Zebra likes… Luca

Review by Zahra Ghaffar

Set on the Italian Riviera, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) leave behind their lives as sea monsters and set out on an adventure where they form an unlikely bond with human girl Giulia (Emma Berman). However, keeping their sea monster identities a secret proves to be a big challenge. 

This year, Disney Pixar celebrates its 35th anniversary as an animation studio, its first ever release being the world’s first computer animated feature film Toy Story in 1995. The studio then continued on to release some of the best animated films ever made, such as Up, Ratatouille and many other international on-screen treasures. 

So how then, I hear you ask, did Pixar choose to celebrate its success? Was it by releasing yet another genre-defining emotional rollercoaster? Or perhaps a deeply moving experience that just gets better with age?

This may seem like a disappointment to some, but when Pixar released Luca this year, it turned out to be neither of those things. It doesn’t trigger any existential crises as with Wall-E or plague you with a sudden urge to be introspective like with Soul. In fact, this may be one of the most simple animated films as of recent. The story offers no contrivances, no complicated rescue missions and no reflections on our way of life. It does, however, offer up some of the most fun you can get out of a film by a studio with such a distinguished reputation. Luca is a ridiculously refreshing film that’s inherently likeable from the get-go while avoiding being aimless at any point. It explores the themes of childhood friendships and finding a sense of belonging in a world that doesn’t accept you. It will give a spark of hope to the kids watching and bring back memories for the adults who were forced to take said kids to watch it.

The movie marks the directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, who indicated in an interview that “the plot of a shy, reserved kid who befriends a non-conformist type who pushes him into becoming more open” is directly based on his own experiences as a child, having also spent his summers at Cinque Terre, where the movie is set. Casarosa also stated that, when working on Luca, he drew inspiration from Porco Rosso and other films of Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest animation directors and also the founder of Studio Ghibli. If you’re a fan of titles such as Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro, you may just find yourself falling in love with this wholesome story too. 

Luca also gifts us with a set of charming and dynamic characters each with their own majorly talented voice actor, quirky design and unique character relationships. Out of all the characters in the film, it is said that Luca has the largest eyes since he is so curious and eager to “take in everything” – adorable, right? Tremblay shows off his talent playing Luca, as he’s previously done in Wonder and other major titles. Tremblay stated that, in regards to Luca “It’s so cool I get to be part of someone else’s childhood. I think especially now the story is really special because, for me, I haven’t really been able to see my friends because of COVID, of course, and this movie is all about friendship. So, when people see it in theatres, I hope they’ll be able to remember hanging out with friends during summer vacations and just having a blast”. 

Luca was also the first movie to be made at home during the pandemic, the end credits showing the message ‘Produced in our slippers around the bay area’. This didn’t limit the movie in any way, however, as it became the most watched piece of content in its opening weekend when it premiered on Disney+. Grazer was also able to give an absolutely stellar performance as Alberto, selling all of his emotional moments through his delivery despite admittedly performing his vocal tracks inside of his mother’s closet as it “provided the acoustics needed” when recording at home. There is even a Sacha Baron Cohen cameo in some scenes as Uncle Ugo, which serves as a hilarious detail in the film. 

Another character that you’ll love to hate but be incredibly drawn to is the movie’s main antagonist, Ercole Visconti, voiced by Saverio Raimondo. He is the perfect blend of Ratatouille’s Skinner and every typical 80s and 90s movie jerk. Just imagine Chick Hicks from Cars but as a pompadoured blowhard teenage bully – truly iconic. 

Overall, the characters and casting just enhances the delightfulness of this feature film when paired with its smooth-running simplicity by an extensive amount. 

The plot of the movie may not have been very ambitious, yet the same cannot be said for the beautifully advanced animation. Everything from the vivid colours to the meticulous landscapes boasts the production of a truly magical atmosphere. Dan Romer did a breathtaking job when creating the soundtrack which gives out the same effect as the animation.

Both of these arts combined produce the flawless image of the breezy Italian Summer that surrounds Luca, and it’s not hard to see the amount of effort put in to create this image. Viewers should also note that the film pays homage to Italian pop culture as the street names in the film honour famous Italian authors and filmmakers.

“We have a lot of Italian homages from Italian cinema, from old wonderful movies, Marcello Mastroianni has a little cameo. We have Fellini’s, a famous director, and we have a Fellini movie with the poster of La Strada. So in the signage, it’s fun to see and look for and find what they all mean. We really had fun putting in interesting Italian words that are puns, or Italian words that are very typical or directors we love” Enrico says. 

It may not be a philosophical masterpiece, or a powerful work of art that will affect you after each viewing, and it may not jive with the Pixar’s best works, but Luca is a heartwarming and sentimental movie that will leave you with a smile on your face and possibly even a lump in your throat. It’s childlike innocence has left me with nothing but love for the film, even though it isn’t anything awe inspiring. After a long period of time staying inside and feeling alone, Luca may just give you and your family a little light in your heart as it displays the simple yet beautiful love of childhood friendships.

 

Get in touch with us today and speak with us on how we can take your immersive audio experience to the next level.

We would love for you to visit! Contact us to book your private demonstration or for any further questions.

Book a private demonstration at Zebra Home Cinema?

We would love for you to visit! Contact us to book your private demonstration or for any further questions.

