The acquisition of information — and the revelation of how freeing, albeit painful, that knowledge can be — is the central topic of Pixar’s new film “Luca.” The film, directed by Enrico Casarosa from a scenario by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones, offers the endearing insight that practically everyone has something to learn. To survive, Luca (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy who finds himself in an unfamiliar nation, must grasp its perplexing laws and traditions. Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) is an impulsive friend whose know-it-all swagger is a ruse: like Luca, he’s lonely and adrift in a world that turns out to be bigger, scarier, and more wondrous than either of them could have imagined.
Pixar’s animators, for their part, have developed that world with their usual creativity and bright-hued grandeur, so it’s a shame that most audiences will have to watch it on Disney+. (It has a limited engagement at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood from June 18 to 24.) Portorosso, a fictional village on the Italian Riviera apparently not far from Genoa, Casarosa’s native city, which inspired his 2011 Pixar short “La Luna,” is the filmmakers’ most gorgeous visual creation here. Portorosso is a parade of well-worn but masterfully handled cultural clichés in the director’s hands. Bicyclists and Vespa riders navigate the town’s steep, cobblestoned streets. IMDB