Image courtesy of Vox.com
By Noelia Veras
“Walking is just like swimming. But without fins. Or a tail. And also, there’s no water. Otherwise, it’s like the exact same thing.”
Pixar’s latest release Luca is a fun look into the magical world of both childhood and life on the Italian Riviera. The story follows Luca, a young sea creature as he discovers life on land.
Luca was released at no extra cost on Disney+, unlike other films that have recently come out on the platform like Raya and the Last Dragon, which was available for 30 extra dollars for the first two months of its release.
Prior to the release of Luca viewers noted that the film resembled Call Me By Your Name, the film adaptation of the book by the same name written by André Aciman. Film critic with The New York Times A.O. Scott even dubbed the film Calamari By Your Name. Viewers compared the films because of the fact that both take place in stunning areas of Italy and follow two male characters with excellent chemistry. However, the director of Luca, Enrico Casarosa, denies that the film is a queer romance, regardless of how audiences have interpreted it. Nonetheless, as a result of Call Me By Your Name’s cult following and fan-made theories, Luca has received a lot of attention and views.
Similar to Call Me By Your Name, Luca stands out because of its impressive visuals. Italy is a character in both films, seemingly having its own agency. According to Travel and Leisure a team of creatives involved in the film visited Italy to capture the essence of it in the story.
The landscape propels a fundamental change in Luca, as he grows into himself and comes of age because of the land. Luca sheds the claustrophobia of his household underwater by escaping above the water where he befriends a charming counterpart, Alberto. The relationship between Alberto and Luca is endearing and magnetic.
However, Luca is its own film. Apart from the similarities to Call Me By Your Name, it creates its own storyline with individual characters and motivations. For instance, the film has a deep appreciation for curiosity and education. Luca finds himself fascinated by science and studying. The concept of school motivates him and pushes him to reach his goals in the film, which touches on the beautiful optimism of childhood.
Additionally, the animation style of Luca is charming and vibrant. The film employs a 3-D animation style with a green and blue color pallet. The tonalities are light and well-saturated matching the lighthearted energy of the story. Nonetheless, like most Disney films, the story is marked with some melancholy along the way, creating a more compelling tale of a young boy coming of age.
This film encapsulates the energy of summer as a child and the endless possibilities of adventure with your friends. It’s laced with nostalgia, harping on the small but significant moments that the kids share. The silly moments are the most enchanting, as they make the film unique, because the characters themselves are unique. For example, Alberto and Luca fantasize about a Vespa and try to recreate one with simple tools. The little running jokes throughout the film are wholesome and they make the viewer feel like they are in on a little secret or inside joke. These moments are a testament to the excellent writing and hard work of those involved in the film.
Luca is only available on Disney+.