Review by Tatiana Miranda
Skydance Animation's first feature film Luck is a Pixar film in disguise. This is likely due to former Pixar filmmaker-executive John Lasseter's current role as head of animation at Skydance Animation, along with the film's writer and director who both have multiple Pixar films under their belt. While the Pixar-influenced plot devices and imagery shown in Luck feel familiar, this is also the film's downfall, as it proves itself to be just another addition to the sea of animated features that are being consistently churned out by the multitude of animation companies that exist.
Pixar's influence on Luck can be found primarily in the film's 3-D animation style that is also featured in recent productions from Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, and various other animation companies. Although the visual similarities are the most striking between modern Pixar films and Skydance's debut film, the plot and character-building are incredibly reminiscent of what's been shown before. The settings of the Land of Luck and Bad Luck are one of the most noticeable examples of this, as they are both lucky- and unlucky-themed versions of Riley's Mind from Inside Out. There's also plenty of imagery that alludes to Monsters, Inc., most glaringly are the bunnies in hazmat suits that handle the unwanted specks of bad luck. While Luck tries to reinterpret these key resemblances to Pixar, John Lasseter's previous experience has a clear influence on his current work at Skydance.
With all the ways that Luck is like other animated films, there are also all the ways that it falls flat in comparison to them. Although the Land of Luck and its inhabitants are incredibly well-thought-out and executed, the rest of the world is lackluster. In particular, the heroine of the film, Sam Greenfield, appears like any old 3-D style female character set in the modern day. Her design is vague and unimaginative, likely loosely inspired by the character's voice actor Eva Noblezada, but not bearing any distinctive similarities. While Noblezada's incredible voice acting gives some character to Sam, it's not enough to make her a compelling main character. This is especially visible when Sam is exploring the Land of Luck and follows a cast of unique and mystical creatures that seem to have received all of the attention to detail that the heroine of the story missed out on.
In between its direct influences and faults, Luck has a compelling storyline and extraordinary cast of voice actors that bring the world to life. Hidden underneath Pixar's stylistic grip and the film's half-done designs, there are some compelling moments in the plot and characters' personalities that give Luck and Skydance Animation a chance against the creations of popular animation companies. Hopefully, as more of their films are released, Skydance Animation will distinguish itself from its animation company predecessors.
Luck premiers on Apple TV+ on August 5th.