Zebra likes… Luca

Set on the Italian Riviera, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) leave behind their lives as sea monsters and set out on an adventure where they form an unlikely bond with human girl Giulia (Emma Berman). However, keeping their sea monster identities a secret proves to be a big challenge. 

This year, Disney Pixar celebrates its 35th anniversary as an animation studio, its first ever release being the world’s first computer animated feature film Toy Story in 1995. The studio then continued on to release some of the best animated films ever made, such as Up, Ratatouille and many other international on-screen treasures. 

So how then, I hear you ask, did Pixar choose to celebrate its success? Was it by releasing yet another genre-defining emotional rollercoaster? Or perhaps a deeply moving experience that just gets better with age?

This may seem like a disappointment to some, but when Pixar released Luca this year, it turned out to be neither of those things. It doesn’t trigger any existential crises as with Wall-E or plague you with a sudden urge to be introspective like with Soul. In fact, this may be one of the most simple animated films as of recent. The story offers no contrivances, no complicated rescue missions and no reflections on our way of life. It does, however, offer up some of the most fun you can get out of a film by a studio with such a distinguished reputation. Luca is a ridiculously refreshing film that’s inherently likeable from the get-go while avoiding being aimless at any point. It explores the themes of childhood friendships and finding a sense of belonging in a world that doesn’t accept you. It will give a spark of hope to the kids watching and bring back memories for the adults who were forced to take said kids to watch it.

The movie marks the directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, who indicated in an interview that “the plot of a shy, reserved kid who befriends a non-conformist type who pushes him into becoming more open” is directly based on his own experiences as a child, having also spent his summers at Cinque Terre, where the movie is set. Casarosa also stated that, when working on Luca, he drew inspiration from Porco Rosso and other films of Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest animation directors and also the founder of Studio Ghibli. If you’re a fan of titles such as Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro, you may just find yourself falling in love with this wholesome story too. 

Luca also gifts us with a set of charming and dynamic characters each with their own majorly talented voice actor, quirky design and unique character relationships. Out of all the characters in the film, it is said that Luca has the largest eyes since he is so curious and eager to “take in everything” – adorable, right? Tremblay shows off his talent playing Luca, as he’s previously done in Wonder and other major titles. Tremblay stated that, in regards to Luca “It’s so cool I get to be part of someone else’s childhood. I think especially now the story is really special because, for me, I haven’t really been able to see my friends because of COVID, of course, and this movie is all about friendship. So, when people see it in theatres, I hope they’ll be able to remember hanging out with friends during summer vacations and just having a blast”. 

Luca was also the first movie to be made at home during the pandemic, the end credits showing the message ‘Produced in our slippers around the bay area’. This didn’t limit the movie in any way, however, as it became the most watched piece of content in its opening weekend when it premiered on Disney+. Grazer was also able to give an absolutely stellar performance as Alberto, selling all of his emotional moments through his delivery despite admittedly performing his vocal tracks inside of his mother’s closet as it “provided the acoustics needed” when recording at home. There is even a Sacha Baron Cohen cameo in some scenes as Uncle Ugo, which serves as a hilarious detail in the film. 

Another character that you’ll love to hate but be incredibly drawn to is the movie’s main antagonist, Ercole Visconti, voiced by Saverio Raimondo. He is the perfect blend of Ratatouille’s Skinner and every typical 80s and 90s movie jerk. Just imagine Chick Hicks from Cars but as a pompadoured blowhard teenage bully – truly iconic. 

Overall, the characters and casting just enhances the delightfulness of this feature film when paired with its smooth-running simplicity by an extensive amount. 

The plot of the movie may not have been very ambitious, yet the same cannot be said for the beautifully advanced animation. Everything from the vivid colours to the meticulous landscapes boasts the production of a truly magical atmosphere. Dan Romer did a breathtaking job when creating the soundtrack which gives out the same effect as the animation.

Both of these arts combined produce the flawless image of the breezy Italian Summer that surrounds Luca, and it’s not hard to see the amount of effort put in to create this image. Viewers should also note that the film pays homage to Italian pop culture as the street names in the film honour famous Italian authors and filmmakers.

“We have a lot of Italian homages from Italian cinema, from old wonderful movies, Marcello Mastroianni has a little cameo. We have Fellini’s, a famous director, and we have a Fellini movie with the poster of La Strada. So in the signage, it’s fun to see and look for and find what they all mean. We really had fun putting in interesting Italian words that are puns, or Italian words that are very typical or directors we love” Enrico says. 

It may not be a philosophical masterpiece, or a powerful work of art that will affect you after each viewing, and it may not jive with the Pixar’s best works, but Luca is a heartwarming and sentimental movie that will leave you with a smile on your face and possibly even a lump in your throat. It’s childlike innocence has left me with nothing but love for the film, even though it isn’t anything awe inspiring. After a long period of time staying inside and feeling alone, Luca may just give you and your family a little light in your heart as it displays the simple yet beautiful love of childhood friendships.

 

Get in touch with us today and speak with us on how we can take your immersive audio experience to the next level.

We would love for you to visit! Contact us to book your private demonstration or for any further questions.

Book a private demonstration at Zebra Home Cinema?

We would love for you to visit! Contact us to book your private demonstration or for any further questions.