This is a film that gives an emotional meaning to the old phrase “a fish out of water,” with an ending that will bring a Hammerle tear to your eye.
While Luca will likely not rank as your favorite Pixar film, it sits near the top. It tells the story of Luca, a tiny sea monster that becomes human when leaving the water.
Let me start with the film’s splendid cinematography. Though an animated film, it brings to life the Amalfi Coast on the Italian Riviera. Monica and I spent several days there with friends years ago and the views are astonishing.
Jacob Tremblay, who is only 14, is the voice of Luca. As a curious fish who wants to explore an unknown world, young Mr. Tremblay adds to his magnificent performances in the emotionally powerful Room (2015) and Wonder (2017).
Here, Luca leaves a loving mother and father, voiced by Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan, who just wanted him to stay deep in the water and avoid fishermen. Nonetheless, he lands on shore where he is befriended by Alberto, voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer. Alberto is a teenage human fish with a simple dream.
Alberto and Luca form a team with Giulia (Emma Berman) to try and win a bike race known as the Portorosso Cup. In the process they must defeat 5-time champion Ercole Visconti (Saverio Raimondo), a dangerous, egotistical rogue who will destroy his opponents if necessary.
The special effects are Pixar perfect in or out of the water. Our new humans need to avoid water to avoid returning as fish and there are multiple scenes that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Will our team find a way to win so that Giulia can pursue her education and Alberto can claim the top prize of a bike that will let him tour the world? Does Luca return to life underwater or say goodbye to parents and pursue life as a human?
As I said earlier, the end will leave most of you, like me, wiping away a few tears. You will not regret embracing this movie.