Apart from the usual blockbusters Summer would also see a big Pixar release but with the pandemic ‘Soul’ was pushed to a Christmas Disney+ streaming release and Luca went the same way also. Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming of age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer with his friend Alberto but which is threatened by a fiercely protected secret – they’re both sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface! – see our review HERE.
With all the studio’s still figuring out the most effective way to release their films with a mixture of day and date release for both theatrical and streaming release Luca went the way of streaming. So whilst UK summer has been its usual patchy self it’s Luca that has a real summer atmosphere feel to it set as it is in the Italian seaside town of Portorosso ,as idyllic a locale to spend some R&R in as you could hope to see in a film enhanced all the more by Pixar’s phenomenally high standard of animation. The fictional village was based on Cinque Terra where director Enrico Casarosa spent much of his childhood and the disc release of Luca has a featurette where the various heads of department visit and soaked up the atmosphere of what is the most beautiful of resorts and its most endearing aspects are recreated in the film.
With the Luca blu-ray being Casarosa’s debut feature he took inspiration from his own childhood and it is very much a film about friendship between a shy slightly withdrawn ‘sea monster’ being drawn out of his shell by his friendship with Alberto a far more outgoing boy and both encounter Giulia a local girl they befriend but at the risk of revealing who they really are. Like the best of Pixar’s output there’s more going on below the surface with many anticipating that the film’s trailer hinted at a coming out story. It’s not but it could be so easily read into the story of a character coming to terms with what he is but equally it’s a story that can be enjoyed about those easy friendships you make a child which are impossible to repeat as you get older.
Now on digital, 4K Ultra, blu-ray and DVD the film looks as good as might be expected and will appeal to kids as the central trio’s friendship develops whilst at the same time two of them try to protect their true monster selves from being revealed should they ever come into contact with water. One of three featurettes on the disc goes behind the scenes and speaks to the team about the technical innovation that went into the frequent transformation scenes of Luca & Alberto. There’s a third feature that looks at what our best friends can inspire us to do and looks at who the key members of the creative team identify. Rounding off the disc is a series of seven deleted scenes that are roughly animated and incomplete but are all introduced by Casarosa about the thought process behind them and why ultimately those scenes were dropped or replaced which includes two alternate opening sequences.
So whilst the film itself will appeal to kids (though grown ups will like it too) the Luca blu-ray bonus features are probably more suited to those with an interest in the animation process with insights into subtle moments in the film that includes explanations about even the angle of some shots and in that regards a director’s commentary would have been a useful addition. Whilst Luca is not one of Pixar’s landmark features a la Toy Story it’s still an enjoyable film with a truly beautiful coastal village that will have adults wanting to holiday there.
Here’s the Luca trailer…….
Luca BLU-RAY, DIGITAL, 4K ULTRA & DVD – RELEASED ON 23RD AUGUST 2021