*WARNING: Spoilers for Luca*
This past summer, Pixar’s Luca left us hanging in the best way a film can — with a lot of hope for the characters’ futures even as one chapter of their story ended. Ciao Alberto gives us a glimpse into one of those futures with Alberto, Luca’s best friend. After Luca and Giulia leave for boarding school, Alberto gets to work helping out Giulia’s father Massimo at the fishing trade and Alberto’s new father figure, Giulia’s dad, Massimo. The short film follows Alberto’s attempts to become a good fisherman and fish-seller despite his fun-loving nature getting in the way.
Alberto, a sea creature himself, struggles to follow in Massimo’s footsteps. The film, for the most part, focuses on Alberto’s failed attempts to fit in, his goofy, fun, and fast-paced nature that causes him to bungle tasks. But if the narrative world of Luca is about anything, it’s about accepting who you are and what you can do. Although the climax of the short hits a heart-warming note, it feels a little too much like abuse apologia in its framing of anger at children.
Although not the strongest of animated shorts, with some of Alberto’s escapades proving less engaging than some of the physical comedy of the feature film, Ciao Alberto will still be a must-see for Pixar fans and anyone looking for more from the Luca characters. There’s even a few great moments from Machiavelli, Massimo’s ever-watchful cat. Overall, Ciao Alberto is a sweet short that takes emotional root in Alberto’s insecurities and desire for acceptance; it feels like a fitting next chapter in his story and in the Luca universe. If anything, it might leave fans hoping for a short that catches us up with Luca and Giulia’s school adventure—or, better yet—a feature-length Luca sequel.
Ciao Alberto is available to stream exclusively on Disney+ now
by Bishop V. Navarro
Bishop V. Navarro (they/she) is a poet, writer, and media studies scholar from Tampa, Florida. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida and currently pursues a PhD in Communication at USF. Her scholarly work examines boundary vulnerability in horror and science fiction media. You can find her on Twitter, Letterboxd, Instagram, and Tumblr @vnavarrowriter