‘Luck’ Review: Apple Goes the Disney Route with a Cute Family Film

Luck

In 2018, John Lassater was fired from Disney Animation Studios and Pixar after having been a principal driving force for both companies for decades. The reason for his firing was inappropriate behavior towards female co-workers. That is a story for another moment, but Lassater quickly jumped from his prestigious job at Disney and ended up at Skydance. Now Lassater launches his first production under the Skydance animation brand, and it is a film that definitely follows the same style as his works in the house of the mouse.

Luck is an animated film, now available on Apple TV, and produced by Skydance Animation. The film is directed by Peggy Holmes and stars Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, and Whoopi Goldberg. The film tells the story of Sam, an orphan who now has reached the age of eighteen, so now she has to become independent. Sadly, Sam never got adopted thanks to her innate bad luck. When she crosses paths with a lucky Scottish black cat, her life will change forever.

Luck might not be a Disney film, but it is indeed the quintessential Disney flick. The movie takes so much from the signature elements that have made Disney so famous that it wouldn’t be surprising if someone confuses this movie for a Disney production. From the art style to the character design, the animation, and even the storytelling, everything just screams Disney, and that is both a positive and a negative in an equal manner.

Luck

It is positive because the film follows a formula that has been proven many times before. The film tells a story about the importance of sharing the things we have, even if they are not many, and the importance of having someone to share those things with. It is a very universal and powerful message that will touch audiences both old and young in the same way. Luck is also an adventure film with a young protagonist and a cute mascot as a sidekick. It really feels like a Disney animated film from beginning to end.

However, these similarities are also negative because Luck ends up feeling like a major wasted opportunity. Disney is the king of animated films. Frozen, Encanto and others have defined the way animated films are looked at. So seeing a new major animated film production just going through a checklist of “how to make a Disney film” feels wasted. Luck ends up lacking its own identity and ends up feeling more like a knock-off.

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This is a very sad thing to say because the film is very well-made. It is quite solid in its storytelling, and in the quality of its animation. The voice cast is also doing a great job. Everything is exactly as it should be. There is nothing more or less than that. The animated film landscape really needs a shake-up, with creators being able to go beyond the formula and take on a new visual style or a new type of story.

The way that every character in every single animated film, be it from Pixar, Disney, or Skydance in this case, is quite alarming. It puts the spotlight on the lack of risk-taking. The anime market is always doing its best to have different-looking movies, one very different from the other, with each animation studio basically having its own visual style. This is something that doesn’t happen in the western industry, and it feels like being a step behind.

Luck

Other than being just a basic Disney film not made by Disney, Luck also lacks any sort of punch. When it comes to the story of a young woman trying to find more luck through magic means, the scope feels very small. Sam, our protagonist, ends up visiting a completely different reality, but it feels more like an office tour than actually visiting an unknown magical realm. The plot is also very predictable, which might bring a sense of familiarity and coziness, but also might bore some people who see every plot point coming a mile away.

Other than having this lack of identity, we cannot really say that Luck is a bad film; it is just bland, very bland. Hearing Simon Pegg being a Scottish black cat is quite funny, and his interactions with Noblezada’s Sam are quite heartwarming. The ending might make you shed a tear or two if you managed to get captivated by the story. If not, then the film becomes quite forgettable and no one will really be talking about it by the end of the next week.

The score, composed by John Debney might be the most outstanding element in the picture. It jumps from being a classical film score, into a more spacey and energetic one exactly when it should, and it elevates a lot of scenes beyond what is happening on screen with the characters and the story. The importance of a good score should never be underestimated.

Luck might not be very impressive, but it is solid, and younger audiences will enjoy Sam’s adventure across the lands of Good and Bad Luck. The performances are nice, and the animation is good enough that it might have been a theatrical release at some other point in history. But in current times, it feels exactly like the concept of a streaming movie that appears in our minds.

SCORE: 6/10