Luca (2021) movie review
Luca, the latest film from Disney Pixar, follows a sea monster named Luca who befriends another sea Monster named Alberto, who shows him how wonderful human life is. The film was released on Disney+ this past weekend to the detriment of everyone who works at Pixar not receiving theatrical released, or even Premium releases. Regardless, Luca received an expectedly warm reception from critics and audiences.
I don’t get it. Disney remakes a film from 1998 but worse and wants us to pay $30 to see it. Pixar makes a fresh and original project (again) and it’s just free. Cool. So glad we could support Pixar. Anyway, if you haven’t checked out Luca and you have Disney+, what are you waiting for? Luca is a fun adventure that might not be Pixar’s best, but is certainly quality viewing experience!
Of the recent Disney Pixar outings, Luca hits more on the emotional level of Soul (2020), but less creative. Of course what I mean by that is that Pixar’s latest truly great film was probably Coco (2017), but we can’t expect every film Pixar makes to be Coco… One element that sets it aside however is the lack of depth. That’s not to put the movie down in any way! But Inside Out (2015) is such an emotional viewing experience because it is very much about emotions and the impact they have on us. Luca is about what it is to be human, but also about two kids who just want a Vespa. So this isn’t exactly a film trying to make you bawl your eyes out. And that’s okay!
Right off the bat, looking back on it, Dan Romer’s score was the biggest highlight for me. Not that the rest of the film didn’t stand out, but I don’t always love Pixar scores on their own. Michael Giacchino’s music is always amazing, but often it works very well as the music for the background, with a few exceptions of course. Luca on the other hand really stands out! More akin to Giacchino’s music from Ratatouille, Romer blends wonderful melodies using a slightly more traditional Italian approach to craft the emotion in the film to audible perfection.
Speaking of emotion, Luca mostly focuses on being a fun movie! Luca is here to share a fun character journey and some emotion along the way, not unlike Onward (2020). That said, while the friendships and character development in the film aren’t meant to being tears to the eyes of the viewers, it doesn’t mean they aren’t impactful. I really liked the relationships between Luca and his parents, as well as the friendships between Luca, Alberto, and their human friend Giulia, who is wonderfully atypical in her own right. Also, not unlike Luca’s Ghibli counterpart Ponyo (2008), the standout character ends up being one of the stoic father figures.
An obvious but necessary part of this review has to go to the quality Pixar consistently puts forth into their content. Luca doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to Pixar’s high standards of visuals, texturing, sound design, and voice performances. However while the pacing is solid, I did feel like the story structure was missing a few things here and there. There are several moments, especially near the third act, that just happen. These beats didn’t break the film or anything, but they also didn’t seem to blend very well with the overall tone. I feel like another ten minutes would have helped smooth these moments out.
Still, it’s a perfectly enjoyable film with a solid story, great characters, wonderful visuals, and a fantastic score! I enjoyed it despite some inconsistencies with its tone and odd questions I always have about the way the world works. Do they have to be dry to be human? That’s- that’s the big one anyway. Also why nobody stops a grown man from competing against kids in a triathlon? Beyond me. But I guess compared to the freaking Cars series, I don’t actually have that many questions… All I’m saying is, there’s a WWII vet, which means there was a car Hitler… Anyway Luca! go check it out! 7/10.
So Luca? Did you watch it yet? What did you think? And what is your favorite of Pixar’s most recent outings and why? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let me know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, be sure to let us know what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince