Movie Review: Luca

The 2021 motion picture Luca was written by Jesse Andrews, Simon Stephenson, and Enrico Casarosa who also directed the film. It’s the story of two young sea monster boys who trade their tails for legs so they can experience a human lifestyle up on the surface in a fishing city of Italy. Luca, our main character, lives a peaceful life in the sea with his parents and grandmother, performing his daily chores and tending to the fishes. But his eyes always wander up, he longs to know the world that lies on the surface. Then a chance encounter with Alberto, another sea monster boy, leads to a fast friendship and a change of Lucas’ daily life.. He’s the complete opposite of Luca, where Luca is anxious and unsure, Alberto takes unexpected risks and he faces challenges with stride. From Alberto, Luca gains the courage to venture out into the human world against his overbearing parents’ wishes. But he is forced to venture even farther when risk of him being sent away arises, now he must blend in with a town of humans and even worse : sea monster hunters.

Although a children’s movie, it still finds a way to resonate with other audiences. A major theme being trying to find one’s own path in life and breaking out of the mold that has been set, a struggle many can relate to as they try to find their place in the world. The conflict is trying to win the Portorosso race but the bigger picture is fighting for what you want. This balance of complex ideas hidden behind a simple plot is what makes Luca so good, great for kids and adults alike.

Another memorable thing is the animation in the movie. Pixar is known for its attention to detail and it’s no different here. Much of the story takes place in the ocean or contains water in the scene,  but water is a tricky subject to capture, if not careful it can look monotone and ruin the scenes completely. Fortunately Luca does not have this problem, they have a way to bring life to all the water shown on screen and very little times will you see it be 2- dimensional and still. The splashing, vibrant colors, and overall incorporation of water in scenes sets a lively mood for the visuals, something that can very easily influence the story.

Personally I felt it was a well written story with a great ending. To me it really conveyed the growth a person can have and what we see at first glance is not always right. Before watching the movie I saw many people talking about it, but now I understand why. The only thing I didn’t like was the way the characters’ struggles and worries were not addressed in a more direct manner, but on the other hand I can understand why it was done this way. It’s a children’s movie and it must be kept simple enough for them to understand.

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