After the successful end of 2020 with Soul, Pixar Animation Studios has released a new animated film in mid-2021. It’s called Luca. Which can be watched on the Disney+ Hotstar streaming platform since last Friday (18/6).
The film, made by Italian animator Enrico Casarosa, tells the story of the friendship of two sea monsters abege. The story is inspired by the director’s childhood life. Which he then combines with elements of fantasy from a myth and folklore originating from his country.
In keeping with the moment of its release, Luca takes on the cheerful and colorful summer vacation theme of the 1950s to 1960s. Which is located in a small town called Portorosso. Located on the beautiful coast of Italy.
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As the title suggests, the main character in this film is a young sea monster. Only 13 years old. The name is Luca Paguro (Jacob Trembley). Who lives with his family under the sea. Near Portorosso.
Throughout his life, it is said, Luca has always been interested in the outside world above the sea. However, his mother, Daniela (Maya Rudolph), who is very protective, always opposes him. Because humans are always trying to hunt and catch sea monsters.
Once upon a time, Luca met another sea monster abege. The name is Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). Which has often appeared to the surface of the sea. In fact, it lives more on land than in the ocean. Together with Alberto, Luca then desperate to go to Portorosso. Of course, by posing as an ordinary human boy.
FYI, every time they appear on the surface of the sea or on land, the sea monsters will change into human form. However, every time they are exposed to water, their bodies will return to their original form.
Arriving in Portorosso, Luca and Alberto meet a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman). The two sea monsters then befriended him. Then they lived together with Giulia’s uncle. A fisherman with a crippled hand. Who is also a former sea monster hunter. The name is Massimo Marcovaldo (Marco Barricelli).
Long story short, Luca, Alberto, and Giulia then prepare to take part in the Triathlon (swimming, eating, and cycling) races. The prize money. If they win, Luca and Alberto want to use the money to make their dream come true: Buy a Vespa scooter. To travel around the world.
However, in Portorosso, there is an evil and cunning local racing champion. The name is Ercole Visconti (Saverio Raimondo). Who had become Giulia’s arch-enemy in the previous summer’s races. Ercole’s presence makes it difficult for Luca and Alberto to win the Triathlon.
Btw, although the story of Luca’s film is set between the 1950s and 1960s, the design of the small town of Portorosso, located by the sea, is inspired by the design and art typical of the 1970s to 1980s. Because that era is considered to represent the golden age of Italian pop culture.
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To design the Portorosso, the production team from Pixar visited the Italian coast in the Genoa region in 2016 and 2019. In addition, they also observed the coastal environment and the underwater atmosphere. As a reference material for designing the animated background in this Luca film.
Meanwhile, the sea monster theme was deliberately chosen by Pixar because the Italian coast is located in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Mediterranean region, since long ago, many myths and legends about sea monsters have spread. Which is told by local fishermen from generation to generation.
In addition to designing the Portorosso, what is also complicated is designing the appearance of a sea monster. As additional inspiration, the Pixar animation team designed the appearance of the characters Luca and Alberto, in the form of sea monsters, according to the sea iguana.
In showing the figures of Luca and Alberto, one of the most difficult processes is to change the shape of the two sea monsters into humans. According to character supervisor Beth Albright, the challenge is how to make the shapeshifting look smooth and neat.
After that, the next process was to find the voice actors for Luca and Alberto. Which are the two main characters in this film. The Pixar production team then gave their choice to two child actors: Jacob Trembley and Jack Dylan Grazer.
When he was first offered the voice of Luca, Jacob Trembley admitted that he felt very special. According to the actor who skyrocketed through the film Room (2015), Pixar played a big role in his childhood. He was in awe of Pixar’s animated characters. One of them is Lightning McQueen’s race car character. Who became the main character in the film Cars (2006). And, now, the 14-year-old is voicing one of the Pixar characters. He even celebrated it with his family.
What’s interesting, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the voting process has to be done from where the voice casts live. Jacob Trembley admitted that he did not meet other players during his time as the voice of Luca’s film. The process is quite challenging. Because, all this time, he claimed to be more comfortable meeting his co-stars face to face.
But, fortunately, in the end, all went well. Because, according to Jacob Trembley, director Enrico Casarosa was able to direct the voicecasts in detail during the recording process. So, as a result, their voices sound connected. Even if they don’t see each other.
To train his voice to match the character of Luca, Jacob Trembley admitted that he saw a lot of the concept of the character and studied his movements in this animated film. From there, the boy who was born in Vancouver, Canada, tried to adjust the emotions and character of the voice he had to put out. In addition, who also helped him in voicing Luca, Jacob admitted that it was easy to click with his character. Because, according to him, they both have high imaginations.