‘Luck’ review: John Lasseter’s first movie since leaving Pixar’s damned to the core

The first Skydance Animation movie for the Apple TV is one of the worst kids movies of the streaming era.

Sam Greenfield is the luckiest person on earth, and she has been since the day she was born. It’s bad enough that Sam’s biological parents left her at Summerland Home for Girls shortly after she came into this world, and she’s on the verge of quitting the show after spending a full 18 years without finding a home forever. But there seems to be a more common kind of disaster that follows Sam on a daily basis as well: This poor girl can’t make a sandwich without dropping a slice of bread on the floor, take a shower without it. Knocking on the broom locks her in the bathroom, or shooting a lip-sync video with her “little sister” Hazel without the group crashing over her. Basically bad luck follows Sam with the same Rube Goldberg-inspired ruthlessness that teenage Death hunts in the “Final Destination” franchise, except for the sadistic creativity that makes those movies so much fun (or any other kind of creativity, for that matter).

Alas, the true source of Sam’s existence is a darkness of a different kind: she has no fault of her own, she has the deep misfortune of being the main character in the first film John Lasseter has produced since accepting the disgraced Pixar god. His new job is at Skydance Animation, and every magic-free minute of “Luck” seems to betray the mutual desperation of this arrangement. No matter how much Sam’s fortunes improve by the end of this story – no matter how honest she may come to the inevitable conclusion that having someone like Hazel in her life is a stroke of sheer chance – our miserable heroine will remain trapped. Monsters Inc. Unglamorous, half-baked, and totally unattractive imitated forever. The only silver lining to her is the lack of talking cars.

As with most bad movies, luck has nothing to do with what happened here. As with only severe subsection Of the bad movies, however – Lindsay Lohan’s defective (but still much better) car was one of the most important – luck plays an unusually literal role in explaining the failure of this hand headache.

On the other hand, it’s not due to misfortune that Lasseter wasn’t able to pack his Pixar magic and bring it with him to his new party. On the other hand, the very concept of luck is at the core of why this Netflix sub-streaming fiasco is such a chore. Specifically, the misconception that anyone might care about “where it comes from,” let alone be intrigued enough to sit on a two-hour tour of the Wonka-like public underworld where ladybirds offer fortune papers to hog fortune-makers who craft fortune crystals for fortune-telling events. Specifics (such as “I had a good day” or “He stepped in dog poop”) that are then saved to a machine that randomly scatters throughout the universe. In fairness to director Peggy Holmes, who was saddled with a screenplay that lacked any trace of an animated spark, I had never thought how bleak the idea of ​​luck was to explore until I watched Sam follow a black cat named Bob (Scottish-ccented Simon Pegg) into the wonderland where it was made.

The world of fortune or whatever it is called is an unattractive cavity from the moment Sam arrives, and there’s nowhere else the movie goes once he arrives – except downstairs, and in Hell Bad luck The world below. With the voice of brave Eva Noblezada, who keeps the birthday party princess alive even though her character has all the attributes of GPS, Sam is determined to survive in the land of fortune until she can find enough things Hazel can get. on her. It is adopted, but there is never any sense of the weight or purpose of its pursuit.

The magical world of “Luck” doesn’t have any of the day-to-day work innovations that allowed Monsters Inc. To tickle the imagination, none of the narrative integrity that allowed “Inside Out” to mix characters with emotions, and none of the wonder that allowed the pigeons in “Spirited Away” to feel like a real place once existed out of sight. The script of the film was credited to Jonathan Abel, Glenn Berger, and Kyle Murray, and the film’s script is arranged not so much as a storyline as a showcase of semi-related stimuli. Here are some bunnies in serious suits, there’s a dragon voiced by Jane Fonda, and now Sam has to pretend she’s Latvian (don’t ask). This building appears to be copied from Asgard, these two buildings are connected by high speed cars, and they all appear to be made of plastic.

Bob has a handy exposition to justify most of these things – usually something more complex and less exciting than “five-year-olds have short attention spans” – but “Luck” certainly raises a lot of questions for a movie designed to keep kids calm for 100 minutes. , and all the new details strengthen the suspicion that luck is largely defined by his lack of internal logic to maintain a story that relies heavily on explaining how it works.

Very young children may be entertained by the movie’s hyper-paced, and even by some of the more bizarre characters it passes along the way (it’s hard to go wrong when Flola Borg crosses a unicorn named Jeff), but the older ones will struggle with not having anything to hold on to. , and perhaps also with the feeling that they’ve seen a version of this story work better many times before. “Luck” is a terrible idea for a movie, poorly executed, and by someone who knew better. The best thing I can say about the end product is that, unlike most forms of bad luck, this product is very easy to avoid altogether.

Grade: D +

“Luck” will be available to stream on Apple TV+ beginning Friday, August 5.

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