MOVIE | In this entertaining story, random chance is a metaphor for life’s circumstances outside our control
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➤ Rated G
➤ Apple TV+
➤ S1 / V2 / L1*
Luck is the first feature film from Skydance Animation, the new studio led by Pixar co-founder John Lasseter. Lasseter created beloved classics like Toy Story and Cars, and under his leadership Pixar revolutionized animation with cutting-edge technology and storytelling that resonated with all ages. In 2018, he lost his job at Pixar after some female employees complained he made them uncomfortable. Upstart Skydance Animation hired Lasseter the next year, hoping he could recreate Pixar’s magic.
In this entertaining and heartfelt film, bad luck follows Sam Greenfield (voiced by Eva Noblezada) wherever she goes. She fumbles through life, dropping her toast and losing her keys. And most unluckily of all, this foster child never found the forever family she’s always longed for. Now she’s aged out of the foster system, and she’s struggling to make it alone. Despite her unlucky breaks, Sam isn’t bitter. She has a tender heart, and she hopes to help her young friend Hazel, who’s still in foster care, find a family of her own.
Sam’s luck seems to change when she finds a penny dropped by a black cat. But before she can give the lucky charm to Hazel, she loses it. In need of another, Sam pursues the magical talking cat, named Bob (voiced by the funny Simon Pegg), through a clover-leaf portal into the Land of Luck. It’s a magical world populated almost entirely by cats, bunnies, and leprechauns, and it’s the place from which all luck—good and bad—flows.
Sam needs a lucky penny from Bob, and Bob needs Sam to leave the Land of Luck before he gets into trouble for having a human follow him home. The two decide to work together. But having the unluckiest girl in the world walk through the Land of Luck leads to chaos in this magical realm.
Luck is a pleasant and entertaining film, free of objectionable content. It’s a rare movie these days that has both a G rating and a plot. But Luck doesn’t break much new ground, and it certainly doesn’t rival the Pixar classics from Lasseter’s days at the studio.
The animation is solid, but it won’t wow viewers. The characters’ styling looks a little rubbery, and the action sequences aren’t as smooth as those Pixar produced a decade ago. The dialogue can be amusing, and the movie is filled with likable characters played by distinctive voices like Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Fonda, Lil Rel Howery, and Pixar veteran John Ratzenberger.
The movie has a few creative elements, but the foundational plot device has problems. The Land of Luck manufactures and tracks luck for what purpose? This magical realm was too reminiscent of Boss Baby’s Baby Corp to feel fresh or original. We should have spent more time exploring a fantastical world rather than worrying about corporate inventories and bureaucracies.
No one believes luck comes from a magical land of leprechauns, but Christian families who watch Luck might want to have a conversation about the difference between believing in chance and believing in the providence of God. Christians know all things come from the hand of God, and God’s providential care for His creation causes us to believe there’s a purpose behind events. We might not understand why something happens, but we don’t believe in random chance.
Despite the film’s title, the filmmakers know they can’t make an interesting movie about randomness. Luck might be central to the movie’s plot, but this story isn’t really about luck. Director Peggy Holmes said her real inspiration came from talking with kids in foster care: “They were so positive and hopeful and generous of heart, and we were so inspired by them.”
At its core, Luck is a story about sacrifice and finding love and family. Random chance—good luck and bad luck—is a metaphor for life’s circumstances outside our control. This film teaches that while we might not be able to control our circumstances, we can determine how we’re going to respond to them.
*Ratings from kids-in-mind.com, with quantity of sexual (S), violent (V), and foul-language (L) content on a 0-10 scale, with 10 high
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