Most people assess their luck by the amount of marshmallows in their Lucky Charms or if they attain a four-leaf clover in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. But, the question of where that luck comes from has never been answered. Is it conjured every time someone wears the color green like the ever-present light in “The Great Gatsby” or is it simply just something that randomly pops up out of the blue?
These questions are resolved in the new Apple TV+ film “Luck,” which was directed by Peggy Holmes and produced by Skydance Animation. The story focuses on orphan Sam Greenfield (voiced by Eva Noblezada), whose superlative would be “Unluckiest Person Ever.” After spending her whole life moving from one foster home to the next, Sam’s bad luck assumes the core of her personality — so much so that she cannot put jam on toast without creating a raspberry mess. In search for a lucky penny to help her friend Hazel (voiced by Adelynn Spoon) find her “forever family,” Sam stumbles into the Land of Luck and discovers the intricate makings of something so seemingly simple as good or bad luck. Sam encounters countless magical creatures in this land while becoming acquaintances with a Scottish black cat named Bob (voiced by Simon Pegg).
With a title like “Luck” and a story that is flooded with leprechauns, one would assume this is fated to be a hit. But unfortunately, this film is filled with more bad luck than Friday the 13th. The driving force of this film’s imminent doom is likely John Lasseter, the former Pixar Animation Chief who now leads Skydance Animation. Lasseter, who once ruled the world of animation, disgraced his reputation in 2017 after receiving sexual abuse accusations. It’s no surprise the media was frenzied at Lasseter’s unlikely return to animation – with the rotten cherry on top that this movie lacks proper execution.
The clunkiness of the film is in part because of the voice acting of Eva Noblezada as Sam. Along with very little character development, Sam never seems to show genuine emotion in her reactions to stressful situations. With what sounds like an animatronic Barbie doll voice, it becomes quite difficult to find Sam likable in any way (which is a major hindrance when she is the main character).
The storyline itself is a head-scratcher — even though the main demographic for the film is children. Since Sam and Bob are on the hunt for a fresh lucky penny, there are countless hurdles to overcome, with each one becoming more ridiculous. The fact that they must secure a lucky crystal, a bunny drone, receive advice from a dragon and distract a German unicorn creates a tangled mess that is a stretch for even young movie-watchers.
Although there are notes of Lasseter’s previous work spliced in the film, such as a bar in the Land of Bad Luck that resembles something in the world of “Monster’s Inc.,” there is never a rhythmic flow. The only appealing aspect of the film is Bob the cat, whose sassy sense of humor keeps you holding on for hope that the movie gets better. Even the animation itself feels like the ugly stepchild of Pixar – with Sam’s tears more closely resembling bland drops of goop than genuine tears.
Despite all the complications, the message in the movie is somewhat endearing. “Luck” tries to demonstrate that bad luck is not a burden — simply a lesson that “teaches you to pivot.” Does it pull off that theme effectively? Absolutely not. Don’t be fooled by the adorable scene of dancing bunnies, this film makes you feel cataclysmically down on your luck instead of finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“Luck” is available to stream on Apple TV+.