Disney Plus continues to expand its catalog. After the successes of Raya and the last Dragon, Soul and Onward, now it was Luca’s turn, a story about Italian mythology, friendship and acceptance of others under the direction of debutant Enrico Casarosa, and with the voices of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer and Emma Berman.
Although Casarosa is presenting his first feature film in Luca, he has been part of the Pixar world for years, where he spent most of his career in the Storyboards team working on projects such as Ice Age, Cars, Up, and Coco, but he was also the director of a co-film available on the streaming platform, and which I highly recommend: La Luna, where we can even see the resemblance of its protagonist with that of an important character from Luca.
The premise of the film is quite simple: our protagonist, Luca, a shy sea creature lives a life tied to the rules of a very traditional family, while on the other hand he dreams of exploring the world, but above all the surface, that place forbidden for his kind. This is where Alberto comes into play, a new friend who is the other side of the coin. Cheeky and carefree, he shows Luca that there are no such dangers as he imagined and they set out to explore the city on the Italian Riviera in search of new adventures.
As we well know at this point in the game, Disney movies tend to focus on emotional concepts that later explode through a great narrative. This time the focus is on friendship and acceptance of the other despite their differences and trying to put prejudices aside. At a certain point, it shares the idea with the successful DreamWorks franchise, “How to Train Your Dragon”, although if we were to fall into the comparison, that epic of dragons feels quite superior to that of merfolk? from Disney.
Since the film has a great relationship with the coasts and especially with the sea and the water, Luca can easily be analyzed as an ironed sea in summer. You enjoy it, it’s nice to spend a while but as the minutes go by you feel that you are missing a wave that shakes you and it is that in the hour and a half duration of the film, which never slows down, we do not finish feel a tension or climax, almost as if they had decided to skip a second act and go from the introduction to the non-conflict resolution.
Either way, the movie isn’t bad at all. Although it lacks a strong emotion, something that we have been used to in other Disney productions, Luca shines for other points in favor.
In the first place, the construction of his characters, from the two protagonists to Giulia, the third leg of the Underdogs, or the more secondary characters like Massimo, or the parents of our protagonist. Perhaps the weakest character is the “villain” Ercole Raimondo, a bully with little soul who doesn’t stop making himself hated.
Separate point for the animation. Although at this point to speak of Pixar is to speak of brilliant work in terms of the animated section or construction of the characters, we cannot fail to mention how the Casarosa team manages to immediately transport us to the Cinque Terre and its nooks and crannies of the Italian coastal city. From the impressive architecture to the landscape, to the various food dishes and decorations, Luca makes us feel like experts in a country that many of us have never even set foot in.
There is no doubt or discussion that Luca is a beautiful and ideal movie to enjoy with the family, but definitely not at the anticipated rental value but once it is released on Disney Plus. Despite being bearable and beautiful in the visual section, we do not feel that the film rises or reaches a high point and that ends up being a negative point, more compared to the last animated tanks of the production company that had been success after success.
Surely many will enjoy this beautiful tribute to the director’s childhood, because he himself revealed that his inspiration was his youth in Italy, but I can’t imagine anyone considering Luca as their favorite film of recent years of Disney animated works.