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Robert Lynch

Luca (2021)

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Looks like a cute story. Damn. Jacob is busy and he is only 14. And now has the Toxic Avenger reboot! 

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I really enjoyed this film. Shame I didn't have the option of seeing it on the big screen, but then it did allow me to see a Pixar movie on opening day and therefore not be spoiled by anything in anyway. I thought this was a much better movie than Soul which I found to be quite 'soulless'. At least Luca managed to give me the standard Pixar emotional moment unlike Soul. 

Is it one of Pixar's greatest? No. But it is damn enjoyable. It is also probably one of Pixar's more 'kids' movies. The approach reminded me a bit of Ponyo, where the basic plot is aimed for the kid market but there is enough to the rest of the movie to engage adults.

Watch the credits for some really nice Miyazaki inspired drawings that act as a epilogue and there is a scene right at the end as well. 

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I thought it was cute too. Definitely makes me want to go to Italy someday. 

Dang, Jacob is still so young. It’s gonna break my heart when his voice deepens. Can’t wait to see how he does as Flounder in the new Little Mermaid.

I don’t know whether Luca and Alberto were just friends or a potential couple, but either way I’d rather ship them than Raya and Namaari.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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Actually, it is based on the director's friendship with a friend growing up in Italy. I think he mentions that for the plot of his story. 

Jacob is not an unattractive person and he sort of reminds me a bit like a young River Phoenix. I mean, he has two new films in the works like The Toxic Avenger with Peter Dinklage, Kevin Bacon, Elijah Woods, and Julia Davis; not to mention Bear Season with Luke Evans! He is one busy dude. 

Edited by letter8358
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First off, apologies- but I have to...

“His name is Luca- he lives on the ocean floor...“

I’ve been to Italy once - and although it wasn’t to the Riviera (we did Rome and the countryside in Campania), this still felt evocative of that experience.  All the little winding streets and cobblestone stairs and the neighborhood piazza...  it just makes me want to go back.

Stylistically, this felt like a mix of Aardman and Ghibli- the characters had the Aardman stop motion look, while the setting and tone gave off the vibe of, say, Porco Rosso or Kiki.  There is a nice circular logic to it also - ItalIan design inspires Miyazaki, Miyazaki influences Pixar, and now Pixar produces an Italian based story.

Still it’s a definite change compared to the more traditional animated looks of Onward and Soul - and the sea creature designs were particularly hard to get used to.  And honestly, I think they could have trimmed much of the early stuff with Luca’s underwater home life, and done more to explore other elements of the story.

Good bits: I liked the relationship built up between the kids.  The evolving dynamic between Luca and Alberto felt real - same with Giulia and Luca.  Alberto and Luca’s fantasy/dream sequences are gorgeous, and have a fun sense of kid logic.  The bully is a fun character- sometimes all you need out of a bad guy is just to be a rich jerk.  And as noted above, I loved the little village.

Lesser bits: I honestly don’t know if the movie ever decided on how Italian it actually wanted to be.  Some elements felt not enough- Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan in particular just seem to be playing typical American parents.  Conversely, it felt a little weird for the characters to speak English, but occasionally drop into Italian, seemingly just for effect.  Like, it’s Italy - just because we hear English, I have no problem understanding that the characters themselves are speaking Italian.  This feels particularly pronounced with Giulia.  I don’t know if Emma Berman is Italian (or has roots), but she seems to speak the language well- still it’s odd when she suddenly breaks into it.  And sadly her “Santa (cheese name)” catchphrase didn’t work for me.

Still, it’s a cute film, and if you have D+ anyway, it’s worth the time.

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Endearingly modest, I thought.  A pretty low-stakes story overall, and nothing obviously designed to sell toys, just likeable characters and a warm atmosphere.

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That's dedication! Who knew being a voice actor requires you to engage as if you are acting on the big screen. I seen the Family Guy voice acting bits, plus other voice acting performances and it is not easy. 

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I enjoyed it a lot!  I *loved* that the two old, cranky, ice-cream-eating women were actually sea monsters.  I also liked that the sea monsters can infinitely change back and forth.

Alberto's situation made me sad.  Of course it was obvious that his father was gone forever (did the villagers kill him as a sea monster?), and it was equally obvious that Giulia's father would apprentice Alberto, but it still made me happy when that happened.  Not sure how I feel about Luca going off to school -- isn't there a local school he could attend for a while before going so far away?  Also, I worried about him hanging out of the train while it was going through tunnels.

I rank it way above The Good Dinosaur and Cars 2.

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The huge pros: the animation of the sea was gorgeous (both above and below), the Italian town was beautiful, and the friendships between the three kids felt very realistic.

The major con: it felt like one of those grab bag situations where someone pulled specific elements out of a bag (Italy, sea monsters, bike race) and had to come up with a story to incorporate all of them

There were a lot of Little Mermaid references that made me simultaneously think "awww" and "really?" But I liked that there weren't superheroes or any big save the world type stakes. The boys wanted a Vespa. Giulia wanted to beat the town jerk. The parents just wanted their kid to stay safe. Luca loved learning. Antonio wanted a home. All the love the different characters had for each other was what made the movie. Ha, and I loved that Luca's grandmother comes to town every weekend.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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On 6/20/2021 at 10:10 AM, Browncoat said:

Alberto's situation made me sad.  Of course it was obvious that his father was gone forever (did the villagers kill him as a sea monster?), and it was equally obvious that Giulia's father would apprentice Alberto, but it still made me happy when that happened.

Happy that Giulia’s dad was actually a great guy despite seeing set up as the antagonist as a fisherman/sea monster hunter. Even when he found out the boys’ identity he automatically stood up for them. Loved that. 

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I am loving Jacob Tremblay's 90s 90210/Boy Meets World fashion vibe so far on his Instagram page. Now that's how you 90s with a vengeance, people!

Edited by letter8358
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This was cute, not Pixars best but it was good enough. I did like that Alberto's dad was just gone and he gained a father figure in Giula's dad. The friendship between the kids was cute and the scenery was as usual amazing. 

I think the drawing epilogiue during the credits got me more teary the actual movie. Lol

All the pasta made me miss Italy for the food. When I got back from Italy I wouldn't eat Italian food for a month because it didn't taste the same. 

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That was so cute, a very breezy fun summer movie. Definitely one of Pixar's more lighthearted easy going films, which I think was a good idea after the very mature and cerebral Soul. The stakes were pretty low, the worst antagonist is just some local jerk, the conflicts are all pretty easily resolved when people actually talked to each other, and the characters were all very charming, with the friendships between the kids being especially sweet. The animation was gorgeous of course, especially all the shots of the ocean, and I liked the design of the sea monster people. 

This really took me back to my vacation to Italy a few years ago, all those cobblestone streets and local neighborhood pizza places and markets, it really made me smile. 

 Giulia's dad might have been my favorite character. I like how they set him up as a somewhat threatening character but he turned out to be a really caring person, even basically adopting Alberto by the end. 

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