In the Italian Riviera, there is a tiny fishing community, but under the sea (pun intended) some of the fish transform on land into humans. Enter Luca, a young boy who is swept away by a new friend Alberto who convinces him to leave the sea, something Luca’s parents strictly prohibited. The two friends develop a love for Vespa’s, entering into a race against the local champion for the chance at their own Vespa. But will their secret get out of what they really are, and will their friendship survive if Luca’s parents find out? With most Pixar films, you know what you are getting with the story, characters, and emotions. But with ‘Luca’ Pixar brings a unique warmth and easygoingness to their with beautiful animation and a simplified story of friendship and acceptance.
The easygoing nature of ‘Luca’ comes from its director Enrico Casarosa, who wanted to encapsulate what time with a friend over the course of summer was like for him growing up. Pixar has a new tradition in having storytellers head up projects that are incredibly personal and from their own experiences like ‘Inside Out’, or ‘Onward’ and ‘Luca’ feels just as personal.
Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer are beautifully paired. I loved their relationship and the arcs that it goes through in the story. It really has a universal feeling of when you had a best friend in the summer, and even goes a step further in some places to nod to the LGBTQI+ community, something that during Pride Month is very fitting in intentional or not. Other supporting characters like Luca’s parents played by Jim Gaffigan and Maya Rudolph are great, and a suprising voice that you may immediately recognize I loved and wish we got to see more of.
The story is very formulaic in the sense that we’ve seen very similar moments done in other Pixar or Disney films. I find ‘Luca’ brings a sense of calm to the genre and warmth that the other films may substitute for action or a well-developed villain. The villain in ‘Luca’ exists but is relatively harmless until the third act. The third act really makes me appreciate what Enrico Casarosa was doing and puts this as a recommendation from me.
Overall, ‘Luca’ is the perfect Summer friend flick. It celebrates inclusion, diversity, taking risks in life, and the bond of friendship. Check it out on Disney + this week!