Film review: Luca

Pixar are known for their charming films, from the delightful Up to the characterful Ratatouille, they have rarely put a foot wrong!

Luca slipped under my radar somewhat until I saw it pop up on my Disney+ account. I remember seeing the trailer a few weeks prior and thinking this looks like something that could carry the Pixar mantel!

The premise of the film follows a small fish ‘monster’ called Luca who wants to explore the world and is drawn to the nearby human town. What drives him through the majority of this film is the desire to own a vespa. To do so he needs the prize money from the town’s annual triathlon! From here all sorts of misadventures occur as he makes friends and learns all about the human way of life, particularly in an amusing scene where he tries to walk! Alongside his friend and fellow sea monster Alberto, they have to enlist the help of the local fisherman’s daughter Giulia to learn the ways of the triathlon and attempt to beat the local bully and previous five time champion Ercole Visconti!

The film keeps up a good pace with intertwined narratives from different characters. They never feel forced and it helps make the film an entertaining way to pass one hour and thirty six minutes. The cast all seem to gel well together (as much as you can tell from an animation) the lead voice actor is Jacob Tremblay who is probably best known for his role in the comedy Good Boys. There is another familiar voice in the film, Sacha Baron Cohen who plays Luca’s Uncle Ugo. He is disappointingly unused and provides a nice spark to the film.


Pixar have always been known for their colourful and beautifully animated films, and Luca in my eyes takes this a step forward. It is a truly stunning film to watch. The contrasts between the ocean and underwater scenes really compliment the sun soaked fisherman’s town of Portorosso, which is testament to the animator’s ability to really push the ‘boat’ out now. Some could argue that it is getting perhaps too real and loosing some of the charm of the original films. The answer to that is they have the resources now to do this whereas in the past they did not. A classic case in point is in the original Toy Story, they did not have the budget to animate two parents hence why Andy has just a mother.

The beauty of using all this colour and vibrancy is that it follows the tone of the film. Much of the film is sun kissed and jovial to match the excitement of Luca. However, when the colour palette changes to a dark and stormy, we know as an audience that there has been a shift in the feel. This is a great way to do storytelling. Some films use this method but with music, like Into the Spiderverse for example, that utilises it to profound effect. This aspect of the film is perhaps what I most like about it, so many films are very dark (looking at you Godzilla) that when the tones do fluctuate it is hard to discern what we should be reacting too.

There are some downsides to the film, yes it is very charming as I mentioned. However, it doesn’t quite have the spark that makes it a Pixar great. It is missing something that is hard to put your finger on. Maybe it could do with a less predictable plot and adding in another layer to the characters. Apart from a few notions it is hard to pick this as a Pixar film which is sad.

However, I would not let this detract from an otherwise great film. It has colour, buoyancy and a casual air about it that has been missing from a lot of films recently. So if you get a chance to watch this or if you want something on whilst cooking then I recommend this highly.





Author: Tom, Bath store