Directed by: Enrico Casarosa
Produced by: Andrea Warren
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan, Sandy Martin
Run Time: 95 mins
Available on: Disney+
New Disney Pixar animation, Luca is set in the serene and beautiful seaside town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera and tells the coming-of-age story of two young sea monsters, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). Luca has been strictly instructed by his parents that a surface is a dangerous place where their kind are hunted by humans. Luca’s curiosity isn’t dimmed by the dangers, however, and he soon meets his new best friend Alberto. The two are set to experience the most exciting weekend of their lives together on the surface!
"Walking is just like swimming. But without fins. Or a tail. And also, there's no water. Otherwise, it's like the exact same thing."
Disney and Pixar’s newest animation, Luca was originally set for a theatre-only release but was released on Disney+ on June 18th due to the pandemic. The film follows the coming-of-age journey of its two main characters Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) as they become fast friends and discover their dream to see the world - the human world - on their very own Vespa. Having been confined to either their own world or the crumbling tower Alberto has made his home, the appeal of a Vespa is enough to fuel their adventures to one of the most dangerous places they could go to. A human town.
Luca and Alberto are sea monsters, harmless and not in the slightest bit aggressive, but their kind is feared and hated by humans. Feeling confined and trapped under the sea, Luca’s curiosity gets the best of him when he starts to collect human items like an alarm clock and a spanner. When Alberto comes to grab the gramophone before Lucacan, he takes Luca to the surface, and he experiences the human world for the first time. After a brief montage of Luca returning again and again to the surface, we see a friendship between him and Alberto form and their dream of owning a Vespa and travelling by themselves starts to take root.
Luca’s parents find out about the trips to the surface and threaten to send him to the deep with his uncle, a talkative and slightly strange character. This is the last thing Luca wants and fuels his escape plan. Moving to the surface with Alberto and hiding in the nearby town of Portorosso seems pretty foolproof to the boys, besides the whole risk of getting caught and killed by humans that is. At least they figure Luca’s parents won't come looking for him there. We’re soon introduced to Ercole (Saverio Raimondo), Portorosso’s local bully who makes it his mission to win the race each summer and hold it over the heads of the other kids.
Luca and Alberto team up with Giulia (Emma Berman) to win the race and end Ercole’s reign of terror and end up becoming a close-knit group that gets through doubts from others, intense race training and even betrayal to emerge the other side of the race victorious even after being discovered as sea monsters. The three manage to unite humans and sea monsters in the town and end the fear of each other in a wholesome ending to a light-hearted and heart-warming film. Luca is fit for anyone to watch and enjoy and is definitely one worth checking out!
Luca is free of any kind of romance between any of the characters, (although how cute are Luca and Alberto?) and focuses on the friendships formed between Luca, Alberto, and Giulia - perhaps one of the features that makes it so wholesome to watch. While the ending isn’t as emotional as it perhaps could have been, it still closes the film nicely and ties up the loose ends neatly. Luca heads off to school while Alberto stays with Giulia’s dad to help with his fishing business. Everyone got their happy ending and has gone on to experience more new things, except perhaps Ercole but I don’t think anyone is particularly worried about that!
Directed by Enrico Casarosa, previously known for La Luna and The Good Dinosaur, the film takes on a warm feel which is matched by the incredible visuals. Luca is an incredibly strong directing debut for Enrico Casarosa. It’s clear that a lot of passion went into creating this film and it really shines through in the final product. Paired with the cast, known for a variety of different films from IT to Shazam to Shrek, Luca really shows the talent and chemistry of the actors without us even having to see them. The film’s soundtrack also adds another layer to the story, bringing the audience right back to the Italian setting which just adds to the entire atmosphere that the film gives off.
If you haven’t already, make sure to give Luca a watch on Disney+ - no premier access needed - and let us know what you think! Keep an eye out for some of the hidden gems in the film too, the Pixar ball can be seen at one point, as can the Pizza Planet truck! Give Flare Magazine a follow on social media too to keep up with the new films, music and tv shows coming out and get in touch if you’re releasing something new!
"Some people, they’ll never accept him. But some will and he seems to find the good ones."
Words by Chloe Pollard.