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Apple TV’s Luck is the Unluckiest Movie of 2022

Skydance Animation could not have had a worse debut

Courtesy of Apple TV+

When you think of the best animated movies of all time, films like Toy Story, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Inside Out, and Spirited Away come to mind. These movies all contain stellar voice work and vibrant animation, but they share one critical quality: ingenious worldbuilding. This aspect puts them in the elite tier of animated movies. Films that can’t build an exciting world fall into the average category (think Sing, Madagascar, and Rio). After this group, it gets scary. These are some of the worst movies—not just animated—of all time. We’re in The Emoji Movie and Alvin and the Chipmunks territory. Apple TV+ and brand-new studio Skydance Animation’s Luck doesn’t come close to the top tier of animated movies. It completely misses out on the middle tier as well. 

Luck is one of the worst animated movies released in the last ten years and is in the running for the worst movie of 2022. 

Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada) is the world’s unluckiest person. Not only does she make clumsy mistakes on top of clumsy mistakes, but her bad luck is also the reason why she can’t get adopted from her foster home (and why other children can’t find “forever families”). One day, Sam encounters a black cat, Bob (Simon Pegg), who drops a penny. That penny magically gives her good luck and, in a shocking turn of events, she manages to lose the penny. Sam discovers Bob is from the magical land of Luck and must go with him to get another penny to help her foster friend Hazel (Adelynn Spoon) adopted. 

Sam (Eva Noblezada) meets Bob (Simon Pegg) for the first time.
Sam (Eva Noblezada) meets Bob (Simon Pegg) for the first time.

This movie ultimately fails on the fact that the Luck Land (Land of Luck? Luck World?) is one of the most banal, soulless worlds created. There isn’t a single ounce of heart or intelligence in this universe. The story by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, and Kiel Murray (who also wrote the screenplay) is devoid of wit or emotion and will fail at entertaining any child, let alone the average moviegoer. 

Once we reach the Luck world, the film adds in different inventions with lazily written names in an attempt to make this journey palatable. The land in between the Good Luck and Bad Luck world is called “The In-Between” and the device that randomizes good luck and bad luck particles is called “The Randomizer.” Let’s not even get started on the penny storage facility being called “Penny Depot.” The lack of effort in the writing is baffling and jumps off the screen, unlike the animation.

Luck doesn’t even have a fraction of the stunning animation from the Disney-Pixar movies it’s attempting to rip off. There’s a ton of green and purple to symbolize good and bad luck, respectively. Unfortunately, none of it strikes the eye. The character design is inspired by Pixar movies, but the dialogue delivery isn’t natural and veers into the Uncanny Valley. In fact, there are moments when the characters are supposed to be delivering a line and their faces don’t move. It’s unnatural and feels like something you would find in The Polar Express.

It’s hard to judge the voice cast when they’re giving next to nothing to work with. Noblezada is fairly new to movies (she’s one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for a Tony) and does her best to imbue Sam with vivacity. The writing lets her down since Sam has no personality except for being unlucky. Noblezada deserves another shot voicing an animated character, one with more depth hopefully. The writers try to give Sam some layers with her arc as a foster child who fails to find a family. What could’ve been a poignant part of the movie is instead gratuitous. Pixar movies are well known for their sad and emotionally manipulative moments—most of the time it works to the desired effect. Director Peggy Holmes can’t seamlessly incorporate emotion into the narrative. These “weighty” moments feel like a cheap way to get a few tears from the audience. 

Sam and Bob look upon the wonders of Good Luck in awe.
Sam and Bob arrive in Good Luck.

The rest of the voice cast—Pegg, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Lil Rel Howery—fail to leave a substantial impact. 

It must be noted that John Lasseter, former ousted executive of Pixar, serves as a producer on Luck. He heads the newly founded Skydance Animation after leaving Pixar under the cloud of sexual misconduct allegations. His involvement only adds more bad luck to the film and none of the magic from the early Pixar movies makes its way here. Emma Thompson was reportedly set to voice a character and left once Lasseter was hired. All of this begs the question, at what point did a studio think this abomination is worth a $140 million investment? 

From its inception to its making to the final product, Luck is an inauspicious film. Apple TV+ may have gotten some good luck with CODA, but there’s only bad luck in the future with Luck.

Written by Aqib Rasheed

AQIB RASHEED is a staff writer at Film Obsessive. Member of the Chicago Indie Critics and served as the Resident Film Critic for the Loyola Phoenix from 2021-2022. An admirer of movies, old and new, from all over the world. President of the Al Pacino and David Fincher fan clubs.

One Comment

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  1. I think your review is way off.
    I just watched Luck with my wife and daughter and found it to be a very good movie. It had emotion, was funny, voice over was good. I would recommend the movie.
    Maybe your bad review is because of John Lassiter involvement in the movie or simple wasn’t your kind of animation movie.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but your review is not accurate at all.

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