Director; Enrico Casarosa. Starring; Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman. Rated PG. Animated Color. 95 Minutes.
Pixar has been, particularly during the past decade, unafraid of crafting children’s films that celebrate cultures around the world. “Coco” was a musical heartbreaker centered around the Mexican tradition that is The Day of the Dead. “Moana” was a blast showcasing the rich history of Samoan culture. The French were highlighted in the hilarious “Ratatouille”. For their latest feature, “Luca”, Disney takes us to the shores of Italia. There is one difference between the previously mentioned cultural kid’s films and the most recent one. “Luca” is plain boring.
The main character Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay) is a sea creature living in the depths of the Italian Riviera. His daily chores include leading school groups of regular fish around the depths of the sea. His parents Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan) and Daniela (Maya Rudolph) are loving but run a long standing structured system in order to keep a family of talking fish secluded from the world above the ocean. What the parents cannot do is suppress Luca’s desire to explore the mainland.
A sequence of events leads to Luca breaking free and popping out onto the Italian riverside. One thing with these sea monsters, when they reveal themselves on land they transform and become normal looking humans. The catch, if they get water anywhere on their body the fish side is revealed. So you have got to be careful here buddy.
Luca instantly loves the vibrant atmosphere of the Italian streets. The music and authentic food scene along the sidewalks is unlike anything the young man has seen. Luca comes to befriend another sea creature disguised as a boy named Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). The two quickly strike up a bond that seems to be a little more than just friends. Quick side note, it is not blatantly expressed but the representation of Luca and Alberto’s relationship appears to be more than just a bromance. I’m all for it. You do realize it took Disney 80 years to have a black princess with “The Princess and the Frog”. But that is cool now and homosexuality is not? Don’t be afraid of progress. The only problem is Disney does not go all the way with it. LGBTQ has become a widely accepted reality in our society.
Moving on. Luca has a blast experiencing the little things such as gelato, various forms of pasta, and exciting scooter rides along the the historic streets of the Riviera. The honeymoon phase of this new experience does not last long. A group of fishermen are out to find and prove the existence of sea creatures like Luca. On top of that, Luca’s parents venture into the world of humans in search of their son. Luca and Alberto accidentally run into and eventually team up with Giulia (Emma Berman). The human girl is as plucky as they come and un-phased that her two new friends are fish. Together the three must face both the evil as well as the complicated parts of growing up as a child.
No doubt the animation is extraordinary, particularly in a scene across the stars while riding gliders. The message of wishing to see more out of life is there. Not original but that is ok. Unfortunately “Luca” is uninspired. There is not one sequence that jumps off of the screen similar to almost all Pixar movies (let us just forget “Cars”). Other than the depiction of the country side and an obsession with Vespa’s, “Luca” feels incredibly un-authentic. Definitely a low light in the studios cannon of children’s adventures.
Suck Factor: 5 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really SUCKS!)
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the ratings system upside-down. If it is a classic the movie gets 0 SUCKS! If it is complete trash, such as a Michael Bay film, you receive a straight 7 SUCKS!