Luck is Skydance’s first foray into animation, and it seems the production company is still finding its sea legs after two viewings. The production company hired former Pixar head John Lasseter as chief creative executive for its animation division.

In some ways, Luck feels reminiscent of Pixar’s early movies, exploring a “secret life” or “behind the scenes narrative” regarding the forces dictating luck. The problem with Luck is that the script is overwritten and overburdened with world building that crushes any chance at an emotional throughline.

We follow a young woman named Sam Greenfield, AKA the unluckiest person in the world. Sam is aging out of the foster system and she’s been besieged with bad luck all her life. She follows a talking cat and discovers a hidden world where workers mine luck crystals and have lucky pennies as portal generators. Yes, portals… there’s also Babe the dragon (Jane Fonda) who is the CEO of Good Luck, and to get back home she needs to team up with the cat to find a “thing,” but to find that “thing” they need to go to a place, but to go to that place they need to – and so on.

The plot is overworked with a chain of tasks that explain more of this world’s mechanics without connecting to the emotional journey of the character, reminiscent of Inside Out (2015). It’s stunning that Sam’s character lacks even a shred of bitterness about her own trenchant bad luck. There’s a nice message about accepting the bad with the good in life, and how both are opportunities for growth, but I kept wondering why our hero didn’t once lash out at those responsible.

The animation is colorful and bright with an aesthetic that separates it from the style of both Pixar and Dreamworks. Despite the script issues, director Peggy Holmes has assembled an incredible voice cast and there are certainly fun moments and character exchanges for kids to enjoy. Ultimately though, Luck lacks the heart-tugging emotion of Lasseter’s prior work, leaving this reviewer to wish them better luck with their sophomore effort.

Letter Grade: B

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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