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‘Luca’ finally lets Pixar’s house style shine

The following contains spoilers for the first act of “Luke.”

During his first decade of filmmaking, there was a rumor that Pixar chose his projects around things they wanted to try to animate. The Life of a Bug plants presented, Monsters Inc. I had a lot of hair, Find Nemo it was put under water. Even subsequent productions dealt with refining and texture techniques, such as hair and clothing Bravo. After 16 years, Pixar has nothing more to show for it, which means the studio can finally settle into a home style.

It’s coming out this week Disney +, Luca it’s the story of a young sea monster who becomes curious about the surface world. If you think that sounds like it The Little Mermaid, well, yes, it’s very Pixar that adopts that fable. Luke stumbles upon some human artifacts and ends up venturing above the consequent surface, discovering that when he leaves his aquatic environment, he transforms into a human. That’s where the similarities with the Disney movie end, as Luca meets another sea dweller with a love for the air-breathing world, and the two travel to a nearby town in search of a Vespa scooter. It’s a rather glaring but also fascinating product placement, given how important the brand is in our ideas of Italian culture, especially mid-20th century films like Roman Holiday. If this film is romantic, it’s about what represents the iconic brand: freedom.

The film is also reminiscent of Hideo Miyazaki Ponyo, which is fine, because that’s what Luca it feels like. It is an American-made Ghibli film, one where the object is acceptance, platonic love and a deep appreciation for simple pleasures such as a plate of pasta. Which one Luca it has a lot (it’s part of the central plot) and it’s absolutely tasty. Luca it’s a showcase for every skill Pixar has mastered during its four decades of existence. There is realistic food, hair, tissues and plenty of water, both in the ocean and in the form of rain.

Disney / Pixar

The only thing that always maintains a cartoonish quality are the people. It’s rather an aesthetic choice at this point, rather than a sign of limited character models, the tastes of which populated the company’s early films such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc. The characters are all soft with rounded edges, painted in colors that are more dreamy and muted than they are bright. Pixar has been developing a prototype character model ever since Ratatouille, one that has been iterated over the last decade in movies like last year Forward and Anima. But these were fantasy films with brilliant and extravagant parameters – too Anima he shares his time between New York and the afterlife. Humans get a lot more screen time in it Luca, even if it’s a fantasy film.

Luca is a showcase for every skill that Pixar has mastered during its four decades of existence.

Although the protagonists are sea monsters, the underwater scenes are actually quite mundane: Luca’s family lives in a cave, and the boy spends his days looking after a school of fish in sheep. It’s grounded in a way that most Pixar movies aren’t; his closest relative in the Pixar stable is Ratatouille, and not just because they are both in a caricatured European country.

Luca and Alberto

Disney / Pixar

Pixar has always had a gift for history and that in it Luca it’s pretty moving, but now that the studio has refined its craft the graphics can be on par with the narration, visualizing those emotions with depth of color and texture that the movies like Toy Story I could only dream. Pixar’s home style is no longer limited by technology, allowing movies to finally watch how they feel.

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