Over the past 25 years, Pixar has established its own style of animation and storytelling that is unique to any other studio. Pixar has thrived on its innovation with making computer animated graphics that look true to life, whether we're with the toys in Andy’s Room, in the ocean with Nemo and Dory, or on the race track with Lightning McQueen in the Cars films. But for the studio’s latest film, Luca, the filmmakers chose to take on a new style of storytelling that will have Studio Ghibli fans excited.
Luca is about a pair of young sea monsters who come up to the surface to experience summer on the Italian coast. For all its big and bold visuals, the Pixar project has a small and intimate feel to it that its director Enrico Casarosa has likened to his love of Hayao Miyazaki’s work in films such as Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service. When CinemaBlend spoke to Luca’s animation supervisor, Mike Venturini, he shared why the upcoming Disney+ release may remind you a bit of Studio Ghibli movies:
Although Luca is a 3D animated film, the movie was created with a lot of 2D stylings at work. Some of the studio’s focus on realism was thrown out the window in order to usher in a movie that playfully disregards being accurate to life.
The Pixar crew told us they were challenged to rewire how they’d been doing things on past projects, with one reference point being the visual behavior of characters in anime. Mike Venturini continued:
It’s a really exciting development to see Pixar implementing new styles into its repertoire with Luca. Since the movie is from the perspective of young kids, the animators were given the freedom to move away from being visually accurate for a larger-than-life approach to the world around them. The film’s animation supervisor also shared this during our virtual interview:
Miyazaki films are often sweeping epics that also felt like slice-of-life stories. The Japanese animators take its audience on a journey that feels immersive in its beautifully-crafted 2D drawings. Disney certainly has a history with Studio Ghibli dating back to the ‘90s when it became the distributor of its beloved films. The animation studio has since broken off from Disney and its entire library is currently available on HBO Max.
That’s not to say Luca is not its own vision though. The movie is undeniably Pixar, but with new shades of inspiration into the mix from what we’ve seen from the studio. Luca comes exclusively to Disney+ on June 18. While we wait, check what’s new to the streaming service this month.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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