New to Disney+ this week is the animated coming-of-age movie, Luca. The film – the latest entry in the Disney-Pixar collection – follows the story of an Italian sea monster called Luca, who discovers a whole new world of fun and adventure when he sets foot above the ocean.
In the movie, Luca is a teenager who lives in the sea with his mother, father, and grandmother. Luca follows the rules set out by his parents, conducts his daily chores, and lives a safe, if somewhat uneventful existence under the water.
Then one day, Luca meets Alberto – a fellow sea monster. Shortly after making friends, Alberto takes Luca up to the surface, where he discovers that on dry land his species shed their scaly complexion and take on human form.
Excited and intrigued by this new revelation, Luca begins to spend more time out of the sea, and quickly forms a strong bond with Alberto. But it is a bond which is set to be broken, when Luca’s parents learn of their son’s dangerous expeditions.
Worried about his safety, Luca’s mother and father make arrangements for him to move to the darkest depths of the ocean, to live with his uncle. They believe that time away from the temptation of the surface world, will help him to forget about this other way of life.
But they are mistaken, and now that Luca has experienced a taste of pastures new, he is unable to turn his back on dry land. And keen to learn more about the world around him, Luca runs away with Alberto to a nearby town, where they hope to pass for human and blend in with the locals.
Directed by Enrico Casarosa, Luca features the voice talents of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Maya Rudolph. The film was originally intended for cinemas (until COVID-19 got in the way), but landed on Disney+ today, where it is available to stream as part of the standard subscription fee.
Should you watch it? Of course you should.
This is Disney-Pixar film which means it is almost certainly guaranteed to be worth your time; but you should also check it out because Luca is a delightful tale about friendship and about happiness. It is a movie designed to whisk adults back to a more carefree time, when friends and self-discovery were all that mattered, while for younger audiences it brings colourful characters, plenty of chuckles, and a real sense of wonder to the screen.
Luca arrives at a point in time when international travel is restricted. The pandemic is still causing major issues for the travel industry worldwide, and many of us can only dream about jetting away to a beach to soak up the sun.
If you are one of the many people who really could do with a sun-drenched holiday right now, then I urge you to pop Luca on your tele-box. Half-an-hour of this movie and no matter what the weather is like outside your window, you will feel as if you are living it up in the sun, in an exquisite coastal town in Italy.
For almost the majority of this movie, Luca is bathed in a warm glow. This glow captures the essence of an Italian summer and is unlike anything I have ever seen in an animated feature.
I know it goes without saying it at this point, as Disney-Pixar continues to excel in the visual effects department, but wow – this movie is stunning to look at. Its colour palette is luscious, its use of lighting is amazing, and its backgrounds are incredibly detailed.
Based on pure visuals alone, Luca is a winner – so, thumbs up for the look of the movie. But the thumbs remain up for the story too, which is just perfect.
In terms of its narrative, Luca isn’t the strongest Disney-Pixar movie, this is true, and certainly can’t compete with the likes of Soul (2020) or Inside Out (2015), but the film’s light approach to storytelling really works in its favour. This is essentially a ‘fish out of water’ tale, that understands its strength lies in the connection between the lead characters, rather than worrying about a complex narrative, and this is where it really delivers.
The relationship between Luca and Alberto is at the heart of this tale and is where the real meat can be found. Their relationship is what drives the story forward, and also ensures that this is a picture with multiple readings.
Some will view this movie as a story about two teens who become best pals, while on a journey of self-discovery. For others, this is an LGBTQ+ tale about two teens who develop romantic feelings for each other.
Both readings are valid. You will take different things away from this movie, depending on how you approach it, and that is the sign of a good tale.
For me, Luca is a confident picture, which delivers time and time again. It is a movie that brings adventure and escapism to the screen, which is something we all crave, and is the perfect summer film.
Kids will love it; adults will find plenty to enjoy, and its themes will resonate with different audiences. So, do yourself a favour, give it a watch, and get lost in the journey – you really need this right now.