Luca is a 2021 Disney – Pixar animated film set off the coast of Italy in the 1910s. Luca is a tween boy who happens to also be quite peculiar — he is one of the Italian fish-people. They are a population of sapient humanoids who lived under the waves, almost akin to sahuagin but without their sharklike features.
The fish-people seem a lot like us. They do chores, raise food, have homes, and also, in the case of Luca, worry way too much about their son. In modern terms we would say that Luca’s mother is an example of a helicopter-parent. She forbids Luca from doing many things — and her strictest rule is all about the surface. She forbids him from observing, collecting items from, or visiting the surface lands.
Yes, that is correct, the fish-people can visit the land. From my own google research I learned that these fish-people and their concept is original, made for this exact movie based off of iguanas. And like iguanas, the fish-people can breathe air and also stay under the water.
But not only that. Spoiler alert!
They change into human beings when they are dry. They are only fish-people when they are wet. This means that they can blend in with human society so long as they are careful.
Luca meets another boy while examining some land-people things that have fallen into the ocean. The boy, named Alberto, takes the things and Luca chases after him, trying to understand who he is and what he does. Alberto takes this opportunity to throw Luca onto land, showing him his inner transformative powers. And then showing him the world above the sea floor.
Luca and Alberto get into building things, exploring things, and create a powerful friendship that revolves around the world above. However, as Disney and Pixar movies usually do, things go south when Luca fails to come home on time and his mother becomes extremely angry. She sentences him to live in the deep dark ocean with Luca’s uncle, her husband’s brother. Luca, fearful and angry, swims away and escapes to land. He meets with Alberto and together they run away to the big city.
I would go on, but really you should watch the movie for yourself. It is a heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure, discovery and even acceptance. Like a mixture of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn with The Little Mermaid.