‘Luca’ Review: A Warm and Simple Pixar Adventure

Pixar really saw they canceled the “Call Me By Your Name” sequel and said, “fine, I’ll do it myself.”

“Luca” is the latest effort from Disney-Pixar and follows two young sea monsters (Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer) who have the ability to turn into humans while on land, and enter a race in order to win money for a Vespa scooter. Emma Berman, Marco Barricelli, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, and Jim Gaffigan also lend their voices, while Enrico Casarosa makes his feature directorial debut.

Pixar had an interesting 2020, starting off the year with one of their weaker outings (and technical box office bomb) “Onward” before hitting a home run with the two-time Oscar winning “Soul.” Their latest effort “Luca,” which is skipping theaters and going right to Disney+, may not rank at the top of the company’s filmography but it’s still a very funny, beautifully shot and scored film.

Much like the Marvel films, it seems it is an obligatory rite of passage for actors at some point in their careers to voice in a Pixar film. Here Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer take their swings, and both do a great job. Tremblay plays the titular Luca with hesitancy but also ambition, and is a charming protagonist. Grazer steals his scenes as Luca’s new and rebellious best friend Alberto, and has several scenes that made me laugh out loud. The rest of the cast, some of which are lesser-known Italian actors, make the world feel lived in.

Set in the Italian Riviera around 1950, the film pops with color and energy. It just *feels* like summertime and the attention to detail by the animators, in both Italian culture and time period, is commendable, but at this point we expect nothing else from Pixar.

The film isn’t very demanding in its plot or character development, most all the story takes place in either the ocean or one small town and character’s goals are established early on. But not everything from Pixar has to be a ponderous “what if [blank] had feelings, too?”; sometimes comfort food is best.

I really enjoyed “Luca,” and it is the second-best animated film of 2021 so far behind “The Mitchells vs the Machines.” There’s plenty of laughs, heart, and color for all ages, and a welcome entry into Pixar’s library.

Critics Rating: 7/10

Walt Disney

One thought on “‘Luca’ Review: A Warm and Simple Pixar Adventure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s