Luck Review: John Lasseter’s First Movie Since Leaving Pixar Is Cursed

Skydance Animation’s first movie for Apple TV+ is one of the most unfortunate for kids of the streaming age.

Sam Greenfield is the unluckiest person on Earth, and has been since the day he was born. It’s bad enough that Sam’s birth parents dropped her off at the Summerland Home for Girls shortly after she came into this world, and that she’s about to leave the show after going a full 18 years without finding a forever home. . But a more mundane kind of calamity also seems to follow Sam from day to day: This poor girl can’t make a sandwich without dropping a slice of bread jelly-side down on the floor, take a shower without knocking over a broom lock her in the bathroom, or shoot a lip sync video with her “little sister” Hazel without the device collapsing on top of her. Rotten luck essentially follows Sam with the same Rube Goldberg-inspired relentlessness that death stalks the teenagers of the “Final Destination” franchise, only without the sadistic creativity that makes those movies so much fun (or any other kind of creativity, for that matter). the case).

Alas, the true source of Sam’s existence is due to a darkness of a different kind: through no fault of his own, he has the profound misfortune of being the main character in the first film he John Lasseter has produced since Pixar’s disgraced god took his new job at Skydance Animation, and every charmless minute of “Luck” seems to betray that arrangement’s mutual desperation. No matter how much Sam’s fortunes seem to improve by the end of this story, no matter how sincerely she comes to the foregone conclusion that having someone like Hazel in her life is the ultimate windfall, our hapless heroine will still be trapped in a “Monsters Inc” charmless, half-baked and completely unattractive. imitation for all eternity. The only silver lining for her is the lack of talking cars.

As is the case with most bad movies, luck has nothing to do with what went wrong here. As is the case with only an extreme subsection Of the bad movies, however, Lindsay Lohan’s certain flawed (but still far superior) vehicle is chief among them, luck playing an unusually literal role in explaining the failure of this legacy headache.

On the one hand, it’s not bad luck that Lasseter couldn’t bottle up the Pixar magic and bring it with him to his new concert. On the other hand, the concept of luck itself is the crux of why this sub-Netflix streaming fiasco is such a tall order. Specifically, the misconception that anyone can care “where it comes from,” let alone be intrigued enough to sit through a two-hour tour of the generic Wonka-like underworld, where ladybugs deliver leaves of luck to the little pigs that create the lucky crystals. for specific lucky events (ie “had a good hair day” or “stepped on dog poop”) which are then filed in a machine that scatters them randomly throughout our universe. In fairness to director Peggy Holmes, who has been saddled with a script that lacks any trace of a spark of animation, she had never considered how utterly boring it would be to explore the notion of luck until I saw Sam following a cat. black named Bob (a Scottish cat). -with a Simon Pegg accent) in Wonderland where it’s made.

The Luck World or whatever it’s called is an unappealing bore from the moment Sam arrives, and the movie has nowhere to go once it gets there except down and into Hell. Bad luck world that exists below. Voiced by a brave Eva Noblezada, who maintains the vibrancy of a birthday party princess despite her character having all the personality of a GPS, Sam is determined to stay in the Land of Luck until she can find enough things for Hazel to get. adopted, but there is never any sense of weight or purpose in pursuing it.

The magical world of “Luck” lacks the everyday creativity that allowed “Monsters Inc.” to tickle the imagination, none of the narrative integrity that allowed “Inside Out” to combine characters with emotion, and none of the wonder that allowed the bathhouse in “Spirited Away” to seem like a real place that existed just out of sight. Credited to Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Kiel Murray, the film’s script is organized not as a story but as a parade of semi-related stimuli. Here’s some bunnies in hazmat suits, there’s a dragon voiced by Jane Fonda, now Sam has to pretend she’s Latvian (don’t ask). That building looks like it’s copied from Asgard, those two are connected by high-speed bumper cars, and they all seem to be made of plastic.

Bob has a useful exposition to justify most of this stuff, usually something much more complicated and less interesting than “five-year-olds have short attention spans,” but “Luck” certainly raises a lot of questions for a movie that was designed to keep the kids quiet for 100 minutes, and each new detail only strengthens the suspicion that luck is too defined by its internal lack of logic to sustain a story that relies so heavily on explaining how it works.

Very young children may be amused by the film’s overzealous pacing, and even by some of the wackier characters that come their way (it’s hard to go wrong with Flula Borg voicing a unicorn named Jeff), but older ones will have difficulties with the lack of something to hold on to, and also perhaps with the feeling that they have seen a version of this story better done many times before. “Luck” is a terrible idea for a movie, poorly executed, and by someone who used to know better. The best I can say about the end product is that, unlike most forms of bad luck, this one is wonderfully easy to avoid altogether.

Grade: D+

“Luck” will be available to stream on Apple TV+ beginning Friday, August 5.

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