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.