Would I recommend Luca? Yes, I would. This is a Disney Plus exclusive worth seeing and is bursting with colour, personality and character. The story is simple, but the underlying layers make it a very engaging watch, and we can walk away thinking about it afterwards.
The art style and animation are marvellous! It is Pixar in top form and has among the most beautiful uses of the colours blue and green that I have ever seen in a film. Despite their amount, the colour palette is nice and warm. The town of Portorosso is a pure overdose of nostalgia. A timeless Italy. A romantic Italy. A world of simple delights lovingly crafted by the artists. The character designs are reminisced of
The voice acting is absolutely excellent, and I enjoyed watching this film in both English and Italian. You can blame my love for anime on why I seek to view it in the language in which it is based. Saverio Raimondo, who voices the main antagonist Ercole in English and Italian, is fantastic. He perfectly creates the sound of a smarmy and arrogant young man. Everybody else is very suitable in their roles.
The characters, story, and themes are very sharp. Some would say, a literal fish-out-of-water story with considerations to be made. It is a story about the friendship between Luca and Alberto. As well as a story about the influence and love of education and exploration. You have Alberto showing Luca the vehicle. In this case, the Vespa scooter could take them anywhere they want. However, Alberto’s role is simply to get out of the boat and swim on the surface (metaphorically speaking). Then you have Guilia showing Luca a higher calling or destination through education and/or truth. She, metaphorically, encourages Luca to dive into the water and see the world underneath – something that Alberto cannot provide due to his own lack of knowledge to do so. Some could argue that Luca’s parents could have played a bigger role in this film – however, I think this would have taken away the focus. Plus, 2017’s Coco already covered the defiance-of-family-to-learn-the-truth story a few years ago. There needed to be a different story here. You will also get some obscure inspirations and parallels for reference. Such as Luca and Alberto being compared to Ariel and Scuttle in The Little Mermaid. Never mind Alberto being based on an old childhood friend of the director Enrico Casarosa.
The music in both score and soundtrack is lovely and really bring you into its world. The opening in particular, known as Un bacio a mezzanotte by Quartetto Cetra is…perfect. And hopefully, more people will find the song for themselves. Apparently, they wanted Ennio Morricone, which would have provided a wonderful touch. However, it didn’t work out (rest in peace, Ennio), and the job was given to Dan Romer, who some might know as the composer for the video game Far Cry 5. In general, it all works well.
Art Style: *****
Voice Acting: *****