Swimming in the beautiful blue ocean, mer-monster-fish-boys, the coast and dialect of Italy, Luca has everything this girl could possible ask for in a Disney Pixar movie. Yet, somehow, it fell a little bit short. It’s missing something, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt underwhelmed. Maybe because I didn’t cry? Haha, seriously, I feel like I’ve sobbed during nearly every animated flick released over the last decade.
With the initial movie teaser releasing in February, I’ve been anticipating this movie for months. For some reason, I thought it released last week, and I was sitting down ready to watch with the kids but found it wasn’t yet streaming. However, this morning, we sat down at 8 a.m. with popcorn in hand and watched from our sofas.
Some basic Luca facts
Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original feature film “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca (voice of Jacob Tremblay) shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, Alberto (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer), but a deeply-held secret threatens all the fun: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.
Directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa (“La Luna”) and produced by Andrea Warren (“Lava,” “Cars 3”).
Disney and Pixar’s “Luca” to debut exclusively on Disney+ on June 18, 2021.
Luca is beautifully animated.
Don’t get me wrong when I say I am underwhelmed; I’ll watch it again because it’s a cute, family movie and beautifully animated. It never ceases to amaze me how realistic the artwork and movement of Pixar animation can be. The movement of seaweed in the water, the waves lapping against the shore and even the rain falling is just exquisite. I found myself mesmerized even by the movement of the mer-creature scales. I could imagine the feel of pebbles on bare feet when Luca was learning how to walk on his human legs. Even the stars/fish in the night sky glowed gorgeously.
It starts off a little bit too much like The Litte Mermaid for me. Seeing this sea creature that looks kind of mermaid-ish, sneak up on a boat and steal little artifacts from the humans. Then meeting Luca as he’s shepherding fish around the ocean and finding trinkets that fell from a boat. Whereas Ariel was not at all scared by humans, Luca is, and that’s a notable difference, but the curiosity, intrigue and great big animated eyes might as well be the same. Fortunately for Luca, he doesn’t have to sell his voice to a sea witch to grow legs. It just magically happens when he dries off.
When Luca meets Alberto and gets pulled to the surface, the adventure begins. The two “sea creatures” become fast friends and spend a lot of time on an island in an abandoned lighthouse. They daydream about what the humans must be doing and Vespas. Of course, then Luca’s parents find out what he has been doing, and they threaten to send him to the bottom of the sea to live in the dark with his Uncle. Seemed like a bit much to me, too.
So Luca does what any young mer-creature-boy-fish would do, and he runs away to live with Alberto in the human world. The two boys end up swimming to the Italian city of Portorosso and meeting the spunky Giulia Marcovaldo. She’s this awesome red-headed girl who sticks up for them against an obnoxious bully. She tells them about a triathlon type event that she wants to enter called the Portorosso Cup Race. The winner of the race gets paid, and the boys decide they must win it to buy a Vespa. The race is one part biking, one part swimming, and eating a bowl of delicious pasta. The trio team-up and work for Giulia’s Dad, Massimo Marcovaldo, to earn money for the registration.
The inevitable happens
Going into this movie, you have to know that eventually, someone’s going to find out that Luca and Alberto are not really humans. Especially when Luca’s parents end up in the city searching for him by throwing water on every child they see. Water equals instant bright blue scales and tale appearing, so it’s a dead giveaway. Luca and Alberto almost get caught several times when splashed with water or caught in the rain, but it’s when Alberto takes a flying leap into the ocean on a bike that he’s officially caught.
This part bothers me immensely because Luca betrays him. I mean, when Luca sold out his best friend, I seriously gasped and covered my mouth in shock. I did not expect that to happen. Somehow they quickly makeup. Alberto is far more forgiving than I would be.
I don’t want to provide even more spoilers than I already have, so I will stop reviewing here. If you have Disney+, please sit down and watch Luca this weekend. It’s a quick movie, and I really did enjoy it even if it wasn’t as amazeballs as I thought it would be.
New phrases I’ll be using moving forward in life
“We can be under the dogs, too.” – Luca
“Holy mother of pearl!” – Luca
“Silenzio, Bruno! When in Doubt, Shout It Out!” – Luca and Alberto
“Santo Gorgonzola” or “Santo Mozzarella” – Giulia