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Luca (2021)

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This film is dedicated to the original composer of Luca, Ennio Morricone, who sadly passed away before the film's release. November 10, 1928-July 6, 2020
Luca
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"Silencio, Bruno!"
Genre: Coming-Of-Age
Fantasy
Comedy
Directed By: Enrico Casarosa
Produced By: Andrea Warren
Written By: Mike Jones
Jesse Andrews
Starring: Jacob Tremblay
Jack Dylan Grazer
Emma Berman
Marco Barricelli
Saverio Raimondo
Maya Rudolph
Jim Gaffigan
Peter Sohn
Lorenzo Crisci
Sacha Baron Cohen
Cinematography: David Juan Bianchi
Kim White
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date: June 13, 2021 (Aquarium of Genoa)
June 18, 2021 (United States)
Runtime: 95 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Box Office: $49.8 million
Prequel: Soul (by release date)
Sequel: Turning Red (by release date)


Luca is a 2021 American computer-animated coming-of-age fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. It is directed by Enrico Casarosa in his directorial debut, written by Mike Jones and Jesse Andrews, and produced by Andrea Warren as Pixar's 24th feature film. The film stars the voices of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, Saverio Raimondo, Marco Barricelli, and Jim Gaffigan. Luca premiered at the Aquarium of Genoa on June 13, 2021 and was released on June 18, 2021 in the United States.

Plot

In the summer of 1959, Luca Paguro and his best friend, Alberto Scorfano, summon up the courage to visit the picturesque fishing village of Portorosso. However, the boys share and hide a great secret: they are not ordinary children but harmless sea monsters who live underwater, eager to find out what lies above the sea's surface. Before long, adventure after adventure and experience after experience, the two wide-eyed explorers will discover the true meaning of freedom, the importance of family, and the catalytic power of acceptance.

Perché non è un mostro marino (Why It's Not A Sea Monster)

