This summer, Disney and Pixar took us to the Italian Riviera with Luca. The studio is launching a new animated feature film, halfway between The Little Mermaid and Porco Rosso, which explores themes of friendship and difference. Is this love letter to Italy a ray of sunshine announced? Critical

Ride directly on Disney+ , direction Italy. If you can’t travel this year, the platform intends to show you the country with its new feature film that reeks of sea air and sorbet. In a very pretty little town on the Italian Riviera, a young boy experiences an unforgettable summer punctuated by delicious gelato and delicious pasta. He shares his adventures with his new best friend, but that happiness is threatened by a well-kept secret: the two are actually sea monsters from another world, located just below the surface of the water.

Just a few months after Soul, Pixar is back on our screens with a cute and lovely fairy tale. Director Enrico Casarosa, to whom we owe the wonderful short film La Luna, here delivers a love letter to Italy and its enchanting landscapes. Visually rich, feature films are carefully designed and shown. Great textures, colors and play of light, Luca is based on 3D technology from Pixar but enjoys a fun retro look that is a recipe.

Far from wanting to carry a sense of realism, this film embraces its cartoonish status and depicts fictional Italian architecture that makes us want to grab the first ticket for a big boot. Italian by birth, Enrico Casarosa loves his country and brilliantly brings it to life. You can almost feel the breeze and the warm breath of the sun on your skin.

Under water, the results are just as convincing. To enhance the beauty of the surface, the filmmakers relied on a limited visual universe reminiscent of Nemo and its vast expanse of blue. But where Luca really stands out is on the character side. Pixar accomplished the feat of offering attractive and charming little sea creatures. The same goes for their human alter egos. We really admire Guilia’s father, with his cheerful face.

With his dazzling and colorful universe, Luca also reminds us of certain Myazaki feature films. Moreover, director Luca did not hide it and was willing to admit that he had found inspiration from Porco Rosso. It must be said that there is much in common, both in the setting and in the themes they raise. Pixar films are about differences, family and especially friendship. The screenwriter paints a portrait of the city dreaded by the sea creatures spotted beneath the waves during an evening outing at sea and who will discover that these other creatures may not be as dangerous as they seem.

With the adventures of these three toddlers, Pixar tells the story of honest friendships between characters from different worlds, with the other accepting the backdrop. While the film doesn’t manage to surpass its status as cherub entertainment, as Pixar productions often do, it remains a fairly colorful fairy tale. Luca also fully plays the nostalgia card and reminds us of holiday friendships, which we thought would last forever. The journey is so exciting that when it ends, you feel the same frustration as when the start of the school year approaches. Luca is a sweet treat that lets you get away from it all and we’re not going to complain about that.

But if this visual and scriptwriting proposal meets the challenge, shadows cloud the picture. Like Soul before him, Luca deserves a theatrical release to further immerse us in his postcard decor. But the pandemic will prompt Disney to review its priorities on the big screen and back its big franchise. It remains only to hope that with a return to normalcy, animation studios will soon be back to storm our cinemas.

By D14N