Luca is the 24th animated film by animation studio Pixar after Soul, which was released last year. If Soul explores the world after death, midlife crisis, and passion, Luca is lighter conceptually. The film, directed by Enrico Cosarosa (La Luna), explores friendship, comfort zones, and summer vacations. At first glance, this film reminds us a little of Call Me By Your Name from director Luca Guadagnino, of course without its LGBT elements.
Luca , which airs exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar , follows the adventures of two teenagers named Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) in 1950s Italy. The two of them were not ordinary teenagers, but sea monsters that occasionally came ashore.
Tired of living in the depths of the ocean, Alberto invites Luca to get out of the ocean and settle in the city of Portorosso, on the coast of the Riviera Coast, Italy during the summer. In order not to cause a stir, the two took the initiative to disguise themselves as humans.
Alberto and Luca’s decision to come ashore takes them on various adventures typical of an Italian summer vacation. From tasting the cuisine of Spaghetti land to traveling around the city on a vespa, they do all the things that can’t be done at sea.
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Not to forget, they also get acquainted with a local girl named Giulia (Emma Berman) who guides them through Portorosso. Together with Giulia, the trio try to maximize their summer vacation by participating in the Portorosso tournament to earn money to buy a dream Vespa.
Summer holidays in Italy are not without challenges. While disguising themselves as humans, neither Luca nor Alberto should be splashed with water. If hit, their disguise will be exposed because their monster form will come out. The problem is, Portorosso is located on the beach which means water is everywhere.
The highlight of this film is clearly on his summer vacation in Italy. Director Enrico Cosarosa slickly displays what the summer experience in the Spaghetti country looks like . Sunbathing on the beach, walking around town eating gelato and munching on margherita pizza are just a few of them. There are still people traveling around the city on a Vespa, walking through the winding Portorosso, chatting with local residents, and jumping off a cliff into the blue sea. Exciting and sad at the same time because it makes you want to take a vacation during a pandemic like now.
The excitement of the summer experience cannot be separated from the way Pixar presents the city of Portorosso. This time, Pixar avoided the realistic style they used in their last two films, Toy Story 4 and Soul. Pixar returns to Coco’s more cartoonish art style . The result is a city that looks vibrant and colorful, just like summer. This is complemented by representations of Italian citizens whose hands are known to be expressive.
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Luca’s underwater setting is actually just as good, as what was in the films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory . However, exploration of the underwater world is not Luca’s main focus . The main focus of this film is the fish out of the water experience (pun intended), daring to get out of your comfort zone, on vacation, and experience new things that turn out to be exciting.
Unfortunately, Luca’s idiosyncrasies stop there. Story- wise , Luca is n’t that special. When compared to Inside Out , Luca is very , very straightforward. The conflicts presented are simple and quickly resolved, without the usual emotional shock effects in Pixar films. Maybe Luca was deliberately not designed to make the audience cry, but happy, enjoying the summer cinema tour.
Overall, Luca is not included in the ranks of Pixar and Disney masterpieces such as Up or WALL-E . But thanks to a sense of vacation and a fish out of the water experience shown from the perspective of the two characters, plus a colorful art style, Luca has become an important and necessary cinema tourism during a pandemic like now.