From Pixar Animations Studios comes their newest animated feature, LUCA, which gets a straight-to-digital release on Disney Plus rather than a theatrical release. It feels less polished for it. Taking place in the sun-splashed coastal town of southern Italy in what can best be surmised as post-war, LUCA is about a boy, a ‘mer-boy’ – half-human, half-aquatic, who yearns to experience life on land among humans. He quickly befriends another mer-boy, Alberto, who is doing just that – living the human experience. But Luca’s parents are frightful of humans and their desire to kill the ‘sea monsters’ that are Luca and his family. So Luca and his friend Alberto run away to live on land and attain the one thing that will give them both true freedom, a Vespa scooter. Feeling very much like an Italian dramedy, LUCA taps into the standard Pixar tropes of belonging and the importance of family and friends. While the story does not offer any real surprises, its bright and colorful animation and frequent inside Italian jokes keep the story moving, even when the main characters frequently gain and lose their Italian accents.
While not up to Pixar story-telling standards, LUCA entertains with a fresh Italian slant. Available on Disney Plus.