“We can go anywhere, do anything! We just got to stick together.”
That message of sticking together and being able to conquer anything is the primary theme throughout Disney-Pixar’s newest film Luca. Luca will premiere on June 18 on Disney+ and shows how far a person — or sea monster — can go when they have the power of friendship behind them and acceptance in front of them. The film may be geared towards a younger audience, but the message that it sends is one that audiences young and old can hold in their hearts.
Spoiler Warning: While we highly recommend watching Luca, and we’d love for you to read our review, we want to warn you that some minor spoilers and our reaction to the film are included within this article. Continue reading at your own discretion, and be sure to watch Luca on Disney+ on June 18!
Luca begins under the sea and is about a young sea monster named Luca who finds some human artifacts on the seafloor and is immediately drawn to them. Unfortunately, he must keep them a secret, as his mother Daniela — voiced by Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph — wants him to have nothing to do with the human world and the “land monsters” that reside there.
Luca soon meets another sea monster, Alberto, who convinces him to go to the surface — a BIG no-no. Luca tells his parents, and they bring in his uncle, who he has never met, to take him deeper into the ocean so he will forget about the human world that he just experienced. Luca then goes to the surface with Alberto, who lives there more of the time, and they begin to live as two young boys in Portorosso, with no one knowing who they truly are.
While living on land, Alberto and Luca meet a young girl named Giulia. Giulia lives with her father over the summer and trains for the Portorosso Cup, which she always loses. However, with Alberto and Luca supporting her this year, she may finally have a chance. The three quickly form a tight bond, but the boys must continue to keep their secret just between the two of them.
Luca, Alberto, and Giulia spend their days’ training and their nights with Giulia’s father as Giulia teaches Luca science and shows him books about stars and galaxies. Unfortunately, the closer they get to the day of the race, Luca and Alberto’s secret is threatened to come out. In the end, their secret only becomes a small part of their lives, but the people they meet along the way help shape them into whom they will become.
And so, in those special kind of summers when you’re growing up and kind of finding yourself, I was kind of following him and getting dragged into troubles. And it really made me really think about how much we find ourselves with our friendships, or how much friendships help us find a bit who we wanna be…I kept on thinking about the-the-the literal and the metaphor of someone who pushes you off a cliff. – Luca Director Enrico Casarosa
Embracing a friendship, silencing your doubts (Silenzio Bruno!), and letting yourself get pushed off of a cliff is only one of the many lessons that this beautifully made film will teach viewers. From the beautiful Italian landscapes to the power of friendship, and the strength of a community, Luca sends a message that we need to hear.
Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer are absolutely wonderful as Luca and Alberto. Relative newcomer Emma Berman embraces the role of Giulia and makes you love her from the second she comes onto the screen.
The film also gives a nod to other Disney films that viewers are sure to recognize. Just the fact that Luca is a sea monster who becomes a human will gives viewers the feeling that they are watching a new spin on the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid. The special friendship that Luca forms with Giulia also sends big UP vibes — minus the romance.
True to form, Disney-Pixar’s Luca is sure to be another success for the successful duo. While it may not be the strongest film Disney-Pixar has ever made, its message of friendship is extremely relatable — maybe not the sea monster part — and the story is one that can be embraced.
Overall Grade – B+
Be sure to watch Luca when it premieres on Disney+ on June 18 and let us know what you think!