Luck is the first of two animated films from Skydance Animation that will be making their way to Apple TV+ this year. The studio itself has been met with some controversy though, specifically the hiring of John Lasseter as Head of Animation. John Lasseter, the man behind Pixar, left Walt Disney Animation back in 2018 after a sexual misconduct scandal. I wanted to acknowledge that before we get into the review because it needs to be said.
Now, getting to the review! Luck is a strong first outing for Skydance Animation, taking a note from Pixar’s book and taking a concept like “good luck” and “bad luck” and making it into its own magical world. The animation is bright and colorful, with nice character designs for the residents of the Land of Luck. It also has a great voice cast as well, from Simon Pegg to Jane Fonda. Above all else though, the story has heart and gets it from an unexpected source that I didn’t see coming.
The movie begins with the introduction of our protagonist Sam Greenfield, voiced by Tony Award nominee Eva Noblezada (who I had the pleasure of seeing on Broadway in Hadestown). She is 18 years old and is the unluckiest person you could possibly find. Sadly, this has resulted in her remaining unadopted and having to age out of the system; this means she has to leave the other girls at the orphanage, including her friend Hazel. This isn’t something you see all the time, especially in animation, so I appreciate Skydance Animation telling this kind of story in their first film.
Everything changes for Sam though when she meets Bob, a Scottish black cat from the Land of Luck, and follows him back after he’s lost his lucky penny. The two become unlikely partners as they try to recover a lucky penny to help Sam get Hazel adopted and Bob his job security back in the Land of Luck. Along the way, we are introduced to a variety of characters, from Gerry the leprechaun to Jerry the unicorn.
Simon Pegg is great as Bob and is having a lot of fun laying on the thick Scottish accent, much like he did in Star Trek. I also loved that Bob is a polydactyl black cat as well, since I’m the proud owner of one myself (his name is Eddie)! Eva Noblezada does a good job for her first major voice acting role; there are times you can tell it’s new to her and the voice acting is a little wooden. Luckily, they managed to find a way to incorporate her beautiful singing voice into the film and that makes up for it!
Jane Fonda does a nice job as Babe the Dragon; Emma Thompson was hired to voice a character in the film (presumably Babe), but left the project when John Lassiter was hired at Skydance. The highlight of the supporting cast though is Flula Borg as Jeff, because how could Flula voicing a unicorn not be hilarious? We also get Whoopi Golderberg and Colin O’Donoghue as The Captain and Jerry, along with a voice that will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Pixar film.
Overall, the movie is great and has that Pixar feel to it where kids and adults will be able to get something out of it. It takes the classic formula of two unlikely characters who are stronger together than apart and puts a fresh coat of paint on it. At the end of the day, good luck and bad luck both serve their purpose in life; that’s a message everyone can benefit from right now.