  1. Much like other Pixar films, the idea of the movie is a distinctively creative and unique twist for Pixar standards, in which the rules of the universe are in no way complicated: sea monsters turn into humans when dry and back into sea monsters when wet.
    • Along with the rules of the universe being simple, the plot itself is also very easy to follow due to it simply being about two sea monsters who turn into humans whenever they reach the surface trying to win a vespa to travel the world. It's a much more simple story than most Pixar films who, while great, feel the need to be emotional, substantial masterpieces by having stories than can be hard to follow at times due to their enormous amounts of complicated worldbuilding and symbolism. But here, this is just a slice-of-life story about a pair of sea monsters living life. By similar to Ratatouille, that simplicity manages to be it's own artform.
  2. Just like fellow Pixar films Brave, Coco, and Soul, the story and settings are fantastic which takes place in a different country, which, of course, is Italy between in the 1950s and 60s.
  3. Awesome voice acting, with two major standouts being Jack Dylan Grazer as Alberto and Saverio Raimondo as Ercole.
    • Some of the actors even reprise their roles in the Italian dub, including Raimondo, Giacomo Gianniotti, and Marina Massironi.
  4. Certain cast members such as Saverio Raimondo (Ercole Visconti), Giacomo Gianniotti (Giacomo), Lorenzo Crisci (Guido), Francesca Fanti (Maggiore), Gino La Monica (Tomasso), Marina Massironi (Mrs. Marsigliese), Enrico Casarosa (Angry fisherman and Scopa player), and Gino D'Acampo (Don Eugenio in the British version) are Italian while Marco Barricelli (Massimo), Elisa Gabrielli (Concetta Aragosta), and Jim Pirri (Mr. Branzino) are of Italian descent.
  5. Unbelievably fantastic animation, giving the visuals a style reminiscent to the Studio Ghibli films for Pixar standards.
  6. Very likable and sympathetic characters:
    • Luca Paguro is a 12-year-old curious sea monster protagonist about the world above the sea. He lives in the waters next to the Italian coast, in a farm where he herds goatfish with his parents. And while he's been warned his whole life that the human world is a dangerous place by parents, he longs for something beyond his quiet farm life, so when Alberto takes him to explore Portorosso, his eyes open up to a whole world of possibilities.
    • Alberto Scorfano is a 14-year-old sea monster and Luca's best friend who is enthusiastic to explore the human world. He is a free-spirited, expressive and gregarious boy who is "all about having fun".
    • Giulia Marcovaldo is a 13-year-old Italian girl who befriends Luca and Alberto. She is an "outgoing and charming adventurer with a love of books and learning".
    • Massimo Marcovaldo is an Italian fisherman and cook, and Giulia's father. He is an imposing and tattooed man born with only one arm; despite Luca and Alberto being intimidated by his big size and skill with a knife, Massimo has a soft heart, especially for his daughter.
    • Daniella, Lorenzo and Grandma Paguro are Luca's parents who, despite his son being forbidden to go the surface, does have caring personality for his son. Plus, Grandma actually enjoys going up to the surface and spending the weekends there, which she kept as a secret from her family until celebrating Luca's victory at the Portorosso Cup, unlike her daughter and son-in-law.
  7. The bond between Luca and Alberto is amazing.
  8. Apart from that, Giulia and Luca have perfect chemistry together, like exploring and studying the solar system, the city of Rome, and Da Vinci's flying machine.
  9. The soundtrack contains many non-English pop-culture classical Italy songs that were fit their respective scenes. What's even better is that the movie is in Italy, making the pop-culture song choice accurate.
  10. Ercole Visconti, despite being nasty bully and complete jerkass, is a great and funny love-to-hate antagonist who has two followers, Ciccio and Guido, who are ready to do his bidding. He also proves that he can truly become a genuine threat towards the main characters when he tries to kill Luca and Alberto upon discovering the two's true identities as sea monsters. He is basically like Chef Skinner from Ratatouille of Italian. He also does get his comeuppance in the third act when the two follows attack and throws him at the fountain, which is satisfying.
    • One the subject of Ciccio and Guido, they are considered great redeemed antagonist, who is actually better than Ercole.
  11. The Italian dub is near-perfect, since the movie takes place in Italy.
  12. Dan Romer's orchestral score is great. It also helps that the soundtrack itself is also pretty good and pleasant to listen to, not to mention perfectly fitting with the movie itself and it's premise.
  13. The director of the film, Enrico Casarosa, was born in Genoa, Italy, and declared that the film's core is a celebration of friendship, allowing to increasing the authenticity of the setting and the movie's themes. It can be also autobiographical movie for director's childhood.
  14. It focus on the lesson for viewers about emphasizes the common societal fear of struggling to fit in and discovering oneself.
  15. The movie is basically Pixar's own version of Stranger Things, The Goonies, Stand by Me, Stephen King's IT (with Jack Dylan Grazer also involved from Andy Muschietti's version), and Super 8.
    • It is also basically Pixar's own version of Bubble Guppies with a mix of "secret identity" if they showed Luca in school.
  16. The climax during the Portorosso Cup is entertaining, as it's stakes are incredibly high given how Luca and Giulia are now on their own to win after Alberto leaving before to the competition beginning, and the incoming rainfall threatens to expose Luca as a sea monster.
  17. The 2D animation artstyle during the end credits is very interesting, as it continues the story of Luca and Alberto, with Luca attending school for the first time and Alberto being cared for by Massimo.
  18. Great pacing. The simple and easy-to-follow plot also greatly helps this aspect.
  19. The designs of sea monsters characters look impressive. How can we know? They're creative, detailed, and make use of traits generally found on humans by making them instead of things you would generally see on sea monsters like scales or fins. The transformations between both forms are also gorgeous to view, as they happen seamlessly.
  20. When Giulia found out about Luca and Alberto's true identities as seas monsters, it at first seems like they were going to do the "Liar Revealed" cliche, but it instead subverts the trope by having Giulia be concerned for the boys' safety due to the town's hatred for sea monsters rather than having her get angry at them for lying to her.
  21. Plenty of clever, funny, well-written comedy. One example is when Luca kicks a ball, knocking over Ercole's Vespa in the process. Another example is when Luca spits water onto his friend Alberto's face, almost revealing his sea monster form.
  22. The ending scene when Luca leaves Alberto and his family behind in order to be able to go to school with Giulia for the train is very emotional. It is very similar to the ending scenes from both Toy Story 3 and The Mitchells vs. the Machines.
  23. Several memorable quotes and catchphrases like "Andiamo!", "Take me, gravity!", "What's wrong with you, Stupido!", “Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta.” and of course, "Silencio, Bruno!" The lines below are also really heartwarming too:
    • "But... how am I gonna know you're okay?"
      • "You got me off the Island, Luca. I'm okay."

