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LUCA (2021) Review

Charlie reviews Pixar’s LUCA, available to stream now, praising the “breathtaking animation” and calling the film a “must watch.”

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Luca (Pixar)

Luca stars the voice talents of Jacob Tremblay (RoomWonder), Jack Dylan Grazer (We Are Who We AreShazam), Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph (BridesmaidsSaturday Night LiveBig Mouth), Marco Barricelli, and Jim Gaffigan (The Pale TouristTroop Zero). The film is streaming now globally on Disney+.

Synopsis

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 all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface. 

Review

I am just going to say it: Pixar is my favourite animation studio out there. From their beautiful animation that only gets better with each new release to their stories that almost always make me shed a tear. Watching Toy Story as a kid blew my mind because the animation was unlike anything that had ever been on the screen before, and since then, they have only improved. Their latest movie, Luca, may not reach the highs of Soul or the Toy Story movies but if families are looking for a charming adventure to kick-start the summer, then they won’t be disappointed.

Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Rivera, Pixar’s latest original film is a coming-of-age story about two friends’ (Luca and Alberto) summer of unforgettable fun that is only threatened by their deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from the bottom of the ocean.

The story is simple and that’s what makes it so effective. Some of the studios’ movies try to go too deep into either the world these characters are in or their backstory; instead, Luca dives (no pun intended) straight into the story and you can visibly see how these characters have reached this situation within the first fifteen minutes of the film. It never directly tells you about the characters’ pasts but you get the general gist instantly. All the main characters are incredibly likeable – especially Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Giulia (Emma Berman), who all share a unique bond on-screen and when these three underdogs are together, that is when Luca truly worked for me. Their chemistry is amazing and the bond they have steals the entire movie.

The animation is also stunning; if you thought Soul looked brilliant, wait until you watch Luca. The Italian Riviera is dazzling while Portorosso is brought to life in a way that blew me away. During its brisk 96 minute runtime, Luca and Alberto travel throughout the town and each area took me by surprise. The sea monster designs are unique and work beautifully in the animated format while the human designs are all exquisite.

However, my main problem with Luca is that it is incredibly predictable. By the end of the first act, you know where this movie is going and where it will end. Because of that, there is no emotional punch that we have all come to expect from Pixar’s latest offerings. I wasn’t expecting any twist that would put everything I had just seen in a new perspective, but there isn’t anything that truly shocked me or gave me that reaction at the end that pushed me close to tears.

Nevertheless, there is a great story at the centre of the movie that primarily focuses on friendship. This is mainly because the chemistry between Tremblay, Grazer and Berman is perfect. You buy into their relationship and as the tensions rise throughout the film, you can feel their bond growing even stronger.

Verdict

Luca is far from Pixar’s best but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable movie to start the summer. The breathtaking animation and chilled out story is used to perfection – it always kept me engaged and I was never bored. This truly is a must watch for fans of animation and Pixar!


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