June 17, 2021

CINEMA | Call Me by Your Mermaid – Pixar Splashes 'Luca'

"Do you think I want you to leave?"
Jacob Tremblay Jack Dylan GrazerEnrico Casarosa | Pixar Luca | Disney+
Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation and director Enrico Casarosa, in his feature directorial debut, recreate the coming-of-age, Mediterranean coastal vibes of Call Me by Your Name with their family-friendly animated mermaid version by way of Studio Ghibli's storytelling style. Luca's seaside getaway fable feels like light fare yet never slight.

We follow two young shapeshifting boy sea creatures, the eponymous sweet but sheltered Luca and his free-spirited best friend Alberto voiced by Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer, on their idyllic summer hanging out and dreaming of travelling across Italy on a Vespa scooter. Comedians Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan as Luca's overprotective parents constantly worry about his safety.

It's a charming, literal fish-out-of-water fantasy tale about friendship set against a sundrenched mid-century Italian Riviera backdrop. Written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones, Luca barely hits the hundred-minute mark as one of the shortest Pixar films and is better for its low-stakes sense of seaside magic.

Luca's feeling of wonderment makes its concepts of youthful discovery so joyful despite its mildly fantasical intentions. How the characters learn and discover Italian human life is never not amusing. Its childlike sensibilities make it particularly appealing.

There's not much to Luca's modest charm and its simplicity is what ultimately makes it so endearing. Pixar's latest is a sweet fairytale about friendship and family. It's a cozy vacation of a film about sea monsters and a chilhood summer spent in an Italian fishing village.

Luca is available to stream on Disney+.

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