Bad Qualities

  1. The infamous scene where Luca betrays Alberto. On top of this, the latter can get a little unlikable when he gets jealous of Luca and Giulia's friendship. Although his motivations are entirely understandable as he fears losing Luca, what he says and does paints him as a bit of a jerk, making it hard to root for either one.
  2. While not as much as other media such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, the Italian stereotypes can get on your nerves.
  3. Ercole, despite a genuine threat, can be an unlikeable, whiny, and one-dimensional villain. Thankfully, he does get his own comeuppance at the end of the race of Portorosso Cup.
  4. While the townspeople learning to accept sea monsters was pretty nice and satisfying, it can still feel rather rushed due to how quickly they did so after all the prejudice they've been shown to have against them throughout the film.
  5. At the end of the race, the underdogs (Luca, Alberto and Giulia's team) are declared the winners, but Luca is technically the only winner as Giulia raced on her own and Alberto never participated in the race as the team was broken up after Luca and Alberto's true identities were discovered.

Reception

Critical response

Luca received positive reviews, with praise for its visuals, animation, voice performances, and sense of nostalgia. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 292 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The audiences score was at 85% based on w 2,500+ ratings. The website's critics consensus reads, "Slight but suffused with infectious joy, the beguiling Luca proves Pixar can play it safe while still charming audiences of all ages.", while the Audience Says section reads, "It isn't as creative as Pixar's best movies, but Luca lives up to the studio's standards for beautiful animation while telling a sweet fish-out-of-water story the whole family will enjoy.". According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average score of 71 out of 100 based on 52 critics, the film received "generally favorable reviews". On IMDb and Letterboxd, the film has the ratings of 7.4/10 and 3.9/5.

Box office

By September 2021, the film has grossed $37 million worldwide, with its largest markets being China ($10.5 million), Russia ($8.09 million), Hong Kong ($3.2 million), Poland ($3.04 million), South Korea ($3 million) and the United Arab Emirates ($1.9 million).

Audience viewership

According to Nielsen ratings, following its opening weekend, Luca topped all original movies in its first days on streaming, with a 1.57 billion minutes of viewing time. Nielsen reported that the movie topped the weekly streaming Top 10 list for the June 14–20 week, and ranking at No. 2 on the overall streaming rankings after the TV series Manifest on Netflix. The film continued to play well in subsequent weeks, logging 1.15 billion minutes of viewership between July 21–27 (equal to about 1.2 million total watches), the second-most for an original film behind The Tomorrow War.

Awards

At the 94th Academy Awards, Luca has been nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Videos

