Luca (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

In the pandemic times, Disney’s handling of their Pixar titles has been rather interesting to say the least. First, Soul’s theatrical release was postponed and then became a Disney+ exclusive, available for free on Christmas Day and a period after. Now, Pixar’s follow up film, Luca also shared the fate of passing over a featured theatrical release and went straight to Disney+ as an exclusive. And these are not the “Premiere Access” titles either, where you pay a $29.99 premium to have it early on the app. Luckily for us physical media enthusiasts, they aren’t skimping out or forgetting us like they are the theaters. Luca, like Soul before it, is arriving on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray right in line with the theatrical to home video window. You’ll be able to purchase this sea monster takes to land tale when it arrives on August 3rd. There is a paid Amazon Associates ordering link below the review if this is a film you fancy adding to your collection.


Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface.

Pixar’s Luca is a little breathe of fresh following what are the normally super heavy emotional investments and gut punches pulled a few times a year by the studio. Its a light hearted affair that also never swoops into being “kids only” territory either. The film rather has a simple narrative focusing on friendship, family and not being afraid of thy neighbor while instilling some silly hijinks and providing some Italian historical and cultural appreciation.

One of my favorite aspects of the film, and where it truly excels, is its setting. As a purveyor of Italian cinema, a lot of that love for the vintage stuff comes with taking in the lovely architecture and surrounding these classic cities have to offer. And its displayed with a wonderful accuracy here. Settings-wise, I kept being reminded of Call Me By Your Name as the two friends bounced around through the streets of the town. Something I loved doing was spotting the classic Italian movie posters and pop culture figures you see on the buildings or painted in places.

With Luca, you’re just in for a nifty little kids adventure with sense of fun and some great recreated environments to play in while watching some terrific animation. There is a big deep reveal or lesson that’s gonna make you reach for the tissues, but that’s not what the film is setting out to be. There’s just a nice tale of friendship, family and expanding your horizons at the heart of Luca. And that’s all you really need from the film.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Luca beautifully arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a native 4K title, being finished with a 4K digital intermediate master. And it looks absolutely gorgeous. The film showcases a lot of detail in a crisp image full of wonderful range and depth. Colors pop quite well and feature great saturation. This really elevates it from the Disney+ presentation tremendously. I don’t remember being this impressed with it when I streamed it back in June.

Depth: The film’s depth of film is really impressive. Being computer animated it lends itself with ease to a 3 dimensional feel. There’s great push back on backgrounds and space with easy examples of foreground and background disparities. Many of the camera swings and dollies showcase such freeness and space. Movements are natural and smooth.

Black Levels:  Black levels are deep and natural, with great contrast to give a crisp, detailed, sharper image. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors find themselves quite strong and varied here. There are a lot of pretty and bold strokes here with such radiance and variety on display. Everything is quite well saturated and really glows and emanates right off the screen.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Italian 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Italian

Dynamics: Luca’s Atmos track continues the more disappointing trend in Disney titles on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. No, its not awful or unlistenable, its just lacking and makes you feel like you know they could do more. In terms of sound design and recording, there’s good layering and depth in this mix. Where it falters is in its attempt to create a 360 degree home theater space of engagement.  Volume is set a bit lower than your default as well.

Height: Not much to report from here. There are elements present and accurate to onscreen action. However, these chances rarely find use and create no discernible impact when they are put into motion.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer does an average job of giving an extra bump to music, on screen action or natural sound effects. You’ll anticipate much harder a hit than you are given.

Surround Sound Presentation: In designing the audio, one doesn’t wonder if they just wanted to do a stereo or 3.1 mix for this track. Surrounding channels (sides and rear) aren’t given much to do and aren’t set at impacting volumes to roll around or make themselves felt. This is probably the most unsatisfying area of a pretty disappointing Atmos track.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Luca comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. All extras are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Our Italian Inspiration (HD, 14:21) – This featurette dive’s into the director’s youth and inspiration for the film and serves as a locations scouting piece for preproduction as we see the ideas and motivations behind the film’s setting.

Secretly A Sea Monster (HD, 12:23) – In this piece, the sea monster creature rules are given and we focus on the character designs as well as animation process for the film.

Best Friends (HD, 7:15) – The friendship at the heart of the story, where it comes from and the actors that play them are the focus of this featurette.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:30) – Includes an introduction from the director. Presented in an animated storyboard form.


  • Summer (HD, 1:28) – English Teaser Trailer
  • Liberta (HD, 2:27) – Italian Trailer
  • Summer Days (HD, 2:18) – Japanese Trailer


Luca is a rock solid little piece from Pixar that is nice for some summer fun at home. Their 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut for the film has some stunning video but lacking audio to go with it. Yes, chalk up another disappointing Atmos track to a Disney physical media release. They have to know this by now and just don’t give a rip, right? There are some decent little featurettes that make this a decently complete package for the film.


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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