Luca: Disney+ Film Review


Courtesy of Disney

I haven’t heard that much about Luca and I fear the marketing push hasn’t been as big as other Pixar releases, which is a shame because this movie is a total delight and is a perfect way to get you in the summer mood.

Luca, the shortest Pixar film since Toy Story, is set in 1950s/60s Italy. It follows a sea monster named Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) who makes a friend named Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and comes to discover that he can take human form on land, just like Alberto. After he learns more about the human way of life on their island, they put their knowledge to the test by going to the seaside fishing town of Portorosso. They both dream of buying a Vespa so they can go off on adventures, and they believe winning the Portorosso Cup – a triathlon involving cycling, swimming and eating pasta – is their way to raise the cash.

A lot of Pixar’s recent releases have been grand, ambitious films which take on big existential themes so in comparison Luca feels very slight and small in scale, but that’s not a negative – it is refreshing to have a more simplistic, grounded isolated story. I’ll always prefer a small story told very well than a big one that’s bitten off more than it can chew.

I wasn’t completely sold on the story at first; I didn’t think this sea monster tale would really hook me in, but I was soon won over by the characters and this lovely coming-of-age story. And somewhere along the line I became so invested in this story of young male friendship that I surprised myself by crying at the end! Who knew this film would be so moving?! And it was also so much funnier than I expected it to be and made me properly laugh out loud several times (most of them being because of the cat).

Tremblay was well cast as the young, naive and timid Luca, I liked Grazer as the confident and more experienced Alberto, who takes him under his wing, as well as Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan as Luca’s overprotective parents, but my favourites were Emma Berman as Giulia, she has so much personality and sass, and Saverio Raimondo as Ercole, the slimy antagonist, sea monster hunter and reigning Portorosso Cup champ.

I use the word “lovely” far too often in reviews but it really is the best word to sum up Luca. It tells a charming story about acceptance and how people are scared by what they don’t know/people who are different. The visuals are as gorgeous as you’d expect from a Pixar film and will make you want to go on holiday to Italy. It’s a shame that it’s going on Disney+ as I would have loved to see this on the big screen. I’m ready to see it again!

On Disney+ from Friday 18th June

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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