By: Amanda Guarragi
John Lasseter has given everyone some wonderful animated films over his time at Pixar. Now, with his new company Skydance, he brings his expertise to another animated feature with Luck. A story that begins with a teenager named Sam, turning eighteen years old and leaving her orphanage. She hasn’t found her forever family, but she is determined to help out her young friend Hazel find hers. In the opening of this feature, we see a very uncoordinated and awkward Sam, who usually keeps to herself because that’s all she has known her whole life. And, on top of that, she has the worst luck imaginable. Hence, the title. Shortly after she has a very messy day in her apartment, she meets this black cat on the sidewalk – usually bad luck for many- and her luck changes when she finds a penny.
The lucky penny then changes her outlook on life and she has good things happen to her for half of the next day. However, being clumsy and not knowing she has to hold onto the penny, she loses it. Sam winds up on the same corner and sees the cat named Bob, who is voiced by Simon Pegg. After this point, the heartfelt and emotional family dynamic that was at the start of the movie slowly vanishes into a leprechaun adventure. Bob, accidentally leads Sam to the luck headquarters and Sam is determined to find another penny to take home with her for Hazel. At first, it felt so fast-paced and the actions when Sam had the penny were extremely fun. There’s so much to play with in animation and that’s why the simple story was working. The middle is where it fell apart and the direction of the story became messy.
Even though the animation was fantastical because of all these different creatures and the world of bad luck, the rendering of the characters felt a bit off. The mouth movements weren’t as fluid, and you could tell that they didn’t match the dialogue. It felt like their mouth was catching up with the dialogue. The animation was really strong when the creatures and leprechauns were involved because they made them so adorable for kids to enjoy. The obstacles Sam and Bob had to face were fun to watch because of the distinction between good and bad in the land of luck. They used rich colours to set them apart and the lesson learned by all is that fate can be at the end of a good situation or a bad one. All decisions that are made, or ones that are made for you by the universe, all eventually lead to something different.
Luck had the potential to be a strong animated feature for Skydance, but the original message got lost in the adventure in the Land of Luck. There are emotional moments at the beginning and the end to bookend Sam’s story, but the middle just drags on. Some action scenes were done extremely well because animation can stretch those boundaries, but it was pretty generic. They spent too much time in the land of luck without ever going back to what little Hazel was doing in her world. It felt detached from the family dynamic and that’s why it didn’t work as a whole. Two different stories are being told here and they don’t mesh together unless. Bad luck happens, but it doesn’t define your situation in life because the universe and your decisions can lead you to other open doors.
Luck begins streaming on Apple TV Plus on Friday, August 5th.