Pixar's Luca Film Analysis

In this analysis I will talk about the animation quality, the atmosphere, the characters and the message portrayed within the film.

The other day I watched Pixar's newest film, Luca, on Disney+ which I was pretty amazed at because most Disney owned new releases on Disney+ are released for premiere access and behind a £20 paywall, however, the last 3 Pixar films have been released free of price which seems to waste the quality of the amazing artists who worked on this film and created this amazing animation.

It had an emotional impact on me as I did something I rarely do when watching a film, on the rewatch, and actually shed a tear. Also, spoiler warning of the Luca film as I will be talking about the whole film throughout this analysis/review.

beautiful animations in Luca

Animation in Pixar's movie Luca

I had high expectations for the animation of this film due to it being a Pixar film, usually, in the past, Pixar puts a lot of detail into their films and they are always improving. Pixar's previous film "soul" included more joints in its animation of one character's hand than the whole of woody in "toy story".

However that's not the point of this, I was not disappointed in the animation for this film. The main attention to detail for the animation of this would be the transformations from sea monster to human.

This is important due to it being the main point of the film, I thought the transformation was impressive it wasn't made to look painful or uncomfortable and they used the theme of them being fish creatures with the transformation through making the skin out of scales and them slowly getting taken over by the scales.

The animators also kept the pacing of the transformation quite consistent, by that I mean sometimes in cinema the first transformation will be long and drawn out to show the animation however every other time its shown in a lot quicker way which sometimes brings me out of the film if too noticeable however it wasn't obvious or irritating to the eye.

Another element that made this films animation amazing was the characters movement and how much emotion was shown through the characters body language and expression, the characters showed a lot of little movement like hand twitches which aren't exactly necessary to the story however it makes the characters seem more human and draws the audience more into the film and make it seem more real.

Another attention to detail with the animation is the characters reacting to their surroundings like being pushed by the ocean.

atmosphere in Luca

The atmosphere in Pixar's film Luca

Luca has a very distinct atmosphere due to it being set in Italy which is created in multiple ways, the most obvious is the setting however this is accompanied by the dialogue and music to push the story and fit with the visuals. The choice of an Italian setting fits Pixar's cultural theming and has a similar atmosphere to films like "coco" and surprisingly "cars", however, I may be making the connection through the two Italian cars in that film.

Personally, when I think of Italy I imagine the obvious things like pizza, pasta, and landmarks however I can also see them big canoe-like boats which makes sense for Italy to be the setting of a film about water monsters.

The selection of music composed by Dan Romer, for this film is perfect for capturing the atmosphere using delicate stereotypical Italian-sounding music with instruments like harp and accordion.

However, due to the soundtrack including this style of music it becomes less memorable compared to a pop genre, this gives the film more of an art theme though as they don't rely on pop artists to carry their film unlike lower quality animation companies like illumination who created films like "despicable me" and "secret life of pets" which were lazier created films.

Something else which carried the Italian theme throughout the film is the mix between the English and Italian language which shows insight on the native language which could be education to the audience as characters would usually repeat the word in English if it was important or not obvious of the meaning.

However, one Italian phrase which was repeated but never received a translation was "Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta" which I actually struggled to find as if you watch the film with subtitles it just says "GREETING IN ITALIAN" however I have found that the phrase means "Nice to meet you, I'm Girolamo Trombetta!" which is probably just something Alberto heard and chose to repeat like earlier in the film when they repeated the phrase "What's wrong with you, stupido?" not understanding the meaning.

main characters in the movie Luca

Characters and their portrayal in Luca

In "Luca" there appear to be three or four main characters of the film, there is obviously the protagonist of Luca and the main side character of Alberto, however, there is also the other side character of Giulia and the antagonist who is Ercole as well as the wide range of background characters like parents who influence the main four characters.

Luca is portrayed as this timid boy who usually does what his parents expect but when he starts to find human objects in the ocean like an alarm clock and a playing card he gets an interest in what is above the ocean, we see Luca dreaming in multiple scenes doing things he wouldn't be able to if it wasn't a dream like being unable to break through the water or having the ability to touch the moon however each time he is stopped by his sea monster abilities which could show he feels that him being a sea monster holds him back from reaching his goals.

However the character of Alberto is introduced to be the person who Luca wants to be, is allowed on the surface, and not being afraid of anything, Alberto could be seen as Luca's inner voice and maybe a fantasy of who he sees himself being.

Alberto pushes Luca outside of his comfort zone and helps him be braver and achieve his goals of "exploring the world" on their vesper. Giulia plays a similar role to Alberto in Luca's life showing the joys in learning and how it's important to have responsibilities and have fun.

