Luca Review: Pixar’s Endearing, Predictable Tribute to Youth, Gelato & Vespa
Pixar’s latest CGI fantasy is an endearing, yet completely predictable coming-of-age story. Luca tells the story of two adolescent sea monsters, who pose as human children and discover “la dolce vita” in a picturesque Italian town by the sea. They gobble up pasta, sip ice cream and dream of owning a Vespa; that will take you around the world in style. Luca is a pastiche celebration of 1960s Italian culture, film and music. It’s a sweet and enjoyable experience to be sure, but without the dramatic weight of the classic movies from the historical animation studio.
Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay) is a green-scaled sea monster with gills and a tail. She herds fish to the bottom of the ocean under the watchful eye of her protective parents, Daniela (Maya Rudolph) and Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan). LucaHe is curious about the strange objects that come down from the surface of the water, but he warns that interacting with humans means certain death. A chance encounter with another sea monster boy, the rebellious Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer), leads to a shocking surprise. When they dry, their skin changes, the tails disappear, and they can impersonate humans.
Alberto and Luca investigate the nearby town of Portorosso. They quickly fall in love with her idyllic life of sun, food, and celebration. The boys want to escape their boring underwater existence on a Vespa. What they can achieve if they win the famous village marathon by swimming, cycling, and of course eating pasta. They find an ally in Giulia (Emma Berman) and a cruel adversary in the city’s hateful thug, Ercole (Saverio Raimondo). The boys must win the race while trying to hide their secret. The city has offered a significant reward if someone can catch or kill the legendary sea monsters.
Luca it takes the traditional plot of the mermaid, or in this case the mermen, and gives it a teenage twist. The moral here is to find your true self while facing unfair discrimination. There is also a subplot of jealousy and abandonment. Alberto, who you have the feeling really “likes” Luca, is annoyed when Guilia becomes the center of attention. Both boys have to accept their feelings in a strange new world. Everything unfolds exactly as expected, so there is never any doubt about the outcome of the story. The movie is vanilla in this sense. The narrative would have been better served with a few twists.
LucaThe beautiful animation is a ninety minute advertisement for Vespa and Italian tourism. I wanted to buy a scooter and a tub of ice cream after seeing the movie. Portorosso’s description of a simple life in a village will have audiences of all ages swooning. The producers do a fantastic job of capturing the romantic setting. They had originally wanted the legendary composer Ennio Morricone (The dollars trilogy, The Untouchables) for the score and soundtrack, but passed away before filming. Luca It serves as a fitting tribute to their work, lazy summer days, growth, and of course glorious Italy. Luca is a Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures production. It will have a world premiere on June 18 exclusively on Disney +.
Luca, Disney Plus, Streaming
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