Luca would be the second Pixar film after Soul that would debut on Disney+ rather than being released theatrically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Should this have been theatrically released though? Read on for my thoughts on the film!
Mild spoilers ahead!
Directed by Enrico Casarosa, Luca tells the story of a young sea monster named Luca, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, who lives off the coast of an Italian town called Portorosso. He spends his days herding goatfish for his parents, voiced by Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan, and overall being an obedient son. However his mind is rather inquisitive and he marvels at items from the human world above that falls into the sea.
His mother forbids him from ever going to the surface as
the human world is a mess they would never accept him and instead try to hurt him. Luca obeys at first, but due to the influence of a new friend he’s made, the confident and adventurous Alberto, voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer, decides to head to the surface.
Luca is amazed at everything he sees in the human world from gelato to Vespas. He and Alberto even enter a race to win a Vespa, but due to the rules of the race, they have to team up with a young girl named Giulia, voiced by Emma Berman.
They have to make sure to keep their identities a secret though as any time water touches their bodies, they turn back into sea monsters. Also, they have to deal with the local bully, Ercole, voiced by Saverio Raimondo, who’s set on winning the race.
Overall, I was really surprised by how much I liked Luca! I liked it way more than Onward and Soul. I loved the story elements reminiscent of The Little Mermaid and I loved the Italian setting. I loved the characters and their friendships! I loved the fact that there was a villain (of sorts) and I loved the voice acting!
Some people choose to view the relationship between Luca and Alberto as a metaphor for LGBTQ while others view it as a metaphor for refugees and migrants. I personally view it in the same way that the director of the film intended: a story about childhood friendships.
Most of my issues with the film revolved around pacing and plot elements. The beginning of the film before Luca goes to the surface is honestly quite boring and could have done a better job at raising excitement for the rest of the film. Also, Alberto’s father apparently abandoned him, but they briefly mention the fact and just as quickly move on to something else! I wish they explored that more.
Also, why is the bully allowed to bully? He seems to be an adult or at least older than the rest of the kids and he bullies them in front of other adults. It just seems odd that none of the other adults would stop him or say something.
All in all, this was a good film and definitely should have been theatrically released! If you were a bit hesitant to see this film like me, I strongly recommend you give it a watch! It may not be Toy Story, but it’ll definitely put a smile on your face.