Pixar’s Luca is all about inclusivity. But you can also enjoy it as a sunny Italian holiday.
Teenage sea monster Luca Paguro dreams of leaving his mundane seabed life and exploring the world. After meeting Alberto, another teen sea monster, Luca discovers that their race is able to transform into humans upon drying themselves. Determined to secure a Vespa to facilitate their dreams of world travel, the two spunky teens then head to the coastal village of Portorosso to kick start their journey.
Italy is many different things. Superb food, incredible art, picture-perfect ruins and towns and cities too.
Having visited Italy four times, I’m also deeply in love with the country because I feel the Italians celebrate life. This is, of course, not always obvious and you certainly aren’t going to be in a celebratory mood when you get pickpocketed in the Roman subway. (Almost happened to me twice)
But, well, it shows through the little things. The softspoken Roman cab driver who waived a third of my fee when I didn’t have enough small change, then mumbled Buon Natale. The teens who sang Funiculì, Funiculà as we rode uphill in Naples.
The beautiful shopkeeper in Paestum who offered me another scoop after I so clumsily dropped my gelato.
What I’m saying is, Italy is a beautiful country that gets even lovelier after you explore the people. And thus, she is the perfect backdrop for a movie that’s all about differences. And how such differences, including conflicts, are but part of life.
The splendid setting aside, I feel Luca doubly charms because said differences are ultimately embraced without sacrifice and compromises. In East Asian movies especially, and despite happy endings, there’s always some sort of unspoken relenting. The elderly “learning” the culture of the young. The husband clumsily adapting to the lifestyle of his wife. And so on.
Such compromises are kept to a minimum in Luca. In fact, I’d say Pixar trekked several miles to ensure there’s no such adaptation. For example, Alberto set aside his own dream, temporarily, for the sake of Luca’s. But he didn’t follow Luca’s chosen route, so to speak. Neither did Luca insist that his friend does so.
No one is shown giving up their identities too.
As a message on inclusivity, I feel there is no better approach. We can sacrifice for others. We can also bond over common passions such as good food. But there is no need to give up any part of ourselves.
Approach the task in the right mentality and I dare say it would be as the movie shows too. There will be hiccups, but in the end, it will be alike a memorable summer of exploration. We can all enjoy such a journey if we’re willing to.
Read my other snappy movie reviews.