A young sea monster disguises himself as a human so he can experience
life in the surface world, only to stumble into an unlikely friendship.
Directed by Enrico Casarosa
Written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones
Starring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman,
Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Marco Barricelli
Oscar Nominations - Best Animated Film
I wouldn't presume to guess what's going on behind the scenes at Disney right now, but regardless of why it keeps happening, I want to praise Pixar for not throwing their films behind a $30.00 paywall on Disney Plus. So far, Onward, Soul, and now Luca have all been free to watch for subscribers, and I appreciate that. Luca is another entertaining gem from Pixar. I wouldn't list it among their masterpieces, but it's a fun little movie about identity, friendship, acceptance, and finding your own path in life. Sure, it borrows A LOT from The Little Mermaid, but I'd say the originality tank in Hollywood went bone dry long ago, so it didn't bother me.
Meet Luca Paguro (Tremblay). He's a sea monster who lives in the ocean along the coast of the Italian Riviera. His family has told him the surface world is dangerous and full of land monsters. When Luca meets free-spirited sea monster Alberto Scorfano (Grazer), he is brought to the surface, where he changes into a human. They turn back into sea monsters when they touch water, though. Together, Luca and Alberto explore the coastal town of Portorosso, where they befriend a girl named Giulia (Berman). My favorite running gag in the film was Luca's parents throwing water on random kids to try and find their son. Just wanted to mention that.
Luca could've benefited from a stronger villain who wasn't just a human version of Chick from the first Cars, but overall it's a highly enjoyable film for the whole family. It's a coming-of-age flick that, like most of Pixar's catalog, deals with heavy emotional themes through a medium that kids can view as safe and familiar. I've always admired Pixar for their continued ingenuity and storytelling skills.