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Pixar has made 24 feature films, with Luca being the most recent. Whereas the last few releases have dealt with larger, more existential elements that Pixar has done with great success, Luca gets back to the roots with a small contained story set in one location with absolutely no afterlife insight.

Set in the Italian countryside somewhere in the ’50s and ’60s, a young sea monster goes about his business day after day as he herds fish for his parents. Constantly restricted for his safety the boredom and his curiosity about the surface are too much to ignore and soon young Luca embarks on an adventure of discovery.

He soon meets Alberto, a fellow sea monster who is already living on the surface — going to the surface means transforming to human form and learning to blend in. The story that unfolds about true friendship without romance is refreshing and necessary. The exploration of a loving friendship that is more akin to brotherhood hasn’t been told in such a unique way.

The beautiful Italian countryside is the perfect setting for a summer that’s not necessarily “coming-of-age”, but more a journey of finding your confidence and being yourself. With a pitch-perfect voice cast of greats like Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Jacob Tremblay, and Jack Dylan Grazer. A beautiful score from Dan Romer is a great accompaniment to the landscape. The warm setting and colors convey that summer feeling that makes you want to jump right into the water!

First-time feature director but long-time Pixar member, Enrico Casarosa tells a personal story about a summer you will never forget. Blending the fantastical flourishes that are so well ingrained with Pixar films with heart and plenty of fun.

4 out of 5

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