It’s been a while since the 2021 Disney-Pixar film ‘Luca’ came out, and if you are an animation enthusiast who hasn’t seen it yet (like me until yesterday), you probably should. Even though it borrows its ideas from a lot of other Disney tales, like ‘Little Mermaid’, ‘Moana’ & ‘Finding Nemo’, in the end, ‘Luca’ is a story that manages to hold on its own.

From the beautiful bright colors of the ocean, to the simple idyllic Italian coastal village life, everything about this animated film directed by Enrico Casarosa has a simple charm that will have younger viewers wide-eyed and smiley. ‘Luca’ the protagonist, is a shape-shifting water being, so while in the sea, Luka has gills, fins and scales, once he is dry and out of water – he changes into a human form. One day, he meets a similar boy his age, the spirited Alberto who lives on the surface. The two kids soon become best-friends decide to travel around the world together.

Luca’s parents are horrified that their boy is curious about humans and decide to banish him to the deep-sea for a few weeks with an uncle. So our hero runs away from home and tries to find a new life on land with Alberto. And thus unfolds a fun-filled bright comedy, that never slackens in pace and will keep younger viewers wide-eyed and smiley. The animation is absolutely adorable, there are some super cute characters, like a grumpy cat that’s always suspicious of Luca’s human form.

Despite being on the fantasy side of things, the makers of ‘Luca’ take into consideration a lot of little details in the story, which makes it very enjoyable, like how Luca’s uncle from the deep sea has a transparent body, like some real deep-sea dwellers. There is obviously a mild ‘human vs nature’ conflict theme, with Luka’s kind living in fear of regular humans, knowing they can probably never find acceptance if the truth about them were to be known. But the makers never get too serious or get into the business of giving sermons in the guise of emotional dialogues.

Some viewers might find the climax rushed and conveniently wrapped up, without much conflict or drama. But that’s also the beauty of ‘Luka’ – it’s a breezy bright film that keeps things light. So while it might not be complex enough for a few, it’s nearly a perfect animated story for kids. Especially because ‘Luka’ is not just a ‘fish out of water’ running away from home, but a optimistic-practical boy filled with child-like curiosity about the world; someone who would rather go to school to learn more things about the universe, than just waste his days driving a scooter.

I loved this movie and it’s a 9/10 from me.

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Listen to Episode 50 for a lowdown on 22 Studio Ghibli films