Luca is a story of a summer of friendship in Italy. During this summer, there is growth and discovery about individuals, friendships, and family. There is also some amazing pasta and gelato in a gorgeous Italian village, not to mention some Vespa scooters.
The story told in Luca is a timeliness tale of friendship and growth. It has wonderful messages in it about accepting people for who they are, friendship, and family. There are moments of humor, moments of heartbreak, and moments that really are meaningful. It may not be the most complex story in the world, but it makes up for this with heart. There aren’t many major surprises in it but that is ok. It is a feel-good story with characters that are believable. There is something refreshing about watching a story unfold that doesn’t bounce all over the place and just leaves you smiling.
If you are a fan of Italy, there is a very good chance you will be a fan of Luca. This movie beautifully recreates some of the seaside views found in Italy. The town in the film is also beautifully charming and reminiscent of so many different little towns in Italy. The ocean scenes are also quite beautiful. There are also some moments that are basically dream sequences that go for a more stylistic look that is pleasant to look at. Overall, the film is pretty to look at and has matching sound design. It isn’t as groundbreaking as some of Pixar’s other films, but it also doesn’t commit any major crimes either. There are a few highlight moments that would (and probably will) make for some beautiful framed art for someone’s collection.
The pacing of Luca moves along at a comfortable pace. This is a movie that isn’t slow but it also doesn’t race either. Sometimes it speeds up a little bit and other times it slows down a little bit. However, it didn’t make me look at my watch during the film. On the flip side, I didn’t find myself struggling to keep up at all either. The pacing is something I could imagine all generations enjoying together. I could totally picture watching this with my grandparents, parents, and nieces and nephews as they would all enjoy the pacing.
I personally really enjoyed the different characters found in Luca. The three main characters were Luca, Alberto, and Giulia. They very much reminded me of myself and some of my friends as kids in Minnesota. The various characters around them were also quite believable. There was some growth in some of them but more in the way of evolution as opposed to an about-face. Yes, there were some about-faces for some of the secondary characters but for the most part, these changes weren’t a huge surprise. The relationships made sense, the conflicts made sense, their stories made sense. If I were to make a critique it could be that everything made too much sense in some ways. However, I would also say this was something I really enjoyed about this movie. Yes, there were elements about some specific characters that were a bit over the top (like Luca and his family). However, at their core, they were all members of a family, and their roles and relationships made sense.
The music for Luca included two types of music. One was the score, the other was “in world” music. The “in-world” included Italian music that would be heard in Italy in the 1950’s or 1960’s. This included some opera and classic Italian pop music from the era. These were absolutely delightful additions to the movie and really helped bring the movie to life and connect the viewer with Italy. They were also just a lot of fun.
The score, by Dan Romer, is a blend of music that feels Italian but also very Pixar. There are pizzicato violins, accordion, mandolins, and a smaller orchestra that lends themselves to the feel of the small Italian seaside village that most of Luca takes place in. It is an enjoyable enough score but not as iconic or memorable as say the score from Up.
Luca is quite simply a beautiful film. It tells a simple story that is heartwarming and will be fun for the whole family. The visuals in it are quite lovely and will make the viewer want to visit Italy, or go back if they’ve already been there. The lessons in it are universal lessons of accepting people, whoever they are. The music is enjoyable and the movie is pleasing to look at it. This may not be the most revolutionary Pixar film ever, however it definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites for its ability to tell a simply story in a beautiful way without overcomplicating it or going too far over the top. Simple is hard and Luca shows that it can also be beautiful.
Also, if you didn’t want a Vespa before this movie… you might want one by the end of it.