Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original film Luca is a coming-of-age story about two boys who go on an exciting summer adventure. It’s a story about stepping out of your comfort zone and finding out who you really are. The film is sweet, funny and full of heart. And it will no doubt will become an instant Disney classic.
Luca and his newfound best friend, Alberto, are sea monsters from below the water’s surface who must keep their identity a secret as they set out to explore a nearby seaside town. The teen sea monsters have the ability to transform from sea monsters to humans just by stepping in and out of the water. As Luca begins to discover what he is capable of, he must confront his insecurities and fears. His friendship with the confident and eager Alberto is exactly what Luca needs to help him step out of his comfort zone. “This movie is about the friendships that change us,” says director Enrico Casarosa. “It’s a love letter to the summers of our youth—
those formative years when you’re finding yourself.”
Luca Paguro is a well-behaved and kind sea monster who is very curious about the mysterious world above the sea. Although he’s been warned his whole life that the human world is a dangerous place, he has a desire to know more about the world above. It sort of gives you some Little Mermaid vibes. Which is super relatable. How many teens are told to stay away from danger and yet for one reason or another they become even more drawn to it. So it doesn’t help that Luca meets Alberto, who knows a lot more than he does about the human world and is eager and excited to show him everything he knows. Alberto helps Luca step out of his comfort zone and walk him through how to face his fears.
As Alberto and Luca venture out together to the world above, they meet Giulia, a charming and passionate adventurer. She spends the summers in the seaside town of Portorosso visiting her father and is often the target of the town bully. But when Luca and Alberto arrive in town, she teams up with them to win a local race she desperately wants to win.
Relatable And Authentic Storytelling
This story stems from the childhood of Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa (La Luna). Casarosa was born in Genoa, which is this poor town right on the Italian Riviera. He was a shy kid, who was a little bit sheltered by his family. “When I met my best friend at 11, kind of my world opened up. He was a bit of a troublemaker; he didn’t have a whole lot of supervision. And so, in those special kinds of summers when you’re growing up and kind of finding yourself, I was kind of following him and getting dragged into troubles. And it really made me really think about how much we find ourselves with our friendships, or how much friendships help. us find a bit of who we wanna be. ” Casarosa explains.
The story, set in the late 1950s-early 1960s and the Italian seaside setting was created in a stunning painterly style
Casarosa championed and stems from his childhood. “I had the luck to grow up in Genoa—a port city on the Italian Riviera,” he says. “It’s a very specific coast because it’s really steep—the mountains rise up from the ocean. The towns are stuck in time—
they’re so picturesque. I always imagined them like little monsters coming out of the water.”
Luca was born largely of his own childhood memories. He wanted to introduce the production team to the aspects he
most treasures, while allowing them to discover special characteristics themselves, so artists trekked to the Italian coastline as part of two research trips. “It was so important to go there to be able to portray the essence of the place,” says Casarosa.
An Instant Disney Classic
When you watch the film you can’t help but get excited and cheer for Luca and Alberto’s victories. Their friendship is tender and sweet. And it goes through the challenges that lots of teen friendships go through. What was most rewarding about their relationship is seeing how much the two boys care about one another. Their relationship with Giulia and her father makes for some wonderful and heartwarming moments. The film is just the right amount of heart and fun. Something kids and grown-ups will want to rewatch often. It has all the qualities we love about Disney and Pixar films and a nice balance of more heartwarming moments than heartbreaking ones.
Luca premieres in theaters and on Disney Plus on June 18th.
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