The artists at Disney and Pixar have returned with a new animated film “Luca” which will debut on Disney+ on June 18th. The film introduces audiences to Luca (Jacob Tremblay); a young Sea Monster who lives with his family and fellow fish off the coast of a small town in Italy. Luca is warned not to go on the surface and to avoid humans at all costs by his parents. When a rebellious Sea Monster named Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer); happens upon Luca and gets him to the surface; Luca discovers that he and Alberto appear as human boys when their skin is no longer wet. Fascinated by the rebellious life Alberto leads and amazed by what he sees upon his brief land excursions; Luca looks for new ways to find time on the surface which leads to him being more and more deceptive to his parents. In time Luca and Alberto head to the village and meet a spunky local girl named Giulia (Emma Berman); who is on a break from school and longs to win a local race in order to get back at the reigning champion and bully. Luca and Alberto see the race as a chance to win money to buy their own Vespa which they see as the key to exploring the surface world which sets a chain of events into motion as their two worlds are about to collide leading up to the race. The film is visually appealing, but the story for me dragged and did not have the spark and heart that have made countless PIXAR films enduring classics. While the characters were fine; they did not have the appeal or charisma that I have come to expect with the PIXAR brand. There have been reports that after “SOUL” was moved from a theatrical release to streaming during the Pandemic that some at PIXAR were upset with the decision to make “Luca” a streaming option. My take is that it was 100% the correct decision as while it is an entertaining film; it is not one that is likely to light up the Box Office and is better suited for a streaming debut. The biggest issue with “Luca” is that coming from a studio with such a long line of classics; it fails to reach the levels previously set and while entertaining comes up lacking. 3 stars out of 5
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/luca-spoiler-free-review "Luca follows the studio's formulas of success closely without taking any unique detours, but it still tells a compelling story with relatable characters that gets to the viewers' heartstrings. From the detailed animation that makes the Italian coast look realistically astonishing to Dan Romer's rich score that hits all the right notes, without forgetting the outstanding voice work, every Pixar's trademark technical attribute is present in an admittedly less complex, unsurprising narrative. Enrico Casarosa takes Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones' light screenplay through a generic structure, where the "feeling/being different" theme is efficiently developed but closed in an underwhelming manner. Nevertheless, predictability means nothing in a movie where fully-developed characters spend the summer creating genuine friendships with an impactful emotional weight that might induce a couple of tears in the last few powerful minutes. It's not my favorite Pixar flick, but it's definitely a good film that I wholeheartedly recommend watching." Rating: B
Really good watch, could watch again, and can recommend. This is full of fun and child-like wonder, with a surprising edge to it as there is an usual amount of violence directly related to the main characters. This has a very wholesome feel to it as it has the romantic aspect of searching for new frontiers and adventures, but not necessarily for romantic relationships. The story does a good job of pacing out the events of the movie allowing for each aspect to take the focus it needs. While this is a movie about a triatholon, it's a better story about freedom and acceptance.
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