Pixar is still coming off of one of the studio's most critically acclaimed hits in Soul. While that film was forced to release on Disney+ rather than in theaters, the animation studio is still planning for a traditional path to release with its next feature Luca. The first trailer for the film is here, and it promises some beautiful locations, as it's set on the Italian Riviera. Plus some fun characters, in the form of a pair of boys who are actually sea monsters. But don't worry, this is Pixar, so even the sea monsters are sort of adorable.
In the trailer we see three kids, Luca (Room's Jacob Trembley) Alberto (Shazam!'s Jack Dylan Grazer), and the entirely human Giulia, voiced by newcomer Emma Berman. The three become an inseparable trio exploring their incredibly charming little seaside town. The hiccup comes when we learn that the town apparently has a history of dealing with sea monsters in quite violent ways, and anytime Luca and Alberto get wet, it is revealed that they actually are sea monsters who are exploring the human world.
I am particularly intrigued by the animation style here. The character design looks like something out of an Aardman Animation stop-motion film. It also resembles, not coincidently, the Oscar winning Pixar short, La Luna. This is because Luca is directed by La Luna's director Enrico Casarosa. He was born in Italy, thus the decision to set the movie on the Riviera. And much like Soul, this feels like the perfect movie to come along at the perfect time. After a year of most people not traveling further than the grocery store, a movie that looks to be spending so much of its runtime outside feels like just what we all need.
While the specifics of the plot of Luca are missing from this first trailer, it's not hard to see where things are likely going. We have two civilizations that don't get along much. We know the movie will also give us something more of the sea monster world, as Maya Rudolph has been cast to play Luca's mother and Jim Gaffigan will play Luca's father. One expects the story will be about these two worlds colliding and not trusting each other, and these three kids helping to bring them together.
It may be a tad predictable, but that's not a bad thing. Most Pixar movies aren't exactly filled with massive plot twists. What matters is that execution is so good that it doesn't matter. Everything is done so well that the story still hits you on an emotional level even when you knew what was coming. This is what Pixar is great at.
As of right now, Luca is still set for a theater-only release on June 21. While Disney and Pixar are still planning to shift away from streaming releases of major titles, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has at least been open enough to admit that, depending on how many theaters are open, and how willing the audience is to attend them, that plan could change.