This will be the best summer ever. We will go through all the roads, together we will see the whole world! It will be awesome! But there is only one thing that no one will discover ... (Luca Paguro - Jacob Tremblay)
Enrico Casarosa can manage and install the new Pixar film shown in Italian from which it originated, namely in 60s Liguria.
The starting point is people living in the depths of the sea. Young Luca Paguro is attracted by the mainland and the life that flows there, but the family warns him when people hunt people like them, calling them sea monsters. Luca finds in his friend Alberto Scorfano a way to escape and explore the land, taking on a human form, even if, upon contact with water, these creatures return to their original form. The two of them will also have to face the bully Ercole Visconti and his gang, but they will be supported by Julia Marcovaldo, the girl with whom they want to compete and win the prize ..
The idea seems to be reminiscent of stories like The Little Mermaid (1989), with something from The Monster of the Black Lagoon (1954) to La Forma dell`Acqua (2017). A skeleton is an accomplice traveling between two friends, one more daring, the other more fearful, allowing itself to be carried away. These two think that if they manage to own and drive a Vespa, they will be able to move freely and do whatever they want. This is the main one of the many references to Italian culture scattered throughout the film.
Vespa is a local cult that went through the Roman Holiday (1953), of which we have already seen the theatrical musical version, and the rest in the sense of freedom from motorcycle racers, we discovered in the last summer 85 (2020). Elsewhere we find Italian playing cards, famous names and songs. Some of these elements seem to be inserted as a pure homage, others are more appropriate in the scenes. Among the songs invented is Il Gatto E La Volpe on Edoardo Bennato, who accompanies the forays of two friends.
The animation is intentionally not photo realistic and stylized, especially with human figures, even though some graphic solutions seem to recall more products like Galline in Fuga (2000) or Wallace and Gromit than other Pixar works, if not, like Journey Arlo in. (2015), which is not even visually the pinnacle of Studio and from which this work originates.
Besides exploring a new world, the meeting of diversity is a central theme. The so-called sea monsters try to integrate with the so-called normals. Typical is the moment when Luca expresses his desire to go to school, the one that Julia described with enthusiasm, while Alberto would prefer a more careful isolation in order to protect the secret of his marine nature.
L`entusiasmo to school is the rise of Luke's curiosity in relation to human culture. This is fueled by a vivid explanation of astronomy. At first, Luca thought that the stars were flying fish, later he can see the stars up close in a fantastic and fabulous sequence, reminiscent of the short film "Moon" (2011), which has already distinguished the director himself. There are interesting passages about the family's attitude from Luke, very protective up to the resort to extreme measures of isolation for the child. Thinking about the exit is also very relevant, understood as a kind of exit from sea creatures, which also leaves some surprises behind.
A particularly touching moment is the choice of the future. Separation hypothesis to keep track of school or work and wonder how to develop attachment; or wondering how to know if others are ok when we don't see them. Situations similar to those in the recent film Forward (2020), with which he has a common adventure theme with two boys presenting attention to training trips closer to the world of young people and perhaps further away from the more versatile all the more ambitious films like as like Inside Out (2015) or Coco (2017).
Curiously, even in the original English version, Italian words and expressions abound, and some of the characters have the same voice in the original and in the Italian version: Saverio Raimondo as Hercules, Marina Massironi as Mrs. Marcillaise. who coordinates the competition, the young people Orietta Berti and Luciana Litticetto, the voices of two village elderly women, are participating.
The film is encouraged to rediscover the artist's vision in the animation of his Italy and how it came to be done in Pixar's work. Equally an opportunity to reflect on the pursuit of happiness and where to be.