4.5 out of 5 stars
Over the past decade, Pixar has come to redefine animation and offer families quality entertainment that appeals across generations. Since the arrival of COVID, most of the work of this innovative team has been relegated to Disney+. Even though they have garnered Academy Awards, these productions have been pushed to the masses through streaming. This looks to be the same fate for the latest aquatic, buddy adventure called Luca.
The movie is set in the waters and seaside community along the Italian Riviera where Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and his family live off the coast. The only difference is that the Paguros do not live on an island, but under the beautiful Mediterranean waters. Reminiscent of the creature from the black lagoon, they are peaceful aquatic inhabitants who make their way underwater and outside of the influence of the land dwellers. As a curious 13-year-old, Luca goes about his daily duties of minding a school of fish. That is until one day, he comes upon artifacts from the surface and his curiosity is set in motion.
As he ponders what life is like above the surface, he is introduced to Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). The adventurous teen convinces Luca to break the sea surface and experience the land he has been taught to fear. At this time, he realises when he exits the water, he looks like a land-dwelling human. With each step the young sea creature begins to see that land-dwelling has so much to offer his curious mind and his sense of adventure. Alberto finally convinces him that they should attempt to go into the local township and achieve their dream of owning a Vespa. The only issue is that his parents do not want this for him and fear that he will never return home if he goes to the small community. Against their wishes, Luca chooses to follow his newfound friend on this potentially dangerous and exhilarating mission to travel the world on their two-wheeled scooter.
For Pixar fans, there are elements of this film that will seem exceptionally familiar. It is directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa who was the creator of the animated short, La Luna. Those who can remember the story of the men who did their work to clean the moon's surface in the short film. They may be reminded of characters like the monstrous man who plays the endearing father and fisherman, Marco Barricelli (Massimo). It is in this same imaginative and magical world that Casarosa immerses the audience. This beautiful world has its secrets below the surface, which eventually unpacks the need for the hearts of mankind to change. As he addresses the issues of acceptance, fear of the unknown and embracing the unfamiliar, this is a profoundly simple tale that will capture the hearts of all who can access this animated gem.
What parents should know about Luca - Suppose Inside Out was designed to show the mind of a pre-teen girl and Up served to cross the generational divide. In that case, Luca is a beautiful depiction of male friendship and comfort with how you were created. There does not seem to be any hidden agendas, but instead a uniquely twisted journey of two boys and two communities as they adjust to the changes around them. By capitalising on a wonderful cast of characters and vocal talent, the Pixar team has delivered a film that comes off as uncomplicated. Still, it proves to be refreshingly complex and emotionally fulfilling. Luca shows that they still have a magical touch of storytelling, animated innovation and the special something that differentiates it from all the other animated films on offer this season.
REEL DIALOGUE: What is the value of a good friend?
A great word to describe the message of Luca is ‘refreshing.’ A film that shows the value of male friendship without resorting to toilet humour or over sexualising the message. Pixar has touched on something that has been lost to modern societies, healthy male bonding. Despite the weaknesses of both boys and their situation, they continued to prove that they were better together than apart.
Solomon writes of friendship in this manner, "two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." This is one encouraging passage amongst many that talks to the value of friendship and how God is the author of this beautiful gift to humanity.
Have you considered your friendships and invested in them this week? Why not give your mate a call? It might prove to be one of the best things for your soul.