If there’s one recurring theme in Pixar’s productions, it’s human relationships. The company, which made its debut on the mainstream scene with the moving finality of ‘Toy Story’, has always worked with extreme caution to explore the complexity of the individual, whether through metaphors with objects. inanimate and artificial (seen the aforementioned film or ‘WALL-E’), or with a celebration of life itself through music (‘Viva – A Vida é uma Festa’, ‘Soul’) and mythology (‘ Valente ‘). Now we return to the growing and exciting cinematic pantheon with the long-awaited release “Luca”, which brings the best of both worlds in a work that can only be considered one of the most engaging of the year.
The story is fairly straightforward and is reminiscent of the fantasy Pixar explored in previous works: here the spotlight is on the main character (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), a thirteen-year-old young sea monster who has spent his entire life standing by himself. hide in the background. from the sea with the family, preventing humans from finding their species. However, Luca’s growing curiosity as a teenager makes him yearn for the unknown, and when he meets the rebellious and cunning Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), another sea monster who constantly visits the surface and collects strange items, observing from afar different people who inhabit the region. Picturesque and fictional Portorosso. It doesn’t take long for the couple to develop a deep friendship that allows them to cross the line between comfort and fear and immerse themselves in unexpected adventures that involve the promise of a different future.
The feature film brings countless reflections masked by a stunning gaze and a stylistic nostalgia: beyond the obviousness of friendship, which moves away from the usual representations and poses tribulations of loyalty – such as the presence of Emma Berman as Giulia Marcovaldo. Giulia is an Italian girl who defends the less fortunate and dreams of winning a bike race that takes place in her city. In addition, she is as much an extension of Alberto, because she feels alone and looks for friends and confidants, as of Luca, insofar as she seeks the freedom and independence of adolescents. It is in this context that the construction between the three characters merges into a solid bond and allows us to connect in the most diverse layers to the plot.
When we think of productions intended for children, we usually find formulas integrated into the main structure. Even though the script itself isn’t and doesn’t even want to be groundbreaking, all of the scenes are well put together and say what they need for an hour and a half. The consistency and technique are enviable and the result of an appreciable skill that ranges from the dreamlike photography of David Juan Bianchi and Kim White to the melancholy simplicity of Dan Romer’s soundtrack. Any redundancies are used in favor of the film itself and increase the level of dialogism with viewers.
Each character has their moment to shine, although the focus is on Luca, Alberto and Giulia. Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan create magic like Daniela and Lorenzo Paguro, Luca’s parents, who know the dangers of leaving the ocean floor and meeting other beings who may not understand them; Saverio Raimondo plays the hateful tyrant of Portorosso, Ercole Visconti, who sees his kingdom of injustice and chaos threatened by the appearance of the duo of sea monsters; Marco Barricelli plays Massimo, the father of Giulia, in a protective and loving interpretation of a man who realizes that his values can indeed change in the face of spectacular events. And it’s worth noting that, despite Pixar’s dramatic character, the animation brings references to the classicism of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and even feeds inspiration from Federico Fellini’s long career.
The most surprising aspect, without a shadow of a doubt, appears in the name of Enrico Casarosa. The director, who had previously worked behind the scenes of the company helping to create “Cars” and “Ratatouille,” for example, made some highly regarded directorial debuts that could inspire future titles in the film scene. By bringing together different inspirations and paying homage to the cultural baggage it carries, at the same time it makes room for a unique pictorial identity that moves away from presumptuous and empty perceptions. In other words, the film doesn’t say more than it intends – and it’s that simplicity that makes it beautiful.
‘Luca’ comes at a time that is still quite troubled in our lives and, for this reason, is set up as an alluring escape. By presenting a totally different world, Pixar manages to create another untouchable artistic haven, carried by messages of friendship, empathy and the perseverance of our dreams.
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