3 out of 5 stars (average)
This review originally appeared on The Illuminerdi June 16th, 2021.
Pixar has developed a pattern over the past few years of releasing one movie aimed more at older audiences, then one movie aimed at younger ones. Whereas Soul was absolutely aimed at teens and adults, their newest outing Luca is tailor-made for family film night with a relatively simple story and cute characters. Despite a familiar story, Luca is visually pleasant and full to the brim with kid-pleasing humor and a sweet underlying message.
Young sea creature Luca (Voiced by Jacob Tremblay) has been taught to fear the human world, but likes to collect trinkets from fallen boats. When he meets outgoing Alberto (Voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer), the duo starts chilling on the surface in human form. When they decide to set out on their own, they journey to the neighboring town and team up with local girl Giulia (Voiced by Emma Berman) to win the Porotorosso, an Iron Man-esque competition with a Vespa motorcycle prize, all while hiding their scaly secret.
If I had to describe Luca in one word, it would be cute. There’s a lot of pratfalls, slapstick, and other goofy shenanigans throughout and the few dramatic or scary moments are brief. The animation here is as beautiful as any Pixar outing, though I wasn’t as captivated by the fish designs. While the story is familiar, Luca and Alberto’s friendship remains endearing to the end and the message of tolerance towards those who look different from you is refreshingly delivered without any sermonizing. Parents may find Luca’s story familiar, but kids should be charmed by its goofy humor, pleasant visuals, and central friendship. Adults will likely find themselves scrolling through Facebook in certain sections, but their kids will be happy as clams. See Luca on DisneyPlus.
Rated PG for Rude Humor, Language, Some Thematic Elements, and Brief Violence.