Pixar have transported audiences to some fantastic locations for their films over the years, each with a varying degree of prominence in how big a part they play in the narrative. With Luca, Pixar bring us a film from the Italian Riviera that simply has to go down as one of the most fun little adventures you could wish to see this year.

Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay) is a 13-year-old sea monster who lives with his family in the waters just off the Italian coast. A chance encounter with Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer), a fellow sea monster who's already taken it upon himself to explore the human world, leads to Luca setting foot on land for the first time in the small harbour town of Portorosso. The major problem being that humans have a distain towards sea monsters and hunt them for sport, leading to time on land spent both trying to fit in and keeping their true identities a secret.

Luca is a truly exuberant film from Pixar that possesses plenty of charm and laughs as we follow Luca and Alberto grow a friendship before delving into themes of acceptance that come with the literal fish-out-of-water narrative the film owns. As a society, we've learnt to go into their films preparing to be hit with the inevitable emotional sledgehammer however, while Luca does feature some great little character moments that Pixar are so good at, it never reaches the emotional heights of previous films like Inside Out or Up.

Its stripped back narrative allows the film to not rely on that emotional gut-punch, Luca instead being a film that feels like it's been made for an audience just to sit down and have a great time with. There's a number of gags, visual ones being where Pixar excel at times, that make this one of their funnier efforts in recent years, Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones writing a really sweet screenplay that nails the friendship angle of the narrative. The animation is as stunning as you'd expect from a studio that have come so far since their first feature Toy Story, the Italian coastline brought to life with such colour it just pops from the screen.

There's a real energy brought to the film through the vocal performances, particularly from the youthful trio of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer and Emma Berman who come together to bring the local bully down a peg or two. The zest for life is felt through their performances and it really does go a long way in making Luca such a enjoyable treat to sit through.

While it may not be top-tier Pixar, Luca is a thoroughly entertaining tale of friendship and acceptance that delivers an abundance of fun both on land and at sea. One thing it definitely did do was make me want to go back and visit Italy as soon as possible. Bellissimo!!



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