August 16, 2021
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for rude humor, language, some thematic elements and brief violence.
Voices of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Marco Barricelli, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Sacha Baron Cohen.
With Luca, Pixar delivers a wonderfully realized rumination about growing up, exploring the joys of the world and finding friends who also might be just a little bit different.
The film follows the tradition of earlier Disney tales such as Splash and The Little Mermaid, but with a distinctly Italian flair. Luca (Jacob Tremblay) is a young sea monster who yearns to learn about the wider world, but is limited to a life shepherding goatfish under the sea. One day, while looking through a number of human objects that fell from a boat, he encounters Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), an orphaned sea monster who teaches Luca that when they go onto land and dry out, their bodies become human.
They have fun with their misadventures on the lonely island where Alberto lives, dreaming of one day obtaining a Vespa so they can travel the world. But when Luca’s parents take notice of his time on land, they threaten to send him to live with his uncle in the ocean deep. So, Alberto convinces Luca to run away to the sleepy Italian fishing village nearby to hide out. There, they meet Giulia (Emma Berman), who recruits them to form a team for an upcoming race, hoping to defeat the bully Ercole.
But they also learn there is a bounty for killing sea monsters, which they are revealed to be whenever they get wet. In addition, Luca’s parents come ashore themselves to search him out, leading to a funny bit in which they assume every boy they encounter could be Luca because they don’t know what he looks like as a human.
Director Enrico Casarosa based much of the film on his boyhood in Genoa, Italy, using the concept of the sea monster as a metaphor for not quite fitting in.
The film is beautifully animated in typical Pixar fashion, and so evocative of its oceanside environment that viewers can virtually feel the sun on their face and the water at their feet.
The Blu-ray includes a compilations of storyboards for about 30 minutes of deleted sequences, included a couple of alternate openings. There are also three making-of featurettes running about 35 minutes total.