Quite honestly, when I sat down with my daughters to watch this movie, I had virtually no idea what it was about. We wanted to do a movie night, we all generally like Disney Pixar films, Luca was pretty new, and so we decided to go for it.
The animation immediately caught my attention–it is beautiful. This, of course, is in large part due to the scenery. Most of this movie takes place in brightly lit underwater locales, on a lush island, or in a quaint little town I assumed to be somewhere in Italy. Every scale, every pebble on the beach, every thread of clothing, every wave–it’s all exquisite.
I also loved the timelessness of the film. Other than the Vespa and a train, there is no real indication of a specific time period. I believe the Vespa arrived in 1949, if Google is to be trusted, and so that gives Luca a very wide range, which, to me, was very much part of its charm.
However, I have to admit that the story took a while to really catch my interest. Once the primary theme became evident, though, I found myself captivated. I won’t spoil the specific plot, but the movie ends up examining childhood friendships that take place in those early teen years. Those are the years when one is still a bit of a child, but also a bit of an adult, and friendships can be very complex as a result. I adored the complicated friendship between the three main characters, the loyalty they had to one another, and the difficulties each experienced as they had to ultimately walk their own path.
Of course, I’ve just made Luca sound far heavier than it actually is. Disney Pixar is notorious for inducing tears, but, in the case of Luca, if one does cry, it will be due to joy. To me, this is a feel-good movie celebrating everything that is good about friendship.
By the way, there’s some great voices in this film. Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan were inspired casting as Luca’s parents. The kids–Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Emma Berman–delivered the emotional and comedic beats quite well. Oh, and I challenge you to pinpoint Sacha Baron Cohen as you watch Luca. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his name in the credits!
I definitely recommend Luca as a fun, wholesome, funny movie for the whole family to enjoy.