Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada) is 18-years-old and has the worst luck imaginable. She moved around various orphanages as a child and is now on her own for the first time. Sadly, she is not doing as well as she hoped. One day, Sam’s luck changes when she gets a hold of a lucky penny and after a run-in with a talking cat named Bob (Simon Pegg), she ends up in a world where good luck and bad luck are more than just abstract ideas.
There is a whole lot more to it than that, with each idea arriving more complicated and convoluted than the next. For an Animated Film geared towards families and young children though, that should tell you everything you need to know about LUCK.
What that should also tell you is just how ambitious the Film is. It creates a whole world out of nothing, revolving around a concept that it manages to make tangible (and ironically dabbles in similar themes that this weekend’s ultra-violet Bullet Train covers too). From the start, LUCK looks great and uses vibrant colours brilliantly. Landscape shots in both the “human” world and the “luck” world are downright stunning, and there are a handful of truly spectacular sequences of wordless Animation. There is no doubt in my mind how absolutely incredible this one would be to stream in 4K. There are cute Characters and genuinely funny and heartfelt moments of introspection that attempt to go deeper than atypical Animation goes. It has a lot on its mind and wisely resists adding a proper Antagonist to hassle Sam and Bob.
Ambition aside however, it is all too clear that Producer John Lasseter is desperate to capture the magic of Pixar with LUCK. The Film borrows liberally from that Studio’s titles, but is missing some of the heart and drive of those pictures. While some have gone so far as to call LUCK soulless, I would rather suggest that it is misguided and struggles bringing together all of the elements it has in order to make the wonderfully-animated film it wants to be. Instead of showing us the intricacies of this wild world, the Film is perfectly content just having Pegg rhyme off endless exposition about it. I love the man and his voice, but these over-explanations got annoying all too quickly. Even worse is how underutilized its core Cast is. Heavy-hitters like Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg seem deflated and less enthusiastic than normal, and Flula Borg and Lil Rel Howery are operating at a fraction of the energy they are capable of. Noblezada, who also stars in new release Easter Sunday this weekend, does well for herself and adequately carries the Film thankfully. It just would have been a whole lot easier if the talented Cast around her was able to assist her better.
I have more thoughts, but what would that accomplish though? Instead, I will end by saying I wanted more from LUCK. It looks great, it has wonderful messaging and has a great Lead Voice Performance by Noblezada. I just wish it did not feel like such a missed opportunity.
LUCK streams on Apple TV+ beginning Friday, August 5, 2022.