Trivia

  • Alberto Scorfano's voice actor, Jack Dylan Grazer, also played Eddie Kaspbrak from Andy Muschietti's IT franchise. He later voiced Barney in Ron's Gone Wrong, done by sister company 20th Century Studios and the British animation studio Locksmith Animation as their debut film.
  • Director Enrico Casarosa stated that he drew inspiration from the films of Hayao Miyazaki when creating the film. The character Luca's original last name was Portorosso, a nod to Miyazaki's Porco Rosso (1992) (in English, Porco Rosso). In the final version of the film, the character's surname was changed and the name of the town was changed to Portorosso.
  • According to the director, the film takes place in about 1959.
    • In line with the film's mid-1950s setting, a building near the Portorosso fountain features posters for Roman Holiday (1953) and Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).
  • This was the second Pixar film to release directly on the streaming service Disney+, preceeded by Soul in 2020 and followed by Turning Red in 2022.
  • According to Nielsen chart ratings, this film was the most streamed film of 2021.
  • For some reason, the movie was played at the El Capitan Theatre on June 18 - 24, despite being labeled as a "Disney+ Original".
  • Many Pixar employees are upset at the move to make the film a Disney+ exclusive, putting out public statements that doing it with Soul in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was understandable, but doing it twice in a row even with the vaccine rollout ramping up, and not even putting it behind a premium paywall like Raya and the Last Dragon, started to give the impression that the studio isn't respected by Disney execs.
  • The "Created and produced at Pixar Animation Studios" end credit was rewritten as "Dreamed up at Pixar Animation Studios - Emeryville, California. Produced in our slippers around the Bay Area."
  • John Ratzenberger does not appear in the film. Although Soul was the first not to feature his voice (instead featuring a background character bearing his likeness), this is the first instance where Ratzenberger is completely absent. The second was Turning Red.
  • Ciccio is voiced by Peter Sohn, who directed Pixar's The Good Dinosaur and will be the director of Elemental.
  • Giulia's name was once used for a deleted character from Cars 2.
  • While the film was rated PG in United States, it was rated G in Australia, making it Pixar's first film for 2020s in Australia.
  • This is the only Pixar Animation Studios movie so far not to be dubbed in Canadian French, and also the first not to be dubbed in Catalan.
  • The film was released during Pixar's 35th anniversary.
  • This is the first Pixar film not to have a Commentary on the Blu-Ray and DVD. The DVD removes the Bonus Features menu because of this.
  • While it is the first Pixar film to be made almost exclusively at crew members' homes because of the closing of Pixar campus in Emeryville, California, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the director stated that it took 5 years to be made at the studio.


Pixar Animation Studios
Movies:

Toy Story - A Bug's Life - Toy Story 2 - Monsters, Inc. - Finding Nemo - The Incredibles - Cars - Ratatouille - WALL-E - Up - Toy Story 3 - Cars 2 - Brave - Monsters University - Inside Out - The Good Dinosaur - Finding Dory - Cars 3 - Coco - Incredibles 2 - Toy Story 4 - Onward - Soul - Luca - Turning Red - Lightyear - Elemental - Elio - Inside Out 2

Short movies:

Theatrical short films:

The Adventures of André and Wally B. - Luxo Jr. - Red's Dream - Tin Toy - Knick Knack - Geri's Game - For the Birds - Boundin' - One Man Band - Lifted - Presto - Partly Cloudy - Day & Night - La Luna - The Blue Umbrella - Lava - Sanjay's Super Team - Piper - Lou - Bao

SparkShorts series:

Purl - Smash and Grab - Kitbull - Float - Wind - Loop - Out - Burrow - Twenty Something - Nona

Feature-related:

Mike's New Car - Jack-Jack Attack - Mr. Incredible and Pals - Mater and the Ghostlight - Your Friend the Rat - BURN-E - Dug's Special Mission - George and A.J. - The Legend of Mor'du - Party Central - Riley's First Date? - Marine Life Interviews - Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool - Auntie Edna - Lamp Life - 22 vs. Earth - Ciao Alberto

Short series:

Cars Toons:

Mater's Tall Tales:

Rescue Squad Mater - Mater the Greater - El Materdor - Tokyo Mater - Unidentified Flying Mater - Monster Truck Mater - Heavy Metal Mater - Moon Mater - Mater Private Eye - Air Mater - Time Travel Mater

Tales from Radiator Springs:

Hiccups - Bugged - Spinning - The Radiator Springs 500½

Toy Story Toons:

Hawaiian Vacation - Small Fry - Partysaurus Rex

Forky Asks a Question:

What Is Money? - What Is a Friend? - What Is Art? - What Is Time - What Is Love? - What Is a Computer? - What Is a Leader? - What Is a Pet? - What Is Cheese? - What Is Reading?

Pixar Popcorn:

To Fitness and Beyond - Unparalleled Parking - Dory Finding - Soul of the City - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Love - Chore Day the Incredibles Way - A Day in the Life of the Dead - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Three Heads - Dancing with the Cars - Cookie Num Num

Dug Days:

Squirrel! - Puppies - Flowers - Smell - Science

Television series:

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (co-production) - Monsters at Work - Cars On The Road - Win or Lose

External links

Comments

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