2 Under-the-Sea Treasure movies: NPR


Two sea creatures disguise as boys in the small Italian Riviera in the enchanting Pixar moviear Luca.


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Two marine creatures camouflaged as boys in the small Italian Riviera in the enchanting Pixar movie Luca.


By Strange Coincidence, two of the best movies I’ve seen so far this summer – this family-friendly cartoon tale Luca The fairy tale of the German Art House الفن Undine – Tell stories about mythical sea creatures communicating with the human world. This is not a new concept, as we have seen in various films such as water shapeAnd the Aquaman And endless versions of the little Mermaid. But as Luca And the Undine There are still new stories to be unearthed from these watery depths.

Reaching Disney+ after several months of Academy Award-winning comedy SoulAnd the Luca It is a brand of lighter Pixar sweets. And it just so happens to be a better, smarter movie. It takes place in and around the small Italian Riviera town whose residents live in fear of sea monsters rumored to inhabit the surrounding waters.

One such imaginary creature is Luca, a cute little boy with bluefins, green scales and a long tail, who lives in an underwater grotto with his overprotective parents. (Voiced by Jacob Tremblay, lead on a strong team that also includes Maya Rudolph And the Jim Gavigan.)

Like the Little Mermaid herself, Luca became fascinated by the world above the surface of the ocean. One day, he ventures ashore and finds that after drying himself, he takes on the form of a human. But he has to be careful never to get wet or else he’ll be exposed as a sea creature – a supernatural perception that raises many gags at this literal out-of-water fish farce.

Luca’s guide to the human world is another boy/disguised sea creature named Alberto. In one scene, Alberto Luca shows his house in a stone tower and teaches him about gravity and other forces that he will have to contend with on the roof. Luca and Alberto eventually make their way to the city, which is exquisitely crafted in a way we’ve come to expect from Pixar: director Enrico Casarosa, working from a screenplay by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones, composes a wonderfully visual love letter to Italy. Cobbled streets and scenic squares.

Luca and Alberto befriend a young girl named Julia and get into the local triathlon where one of the events is – what else? Pasta eating competition. But as they adopt their new life on land, they also run the risk of being harmed by city dwellers, with their superstitious fear of sea monsters.

When the trailer for Luca Released weeks ago, photos of two children running around a lush Italian paradise prompted more than a few to wonder, half-jokingly, whether Pixar made its own version of a gay love story. Call me by your name. While there is no romance in LucaThe subtext is hard to miss: after all, Luca and Alberto struggle to hide their true identity in a society that avoids what they don’t understand. Their story is a charming tale of friendship, adventure, and learning to live without fear.

The title character in the bleak drama Undine He is also an aquatic creature that takes on human form, although any similarities between the two films end there. Undine, or Ondine, is a famous nymph of European mythology, although German writer and director Christian Petzold places his own role in the myth.

This Undine, played by Paula Beer, lives in present-day Berlin and works as a city historian. You wouldn’t guess that there was anything supernatural about her, or that she was bound by one rule: if a human lover betrayed her, she had to take his life. We see her getting ready to do so early on, when her latest boyfriend, Johannes, tells her he’s leaving her for another woman.

Petzold takes a somber and realistic approach to this grotesque hypothesis. There are no obvious visual effects, and the legendary origins of Undine have never been explained. But the story unfolds with such a cunning truth that I soon find myself immersed in it. Before she has time to deal with Johannes, Undine is swept off her feet by another man, Kristoff, and the two plunge into a devouring affair together – and like most Undine’s love affairs, it’s not destined to end happily. .

Christoph plays Franz Rogowski, who appeared with Peer in the previous Petzold film, Crossing. The actors are captivating to watch, and their reunion here adds to the film’s faint sense of the otherworld. Petzold likes to use genre to illuminate different chapters of German history, and Undine is no exception. His filmmaking is so elegant and brief that you might not realize he’s slipping into a lesson on the history of Berlin itself – the history of war, destruction, and reconstruction that Undine witnessed so long ago. She truly is a timeless heroine in a movie I’ve seen many times now that gets more mysterious – and magical – with every visit again.

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