Film Review: ‘Luca’ Uses Queer-Bait Hoping to Reel in a Hit, Ends Up Getting Snagged

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Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

CHICAGO – Even as an adult, I am still in awe of how effective animated features are as narrative vehicles. As a kid, it was the thing I would consume the most, gorging myself into a stupor. The cartoons didn’t even have to follow any set story structure, especially when some of my favorites included a cowardly dog, a cow and chicken as siblings, and even an underwater sponge that is friends with an aquatic squirrel. Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Utter nonsense, but as a kid, it easily became my main source of lessons during my formative years (for better or worse). As an adult, I can still enjoy a good animated show or film now that I am able to view it through the lens of an adult who remembers what it was like being a child. That’s how I can tell when something is reductively insulting to the viewer, and Luca was an absolute fin slap to the face.

Anytime you enter the wonderful world of animation, you have to suspend your disbelief because in these cartoon oases anything is possible. Take my favorite animated film of 2021, The Mitchells vs the Machine, which did give us some of the basic family film tropes, but it presented them in a high-stakes, adrenaline-rushed station wagon that made so many cultural and pop-cultural references that it was impossible not to love. This is an example of how the base of your story doesn’t have to be revolutionary for your outcome to be extraordinary. The pacing, internet humor, and especially the natural integration of an LGBTQIA+ main character, were all the extra spice needed to make this a well-seasoned dish everyone could enjoy. Why have I spent so much time talking around the movie this review should be about? It’s because, like most Disney films that claim to be inclusive, I’m hoping you can find it somewhere in the subtext.

“Luca” in theaters and on Disney+ June 18th. Featuring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sandy Martinand, and Giacomo Gianniotti. Directed by Enrico Casarosa. Written by Enrico Casarosa, Jesse Andrews, and Mike Jones . Rated “PG

StarClick here for Jon Espino’s full review of “Luca”

Photo credit: Disney

StarClick here for Jon Espino’s full review of “Luca”

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