature who yearns for a life bigger than the fishing job he’s been doing. Not unlike a certain red-haired mermaid (wink, wink), she finds treasures on the surface and longs to explore them against her parents’ wishes.
One day, Luca meets Alberto (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer), a sea creature who invites him to explore the surface. Changing into human form on dry land, the two meet up with the human town of Portorosso, where they hope to get a scooter and travel the world together.
After a run-in with some thugs, the two meet a young woman named Giulia (voice of Emma Berman), who wants to win the Portorosso Cup after an embarrassing result last year. if they win the cup, the boys will be able to buy their own vespa… that is if luca’s parents don’t find him first… and stay away from the water… and if no one else finds out what they are.
“Luca” is a much simpler effort from Pixar, with a fairly low-key story. however, despite the lack of sophistication and no strong antagonist per se, it still retains a genuine, charming and sincere emotional undertone. the last third of the film, in particular, does a fantastic job of bringing the characters and the conflict in general full circle. the ending also goes in a slightly unexpected direction.
The animation conveys a unique vibe, blending the style of the Disney/Pixar house with hints of inspiration from Aardman and Hayao Miyazaki. The Italian Riviera setting is very cozy and picturesque, with lots of great camera shots. Dan Romer’s musical score does a good job of mixing great orchestral themes with some Italian touches, as well as elevating the film’s most emotional moments.
With only 84 minutes without credits, “luca” moves very well while saving time to help develop his characters. The voice acting (Grazer and Jim Gaffigan stand out) is solid across the board. humor also works in some areas.
The downside is that the underwater home of Luca and his family has not been explored enough. perhaps one more scene would have been useful to give a clearer idea of where it came from.
the central theme of “luca” is acceptance. And while it’s a theme that’s been explored in different contexts in different animated movies over the past decade, there’s an added layer to it. When it comes to the eventual reveal of the identities of Luca and Alberto, their acceptance is based on their personal character traits, not their outward appearance. This is modeled at the end by Giuliana’s father. he starts out as an avid hunter of “anything that swims”. however, after meeting luca and alberto and seeing how good friends they are for his daughter, he sets aside his prejudices and defends them.
This struck me as a very strong parallel to Samuel’s words in 1 Samuel 16, which clearly discusses the perspective of how everyone should be treated, regardless of their appearance
“do not look at his appearance or his physical stature, because I have rejected him. because the lord does not see as man sees; because man looks at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7
The film also touches on the positive themes of individuality, true friendship, and the importance of having strong, loving parents.
language: no profanity, even if someone says “oh… sharks!” and “mother of pearl!” in a way that is meant to wink at something stronger. “stupid”, “jerk”, and “idiot” are thrown around as insults.
mature content: none.
Violence: Alberto and Luca attempt a handful of dangerous stunts that usually involve close calls and falls from precarious heights into the water. some harpoons are used for occasional kill attempts but never hit their intended target. a cat attacks luca and alberto on a couple of occasions (we see scratches on his face after an incident). some other slapstick situations include falling down, being hit, kicked, etc. one bully throws punches and throws others aside. Giulia’s dad cuts off the fish heads. someone mentions the murder at one point.
drugs/alcohol: wine is seen in a case.
other: of course, the plot of the movie is based on luca and alberto sneaking around and disobeying the authority. they also lie and cheat others repeatedly. we see egregious table manners and hear short jokes about body odor and vomiting. a couple of painful decisions are made. a father apparently abandons his teenage son. meanwhile, the human characters show prejudice, fear, and contempt for sea creatures. and, sea creatures apparently have the ability to magically change shape (but it’s not explained).
In more than 25 years of making feature films, Pixar Animation Studios has continued to create excellent films featuring well-developed, memorable characters and compelling, moving stories. While “Luca” may have a lighter tone, focus, and plot than many of the studio’s other efforts, I was personally glued and engaged from start to finish. Director Enrico Casarosa infuses this particular effort with a distinctive and beautiful visual palette, a charming premise, an authentic, children’s book-like setting, and heartfelt, heartfelt characters delivered the way only Pixar can. /p>
Families will be happy to know that “luca” has no content concerns. the violence remains on the slapstick side, and there’s no crude humor, mature content, or truly scary situations. Luca and Alberto’s disobedient decisions may require a conversation with the children before the movie. but aside from that (and a few insults), there’s little here that’s considered problematic. and the film’s strong messages about genuine friendship and acceptance could also lead to strong biblical conversations.
In the end, “Luca” is a simple, colourful, heartfelt and memorable effort from Pixar, and I can’t wait to see it again.
- Violence: Mild
- Nudity: Minor
- Drugs/Alcohol: Minor
- Profane Language: None
- vulgar /raw language: none
- sex: none
- hidden: none
see the list of relevant topics: questions and answers.