I always look forward to movies from Pixar as so far, they have almost never failed to please. Luca is this year’s first offering from the animation studios and I am happy to report yet another A+ effort. It’s story may not have the depth and be as stimulating as Soul or Coco, but it still stands out as movie with many positive messages that can be appreciated by an audience of all ages.
Luca takes place in a fantasy world where we have sea monsters living underwater hidden from the human world. Occasionally these sea monsters venture out from their water world into the land, and can magically be transformed into human form as long as they remain dry. Luca is a restless young sea monster who befriends a fellow sea monster who spends much of his time on land. His new found friendship fuels his curiosity of humans and his sense of adventure. Together they venture to the nearby scenic coastal small Italian village along the Riviera.
Despite the simplistic style of the character drawings, all the emotions and personalities of the characters comes alive. The animation alone will not work without the perfect voice matching and dubbing. I notice not a single familiar name in the cast of voices which is a good thing here. It just proves that you don’t need a big name star to do the job, unless you are hoping to sell the movie better with the star association. The Italian Riviera backdrop provides a delightful colourful magical atmosphere. There’s so much Italian references here from the language, to the food and of course the Vespa scooter which features so prominently in the plot, one have to wonder if this is some sort of clever product placement.
As with all Pixar movies, this one has positive messages to spread and it has its sentimental moments which may even draw a tear or two from the sensitive viewers. If I have to gripe, I guess it would be the simplistic manner in which the movie resolved its issues for our main characters and the lack of details about the sea monsters underwater existence. But I am not about to nitpick over it because it is first and foremost a fun family orientated movie and that was what it ended up to be. It is the creation of writer, director Enrico Casarosa who is no stranger to the Pixar universe having been involved as Storyboard Artist with Coco, Up, and Ratatouille. Luca would appear to be his time time taking on the directorial role and I must say he did it with top scores. His Italian roots clearly influenced the overall look and feel of Luca. I am looking forward to more from Enrico in the future.