The work of Pixar Animation Studios is one of this writer’s great passions. Very few would argue with the run of Golden age classics. These run roughly between the releases of Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 3 (2010 ( depending on how individuals feel about the original Cars.) Since then Viewers will acknowledge they have a couple of efforts since that are up there with their greatest productions Inside Out, Coco And Soul stand out. Unfortunately, the studio has also become very trendy to hate on. “They are not as good as they used to be. Mostly churning out sequels now etc.” Here’s the thing. Modern Pixar is nowhere near as bad as some people will have watchers believe. They were many’s first introductions to computer animation with such a strong run of undisputed 10/10 material. This will always be a point of comparison for whatever they put out next.
Pixar releases are some viewers main exposure to CG animation seeing the depth and wild variation in the entire industry that they inspired. As a huge fan new Pixar features are like watching that sports star those that follow them know is capable of greatness. Said star might not be quite as the used to be. That said they can still be some of the most reliable and solid performers in their field. Cars 2 and marginally The Good Dinosaur are the only Pixar efforts this writer would call outright bad. There is no better evidence of the Pixar pedestal than the reaction to their latest effort Luca.
After the release of Soul On Disney plus thanks to the pandemic Disney also sent their next Next Pixar feature to streaming. Soul was intended as a full-fledged theatrical release that Disney got tired of waiting on. They dropped int on SVOD dropped as a Christmas gift for fans. In comparison when looking at Luca it’s Honestly not hard to see why Disney thought this project was more appropriate for streaming. A very small scale and less ambitious effort focusing on hybrid human/mermaid children as they spend a summer on the Italian Riviera. Short running time. (85 minutes excluding credits.) Lack of massive emotional stakes or any potentially world-altering themes or statements. is perfectly fine. The majority of family animation doesn’t set out to hit the heights of Pixar at their very lofty best. Luca is a small but perfectly formed story in which the two central characters main desire is to win a Vespa race.
There’s a benchmark of modern quality in Pixar’s stunning animation. It’s showcased here with just how effectively the medium captures the atmosphere of the small Italian town in which the narrative takes place. . Luca does not have a great deal on its mind beyond the initial premise. It can execute this effectively but never outstays its welcome. If anything it’s these productions from Pixar that viewers should support. Luca showcases their capability in telling smaller stories that still have a level of role quality and emotional impact one has come to expect from the studio over the last 25 years.
Unfortunately, because of the Pixar pedestal, certain viewers will look at Luca, Compare it to the golden age material and shrug their shoulders. It can almost be guaranteed that these types of watches haven’t seen the true drags of theatrical animation. They didn’t feel faintly embarrassed to take in an unnecessary theatrical screening For the 2020 English dubbed theatrical edition of Dogtanian and the Three Muskahounds. Granted in terms of 2021 animated in Oscar contention Mitchell’s VS The Machines wins over Luca every day of the week. The latest Pixar is still well worth a brief investment from viewers. It’s films like this that make this die-hard fan confident but the future for the studio is bright.
Luca won’t be topping anyone’s Pixar ranking list. That said it’s the kind of small scale, low stakes story that the studio should do more of. They have the raw talent and resources to make lesser projects into distinctly above average works. Unfortunately because of the Pixar pedestal that exists from certain viewers thanks to the ubiquity of their classic work these projects will never gain as much traction as their sweeping epics. This is okay though. Even a lesser tier Pixar effort beats 80% of mainstream American animation.
Luca rating 8/10.