Everything got weird in 2020 (and still is), thanks to COVID. It shook the world and many industries in a variety of ways. That includes Hollywood, how movies were made, and the theater experience. Disney's solution was to charge an extra $30 on top of your Disney+ subscription to watch their marquee new releases at home. That plan did not include Pixar movies, as we could watch Soul in December at no extra cost. Unfortunately, audiences met that movie with a mixed reception. Luca was released on the streaming platform six months later, but is it worth your time over Disney's vast catalog of films and shows?
Luca tells the story of a little sea creature boy named Luca, who lives in the ocean near Italy with his family. We learn that he is very curious about the surface and what the world is like up there, making the film feel like a little boy's version of The Little Mermaid. It isn't long before Luca meets another boy named Alberto, who has already been spending time on the surface. The two eventually get to know one another and have goals of seeing the world together, specifically via a Vespa -- a motorized scooter that the boys swoon over.
The animation continues to be top-notch, which is an area Pixar has never slacked in despite some of their movies not doing as well recently. Some sequences that come to mind are when the boys are swimming through the water, and you see them changing forms from humans to sea creatures as they transition from surface to sea. There were some incredible artistic shots that I enjoyed seeing too. In particular, a quick and straightforward shot in which the boys are peering into a seaside cave. Pixar, yet again, doesn't disappoint in the visual presentation department with Luca.
Eventually, the boys come upon a small seaside village that had warnings to look for sea creatures. So, the most significant factor that leaves the audience on edge is whether they will get caught. Then, the plot thickens as they interact more with the locals and befriend a human girl named Giulia. The introduction of their new friend introduces how they can get a Vespa to travel the world while also creating a conflict between our two lead characters. I love the journey that the movie takes its viewers on, but it feels like it decides to end suddenly.
My biggest gripe with the movie is the ending. I get that it is a kids' movie, but it wraps up with everyone being content with how things end up. It's as if the ending exists to only serves Luca and his desires. It also feels like it comes at an abrupt moment as if more scenes were meant to happen, but the filmmakers decided it had to go somewhere. It's also very possible that I wasn't ready to see the movie end when it did because I enjoyed watching it.
The humor is where this movie shines, as it hinges on the fact that the sea characters are very unaware of how life works on the surface. One of my favorite moments is when Alberto teaches Luca the word "Stupido" because he thinks it's a greeting. Another hilarious sequence that made me laugh every time was when Luca's parents came to the surface searching for their son. They walk around town dunking kids in the water, and we learn that Luca's mother has hidden innate soccer skills. The humor in Luca is very innocent, which makes it a fun movie you can genuinely laugh at along with your kids as you watch it.
Lastly, Luca has a message that kids need to learn and adults need reminding of. It's a scene that now gets quoted amongst my family on occasion. Early on in the movie, Alberto teaches Luca how to face his fears. In a world where people are victims of their anxiety, the words and phrase that Alberto uses can be monumental—especially for young kids who are experiencing things for the first time. This is the most crucial scene in the movie, even more so because it affected my household.
Thanks to Disney+, this movie was on our televisions a dozen times this summer, thanks to my nephew. The overall plot, again, is simply The Little Mermaid for boys. While not the most original idea, it has a lot of heart. The end feels like it comes at a weird time, with the decision that none of the conflicts will be resolved, but I wanted more adventures with the lead characters. Though it has a special place in my heart, I give Luca 4 out of 6 Infinity Stones. This is a movie you'll want to watch with your kids.
LJ Lowry is a good friend of the Infinity Bros and enjoys a good film just as much as his latest gaming venture. Check out more of his reviews on The Daily Snap and at Geeks Under Grace.