December 4, 2021 – This Disney Pixar animated movie has a very unusual coming of age story about a merman-like boy, Luca Paguro, who looks human when he is dry and looks fish-like when he is wet. Underwater, he looks kind of like the “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954).
Luca and his fellow mermen and mermaids, live near an Italian fishing village, where occasional sightings have led to stories of fearsome sea monsters. One young merman, Alberto Scorfano, likes to steal things from fishing boats that come too close to his island. One such raid yields a number of objects that Luca finds on the bottom.
Luca becomes interested in these human artifacts. This concerns his parents, Lorenzo and Daniella, who want him to stay away from humans. Luca's curiosity gets the best of him, however, and he soon finds himself out of the water with Alberto on his island. When Lorenzo and Daniella decide they are going to banish Luca to the deep with his uncle Ugo, Luca escapes to Lorenzo's island hideout.
Luca and Lorenzo become best friends. When Luca tells Lorenzo that his parents will come looking for him on the island, they decide to escape to a nearby town. When they see a fancy Vespa motor scooter, something they have both wanted, they make plans to buy one, somehow. Fear that the villagers might discover that they are “sea monsters” is offset by the excitement of discovering a new way of life that neither of them really knew about before.
Luca and Lorenzo make friends with a human girl, Giulia Marcovaldo. The three of them form a team to win an annual swimming, pasta-eating and bicycle race in the village, the Portorosso Cup, which has enough prize money for them to buy a cheap, used Vespa. Luca and Lorenzo's big plan is to travel the world on the scooter.
Trouble brews when Luca becomes interested in Giulia, and in going to school, and begins to drift away from Lorenzo's interests. The three are also bullied by Ercole Visconti, an older boy who has won the Portorosso Cup five times. Giulia wants very badly to beat Ercole.
Lorenzo and Daniella come to town in search of Luca around the same time as the Portorosso Cup is to be held. They can't tell which of the town's many children is Luca, so they begin to douse local children with water by various means, hoping the water will reveal which one is Luca. At the same time Luca and Lorenzo have a big fight over Luca's plans for his future.
All of these plot threads, and more, come to a climax at the Portorosso Cup races. As usual in Pixar films, the characters are well-developed and the story is compelling. The artwork is detailed, bright and colorful. Everything is first-rate. This is a top quality animated film. It rates a B+.
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