There is a known formula to write a Pixar, Disney, or a Dreamworks animation movie. All these movies are usually targeted towards the younger demography. They are usually didactic with a specific flaw. There is constant music or the nascence of music, an avalanche of colours, and, depending on the year the film is released, a love interest.
Interestingly, Pixar’s latest movie, Luca, finds a grey area to balance all the aforementioned; its focus is on friendship, the music is always almost happening, and the use of colour is delightful. It is the story of an amphibian kid, Luca (Jacob Trembley) who makes a new friend, Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and together, they escape his controlling parents to a small fishing town called Portorosso. The entirety of the film is about Luca’s friendship with Alberto and their longing for a Vespa to take them out of their world. This isn’t the first time an animated movie tows grey areas like this. In that light, here are five other animated movies like Luca.
5. The Mitchells Vs. the Machines
Released in 2021, The Mitchells Vs. the Machines is a surprisingly good movie. The most prominent quality of the movie is its bold colours and zany animations. The premise of an apocalypse and the fate of the world resting on a group might be a common one but the handling of that premise in the movie made it more interesting than it has any right to be.
4. Coco (2017)
I have had a problem with Coco for the longest time because I am sure it is a rip-off of an older film, The Book of Life (2014). The same theme of music and family which Coco espouses and the perennial theme of finding oneself are present therein. I hold on to this claim because of how similar the plots appear. However, Coco is far more gorgeous to watch and it sheds off the clunky theme of love interest that occasionally weighs down The Book of Life.
3. Ice Age (2002)
When the first Ice Age film was released, none of its producers knew it would be such a success. Like Luca, it is about the existence of friendship in the unlikeliest of places, for equally unlikely reasons. Talks of a sixth installment in the series has now been mooted, but it has had a good run, grossing over 3.2 billion dollars across five movies. We will miss the pack.
2. Finding Nemo (2003)
It really doesn’t matter the age, Finding Nemo gets to everyone. The controlling parent, Marlin (Albert Brooks), and the adorable, forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), embark on a dangerous journey across the colourful depth of the ocean to look for his missing son, Nemo (Alexander Gould). It looks like a simple plot that should quickly wear itself out, but the movie, well-executed, ends up signing out with a proper emotional climax.
The Incredibles (2004): Yet another Pixar entry that probably laid some of the groundwork for superhero ensembles. It is a witty, jocund movie that does its best at depicting what real life would be with superheroes and how we would truly react to them.
Inside Out (2015): Another family film anchored by Pixar’s animation studio. A young girl has just started the journey into her teenage years and she has become subject to new emotions. The movie is entirely about exploring these emotions. What would anger feel like? His personality? Sadness? Joy? In the end, it becomes a deep reflection into the human psyche, particularly, an unformed one.
1. WALL-E (2008)
The most bizarre thing about WALL-E is that the protagonist is a machine and he falls in love with another machine. It is Wall-E’s duty to clean the planet after the human race, but while at his duty, he finds and falls in love with Eve, another robot. Yes, it isn’t about friendship, but hey, two robots fall in love. That’s as unlikely as it can get. The real score, however, is that the movie manages to be utterly emotional. How do you even begin to root for two robots staying together?
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Luca is currently streaming on Disney+.