Finally, the last main character of the four is Ercole who represents a bully and possibly the "Bruno" inside Luca and Alberto's heads making them feel like they aren't good enough and can't achieve their goals because they are hideous sea monsters.

However, when things turn against Ercole at the end it could represent Luca and Alberto being comfortable in their own skin and not worrying about the fact they are sea monsters. All the surrounding background characters were used for conflict, for example, Luca's parents were sea monsters who hated humans however Giulia's dad was a human who hated sea monsters and Luca was a mix of the two.

main message portrayed in Luca

The message portrayed in the film Luca

Now I'm at the final paragraph and If anyone is still reading right now thank you, however, I'm sorry because this will probably be the longest yet as I am talking about the films messages and what you are left with at the end to think about for the rest of your day, week or however long you remember the film for.

After watching this film two times to write this I have come to the conclusion that the film has five subjects for the audience to remember and adapt into their lives. Some are more subtle than others however the five issues portrayed in "Luca" are children not attending school, homophobia, racism, feminism, and self-harm.

Firstly probably the most obvious in the film however possibly one of the most important and most unseen messages for young children who are attached to their parents or just don't enjoy school is Luca showing so much interest in wanting to go to school with Giulia.

This could influence younger children watching the film to see the joy in going to school because they might look up to Luca or just because young children learn from their surroundings.

Another really important message in these times is sexuality and being open to who you really are, this is so important because the LGBTQ+ community is always growing and it's becoming more common and normal for people to come out as homosexual or bisexual which is why it's important to reduce the amount of homophobia in our society at a young age.

The message of sexuality has seemed to be the most popular among viewers as I've seen on social media like on TikTok, however, people seem to be saying Luca and Alberto are a gay couple which portrays an element of toxic masculinity that two boys/men can show friendly affection towards each other without it being a sexual relationship, however, if we assume Luca is in fact gay you could say that the bright colours of the sea monster represents his sexuality and relates to the bright colours of the LGBTQ+ flag.

Continuing from this point above the ocean could represent the idea of coming out as gay and that's why Luca's parents are so afraid of him going to the surface that they don't want him to become gay however once they get an insight of his "gay personality" through going to the surface themselves they become more open to Luva's sexuality.

This point could also be said about the two old ladies who are also revealed to be sea monsters at the end who were hiding that they were homosexual but once Luca revealed his sexuality they felt they could reveal their sexuality. 

Similar to homophobia, racism is a big issue in our society especially with all the police brutality towards race happening around the world, so similarly to showing normality of sexuality to young children making it normal to be a person of colour is important to reduce discrimination and racism in young children.

The way I feel race was represented in Luca is similar to sexuality though the sea monsters are seen as other races due to every human character in the film being pretty much white. Something that helped me come to this conclusion is the grandmother's line of dialogue near the end which said "Some people, they'll never accept him. But some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones".

Even if this line of dialogue isn't referring to racism it definitely has a real-world meaning, however, I feel it is referring to his skin colour and the fact he stands out so people will discriminate against him but he has to ignore them and get on with life with the people who actually accept him. 

Although I feel feminism is probably the most subtle or neglect message in this film I still feel it was used so I'm going to talk about it. In "Luca" feminism was shown mainly through Giulia as she was shown as independent through choosing to compete in the race alone for multiple years however she was constantly undermined by the other characters due to her being unable to complete the race in the past and in fact throwing up so this could show her as independent but also weak however she is determined to show she is strong by never giving up.

Another female character that could be representing feminism is the grandmother as she traveled to the village alone on weekends without her family knowing which shows her independence of not needing a male to feel safe in the human village.

Finally the film really subtly represents the issue of self-harm through the character of Alberto and his home. In the scene after Alberto and Luca fall out Luca goes to Albertos home and sees markings on his wall he quickly confronts Alberto about them however he isn't very revealing about what they actually mean, this leads me to believe that this could be referring to self-harm for multiple reasons.

The first reason is that until this point the marks were being covered by a poster which is similar to someone who struggles with self-harm trying to cover the scars with a long sleeve. Another reason I feel this refers to self-harm is Luca's urgency to find out what they actually are again in a real situation this could be similar to a friend asking why another person is self-harming and aiming to comfort them in a difficult situation.

Finally, I believe this refers to self-harm due to how they are addressed being very subtle and not saying what the marks actually are or signify Alberto just says he started doing it when his dad left showing a cause of the self-harm.

That is everything I have to say about Pixar's newest film "Luca" I personally really enjoyed the film and I think this film could really inspire and influence a young audience member watching this film to be accepting of others and not be like Ercole as he ends up alone in a water fountain.

If you have read up to this point without watching "Luca" firstly thank you but also please go watch the film it is very enjoyable at the least and Pixar has created another amazing film yet again.

luca film analysis
Pixar's Luca film analysis

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