Luca [Grade: A-]

Director: Enrico Casarosa

Story By: Enrico Casarosa, Jesse Andrews, & Simon Stephenson

Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, & Maya Rudolph

* * *

I honestly have no other reason for watching Luca except for seeing that a few others had watched and gave it a some average scores.

Even when I saw the trailer, I wasn’t really “moved” to watch this film. Nothing felt super forward or exciting. As I watched, this was also the feeling I had. It wasn’t a bad animated film, but it also didn’t meet the bar set by other Pixar/Disney projects.

* * *

Below are my grades for key components in #Luca that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development.

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: A

Plot & Story: B

Pacing: A-

Character Arc/Development: A

General Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush

Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. The animation was beautiful! There was a short moment in particular where Luca was emerging from the water, and there was the sky, the blues and greens of the water, and the texture of his scales that were just stunning. 👍🏾👍🏾

2. The story is actually really adorable and pretty well executed from beginning to end when specifically following Luca’s character—a young boy looking for some adventure in his day-to-day takes a risk; and not only finds adventure, but finds an entirely new world of opportunities. 👍🏾👍🏾

3. I also just want to be a huge fan (and I can’t believe I am fanning for these young stars) BUT… YEEESSSSS Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer! Awwwwww… knowing they were the main voices of this film is so awesome. Also, Jacob got some range coming from Good Boys to this… … 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

4. The cat… … … something so small, yet so great and hilarious. 😂😂

5. Pacing was actually pretty strong. I thought I had an issue with Act 1 moving too fast, but in actuality Act 1 moved pretty well to get us to the purpose of the film.

However, that ending was a little rushed, especially after all that amazing build up. Somebody got lazy during the think tank… 👀🤷🏾‍♂️

6. To piggyback off of point #2, the only issue I had with the story was understanding Daniela’s issue with land when her mother seemed not be as phased. I wished that there was this surprise layer to the story based on Daniela’s past experience that could possibly provide a different type of tension for Luca…or Daniela…🤷🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️

7. Oh Uncle Ugo. Sacha Baron Cohen understood his assignment. His short moment was definitely a joy. 👍🏾

8. The film did a great job using Giulia’s family to capture the juxtaposing goals of Luca and Alberto. It was really cute. 👍🏾

9. The character arc/development of Luca was solid. There’s a clear progression of a boy who was naive and possibly held himself back to just be a “good boy,” to a “good boy” who became more knowledgeable through experience and social interaction, and more outspoken and confident.👍🏾👍🏾

10. Chile… Alberto was toxic. 🤣🤣🤣

11. Also, the moment where the friendship turned… 😧 like, WHAT!? I couldn’t believe it.

12. The messaging that I found to be delivered well via Luca was this understanding that there is so much more to our lives than what we sometimes keep ourselves from experiencing, and/or allow others to keep us from experiencing—whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or all of the above.

I would also add another strong message we see via Alberto around how trauma can cause unhealthy micromanaging of relationships, and keep us from actually receiving and benefiting from the positive relationships that are actively attempting to develop/manifest.👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

13. Chiiiiile…when Daniela and Lorenzo “arrived” with the children. 🤣🤣🤣 They were TOO much! 😂

14. It was the subtle, correct pronunciation of the pastas for me! 👍🏾

15. You know… I am really on the fence about Ercole… there’s the age, BUT it was addressed which was appreciated…yet, I still couldn’t get behind his behavior with that understanding of his age. As someone in education, something felt developmentally concerning…like having a 16-year-old student who has been held back and should’ve been aged out, but is still in 8th grade… … They could’ve just made him an intense bully of the same age. 🥴🤦🏾‍♂️

16. I liked the ending credits. They were cute. 👍🏾

17. I also liked the impact and tension “water” caused for the characters. This also really elevated the start of Act 3. 👍🏾👍🏾

18. The fish gathering was funny. 😂😂😂

19. You know…another part of the story that also bothers me a bit is with the language. For these to be sea creatures, I would have loved a different language, or maybe something unique with just expressions and gestures. Not to mention, why did Alberto know some words but not others? Everything about this film said he shouldn’t have known the word “feet” to me. 🤷🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️

* * *

Overall, #Luca is Little Mermaid-meets Lord of the Flies- meets Lovecraft Country’s Ruby navigating the world as a white woman. It is definitely a cute and well executed film, so you might be wondering why I am saying “don’t rush.” Well, though it’s a solid piece of work, it is missing that deeper, critical component that we often see in other Pixar/Disney projects. It felt safe, and also like a slight agenda to celebrate and highlight school/education for children now that we are out of a pandemic school year.

So, watch it…but don’t feel like you need to hurry. If there’s other things you have in mind to watch, you don’t have try and prioritize this over others.

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