Luca, the next Pixar film is a coming-of-age story with a little more behind the scenes. Set in the country landscape of Italy, Pixar releases another charming movie fun for the entire family, but is lackluster compared to many of its masterpieces.

Luca sets the stage with a young sea monster named Luca, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, who lives an adventure-less life collecting fish on a day-to-day basis where he lives with his mom Daniela (Maya Rudolph) and his father Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan). With Luca’s desire to discover the human world he begins finding various means of escaping his fishy fate, where he eventually meets his best friend to be Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), a carefree and adventurous spirit. The two’s endearing friendship explores their coming of age adventure in the human world exploring the stunning Italian seaside. Their journey will easily get anyone in the mood for traveling as the two spend their time eating ice cream, devouring pasta, and going on picturesque bike rides. Eventually, their lives become more complicated as they encounter Giulia (Emma Berman) who is in competition in an Italian triathlon against local town bully Ercole (Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo). Overall the movie is fun to watch with a feel-good theme throughout, but it lacks the punch of emotional depth of other Pixar films.

This deeply personal film was inspired by director Enrico Casarosa’s childhood in Genoa, Italy. The film’s core is a celebration of friendship targeted towards the ones that change lives and open up a world of opportunities and help you grow up. Casarosa’s childhood friend Alberto, who Alberto is based on, voices a fisherman in the Italian dubbed version. The movie takes a lot of inspiration from local Italian folklore and myths for the creation of the sea creatures, which supposedly takes shape as a metaphor for feeling different. Being a magical reflection of Casarosa’s childhood, the film takes place in the 50/60s during the economic miracle. Because of this, the treats and scenery are a lovely sight to see and enjoy throughout the movie. With Miyazaki-inspired animation featuring many characteristics from his famous array of films, the town shares a similar name of Portorosso to Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso. The casting in the film was wonderfully done, where each actor in their own right greatly resembles the personality of the characters they play, often infusing the dreams of the characters. The music of the film resembles an ensemble of beautiful Italian music, whether inspired or not it adds greatly to the atmosphere of the film as you sit back and enjoy the movie. 

Many themes can be pulled from the film. Focusing on ideas of openness, showing oneself, and self-acceptance, in addition to the idea of community acceptance. The film explores the idea of viewing different ideas from different perspectives and exploring things for oneself to come to a conclusion. Many who have seen the film can take away the allegory of sea monsters and their identities for the LGBTQ+ community. Many parallels have been made to Luca Guadagnino’s film Call Me by Your Name, however, Casarosa has admitted that all comparisons are coincidental. Though it is a great message to take away from the film and adds a welcome addition to Pixar films. Overall Luca is a beautiful film with a charming nature, nice message, and rates a solid 4 stars.

Check out the review for Netflix’ Shadow and Bone!