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Luca is a beautiful tale of two young sea monsters who become human when they are on land, and their unlikely but strong friendship with a young girl. More upbeat than recent Pixar movies and great for kids.

Animation studio Pixar has a large bag of hit movies. It has been around long enough now that even with a canon that contains tales such as superhero families; toys that come to life; talking cars; and the balance of anthropomorphic emotional states, it takes something deliberately different to really stand out.

Without fuss then, Luca stands apart from the recent slew of one-off tearjerkers (Soul, Inside Out, Coco, Onward) or ‘more of the same’ sequels by virtue of being gloriously old fashioned.

Taking cues from the expressiveness of early Hayao Miyazaki work (with a liberal sprinkling of the aesthetic of Porco Rosso in particular), Luca is a gentle and romanticised coming of age story set on the Italian Riviera during the 50s to 60s.

What Is Luca About?

Luca, a young sea monster, is enamoured with the idea of visiting the surface and the land of the humans.

His parents are terrified that humans would hunt them if they were to venture to the local fishing town of Portorosso, but when he bumps into fellow sea monster Alberto, who lives in an abandoned lighthouse for fun, he decides to take the (anti)plunge.

The core elements are all very familiar for Pixar of course. A character longs for something they can’t have and overcomes adversity along the way, learning something about themselves.

Yet as mentioned earlier most of Pixar’s recent output has been hyper-emotional or yet another sequel.

Luca’s strong European localisation (complete with accents, pasta, and an obsession with Vespas) gives it a lilting low-stakes comfort.

Watching Luca is like wading out into the low tide and letting the inexplicably soothing beach atmosphere fill you up like a Mediterranean hug.

Luca Official Trailer

Is Luca Worth Watching?

Luca and Alberto take on human form the moment they are dry, but also revert to their sea monster appearance whenever they get wet.

The fear that, if others discover what is inside of you, people will reject who you desperately want to be is universal enough.

You could remove the ‘sea monster’ element of the story and replace it with anything else (see any other Pixar movie).

Yet this makes for good fun with the plot and animation as the pair befriend 13-year-old Giulia, a young girl determined to defeat the supercilious Ercole Visconti in the annual Portorosso Cup, but find their own friendship and fears tested as a result.

That isn’t to say there are no emotional stakes. Luca still lands a few blows to the heart, as any good story should.

But these are the salty sea spray in your face that is part and parcel of letting the restorative ebb and flow of the tide wash over you.

The combination of softly beautiful imagery, a soundtrack overflowing with Italian compositions, and heavily accented characters unafraid to roll a consonant as required, together paint a movie that nails the mood of a place.

As Coco emotionally captured Mexico through the lens of death, Luca stretches its arms out to bask in the Mediterranean love of simple things, and invites you to do the same.

Words by Mike Record

How Was Luca Filmed?

Luca was produced primarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, which posed significant challenges.

Much of the production, including animation and voice recording, had to be done remotely.

In terms of animation and design, the team was inspired by hand-drawn and stop-motion techniques, giving the film a unique, stylised look that stands out from other Pixar films.

The setting, a fictional town on the Italian Riviera, was crafted with great attention to detail, capturing the essence of the region's charming coastal towns.

The underwater scenes also presented unique animation challenges in terms of lighting, movement, and rendering.

Will There Be A Sequel To Luca?

Unfortunately, Pixar had not announced a sequel to Luca.

Pixar's approach to sequels varies; while some movies like Toy Story and Finding Nemo have received sequels or spin-offs, others have remained standalone films.

The decision often depends on the story's potential to expand and the original film's success.

However, the world of Luca is rich with possibilities for further exploration.

Plus, the ending leaves room for more stories, especially considering the setting that blends a fantastical sea monster world with a picturesque human town.

Who Voices The Characters In Luca?

Jacob Tremblay as Luca Paguro, a 12-year-old Italian boy and Alberto's best friend who is curious about the world above the sea.

Jack Dylan Grazer as Alberto Scorfano, a 14-year-old Italian boy and Luca's best friend who is enthusiastic to explore the human world.

Emma Berman as Giulia Marcovaldo, a 13-year-old Italian girl who is an outcast in Portorosso and befriends Luca and Alberto.

Saverio Raimondo as Ercole Visconti, a cowardly bully.

Maya Rudolph as Daniela Paguro, a sea monster, and Luca's mother who is determined to keep him safe.

Marco Barricelli as Massimo Marcovaldo, an Italian fisherman and Giulia's father.

Jim Gaffigan as Lorenzo Paguro, a sea monster and Luca's father.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Ugo Paguro, a sea monster and Luca's uncle.

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  • Wonderfully Warm
  • Loveable Characters
  • Lilting Soundtrack


  • Standard Plot
  • Lacks A Wow Factor


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