(sorry this is so long, i just love talking about animation ;w;)
Aw, it sucks to hear that they were bothered because their movies were free. It's not too surprising that they wouldn't value Pixar though, and to be fair to Disney, the production costs were probably higher with Mulan, and as far as Raya goes, Disney does hold more powerful name power than Pixar does.
What did you think about Raya and Soul? Personally, I thought Raya was better than people give it credit for, and Soul was a masterpiece visually and deep with the theming, I think it suffered from a lot of poor comedy and the missed opportunity for a brilliant ending (he should have died in the end, them allowing him to skirt the rules felt like plot armor.) I think Onward had the best Pixar ending.
My fave Pixar's are Bug's Life and a tie between Inside Out and Coco. Coco suffered from the 'twist villain' syndrome, but the beginning and ending were nearly perfect. Inside Out was great because it had no external villain, but at the same time, the other feelings kinda got sidelined, and it was pretty much a copy-paste of Toy Story's basic plot. With A Bug's Life I really loved the "alone we are weak, but together we are strong," moment. I think it also makes Hopper the scariest Pixar villain, because he knew they were technically stronger than him, and took advantage of their naivete.
Toy Story is an absolute classic, and same with The Incredibles. What did you think about the last Toy Story and The Incredibles sequel?
Do you have any animated favorites from other studios? What are your favorite classic Disney films?
I agree that it felt really different, but I wouldn't say it was so much of a good thing in this case. The parents weren't very well fleshed out, just giving the canned "Outside is scary and bad" responses. I also wasn't a big fan of Luca just abandoning Alberto in the end. I know that it was character development for him to let Luca go but for Luca to just leave felt... idk... cold I guess. Alberto was his first friend and they barely spent a summer together. I guess that just comes down to preference though than writing. I did really like that the father character didn't lose his arm to a monster like we all assumed. That was great subversion, and went well with the "don't judge a book by its cover" theme.
That being said, the res of the film was really good. As you said, it's probably the first comfy, chill Pixar film. and I'm curious to see if they continue with this genre. I'd say probably not though, because Luca was free, which is probably why it lacked the drama and heavy plot that we see in Pixar films. I would bet that it didn't get a great writing team. If they continue to release "low effort" (Luca wasn't low effort, but it wasn't up to the usual quality that Pixar delivers) films on their streaming service as well as box office movies, I'd be really, really happy.
Anyways, what's your favorite Pixar film?? Do you follow any more western animations, like Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, and Steven universe?