Pixar has an almost unparalleled pedigree of success. I struggle to think of a franchise, brand, or company that equals Pixar when it comes to churning out quality content on a consistent basis.
Am I figuratively gobbling Pixar’s knob right now?
Maybe, but can you blame me?
Year after year, movie after movie, Pixar releases touching stories about the importance of family, getting in touch with your emotions, and the meaning of life, to name a few themes.
So whenever I hear a Pixar movie has come out, I make it a goddamn point to watch it because we all need some heartfelt stories in our lives.
Luca, Pixar’s latest film that released on Disney Plus, surprised me in many ways. While I wouldn’t rank it up there with my all-time favorites (Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3), it was far better than I expected it to be.
Luca is a young sea monster who spends his days herding fish. His parents warn him about going up to the surface, but Luca’s imagination, curiosity, and chance meeting with a free-spirited fellow of the same age spurs him to seek adventure above the waves.
Luca and this newfound friend, Alberto, spend days on the surface, reveling in the freedom they can experience as humans. The only catch is that if water is splashed on them, they revert to sea monster form, and the people living nearby have a hankering to hunt down monsters.
But Luca and Alberto have big dreams to own a Vespa and travel the world, so they sign up for a contest that could earn them some money to pay their way to freedom. What then follows is a hilarious adventure that drives home what the real meaning of friendship is.
Even more so than the typical Pixar movie, Luca is gorgeous. I would rank it up there with Finding Nemo in just how beautiful the world looks. Plus, Luca daydreams an awful lot, which means these imaginative sequences where he touches the moon or travels the world on a Vespa are wonderfully realized. These images coupled with the stellar soundtrack make the narrative twice as uplifting as it already is on its own.
True, the story follows a predictable path, but just because you can guess what will happen next does not mean it isn’t satisfying. I mean, I still teared up regardless when conflict arose (and when it was resolved).
Luca also features plenty of Italian cultural quips that probably went right over my head. I would almost compare it to Coco in how steeped the movie is in culture. But while I could easily comprehend the humor (the true and real and accurate humor) of Miguel’s grandmother ensuring he ate more tamales than his stomach could handle, I think some of Luca’s went over my head.
And while following your dreams is a fairly tired theme narrative-wise, Luca is less about the pursuit of your dream and more about the people around you who see you reach it. Luca hammers home that true friends and family will be the support you need to accomplish anything, even if they get left behind in the process. Acceptance is also a huge part of Luca, from accepting your child’s choices in life to accepting the differences that set us apart.
When I first approached Luca, I thought I was going to get A Bug’s Life level movie, which is by no means bad. But after watching it, I would actually place Luca a step or two above that, closer to Ratatouille, after finishing it.
Side note: None of these comparisons and rankings will make any sense unless you agree with my taste in Pixar movies. I am so sorry.
I rate Luca an endearing-story-about-friendship-and-dreams-that-will-have-you-silencing-your-inner-Bruno-and-have-you-leaping-after-your-own.