Luca (2021)

Title: Luca
Year: 2021
Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy |
Runtime: 95 min
Director: Enrico Casarosa
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman
A young boy experiences an unforgettable seaside summer on the Italian Riviera filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the ocean’s surface.


Pixar does it again with Luca, an animated adventure in Italy, about friendship and underdogs. It’s one of the most formidable and one of the charming stories that Pixar has delivered for a long time. For once, it’s not about talking animals that are in focus but humans disguised as sea monsters. Not dangerous though,  but friendly and a little shy. Shy because Luca and his friend Alberto comes to a town that kills sea monster.

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It’s crammed with Italian culture and cliché but still original enough and charming enough to have an emotional impact. There’s a fine balance used between drama and comedy.  But it’s a good-feeling adventure where it’s mostly a lighthearted one. The film also shed some light on the underdogs, those who don’t fit in a society and that the respect they earn to be given. This proof that the acceptance of all kind of people is worth in the end and reflects as well on our society, like racism and antisemitism but in form of the neglect of sea monsters instead. There’s a deep theme within friendship and parenthood on accepting their children’s age on leaving, which is so obviously present in this film.

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The characters development paired with respective lead actors feel natural and it has a charming exposure to it as well. Jacob Trembley and Jack Dylan Grazer lend their voices to Luca and Alberto respectively. There’s nothing strange to it and works great. The Italian clichées are coming at a high rate. The small Italian surburb reflects the story well and the ambition of the character and the pace goes hand in hand, even with some twist. The animation is one of the best and it feels authentic to what an Italian little town would look like during the summer.  The story about winning a competition to fulfil the dream of owning a Vespa is partly present in most of the plot where it takes over most of the film. It has a good and consistent plot even if the exaggeration by the third act exhilarate the exposure of who Luca and Alberto really are.

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On the downside, the pace is a little slow in the beginning and one-dimensional villain but once it gets going it has a formidable pace, with comedy pin-points and dramatic efforts where friendships are on the line. It has a similar charm to what Ratatouille gave to Paris where the authentic city feeling came as part of the plot. It’s the same here and it embraces the story and fulfils its part. However, it’s a summer movie that has a charming story about two teenage boys trying to explore the world even if some things do change along the way.

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