Luck Movie Review: A Promising Start for Skydance

Luck released on Apple TV+ and in select theaters on August 5th of this year. The reviews have been mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critic score is 49% and the audience score is 68%. That’s similar to what IMDB shows. Those scores don’t measure up to movies like Frozen, Despicable Me, or Inside Out. But I keep hearing from critics that the movie is bad, and that’s just not the case. It’s pulling in an audience, and the audience is enjoying it. Take a look at how its done compared to a few other movies before we get into the Luck movie review.

MovieRotten Tomatoes
Audience Score
Cars 249
Despicable Me 353
The Land Before Time 1462
Tron: Legacy63
The Good Dinosaur65
Ralph Breaks the Internet65
Cars 369
Shrek 269

Let’s be clear about what these numbers mean – Luck is comparable to well received movies like Trolls and Shrek 2. While Twilight is far from the best movie, it was good enough for the film saga to continue, including splitting the last book into two movies. And Luck almost tied with it. Several of these were low performers compared to others in their franchises (like Cars and Despicable Me), but the sequels and spinoffs have continued after both.

Take a close look at Cars 2, Despicable Me 3, and Tron: Legacy. Luck beat out all three of them, and they are all successful enough to inspire popular theme park attractions! Cars Land was one of the tent poles of the successful California Adventure redo that completed in 2012. Despicable Me has transformed an entire area at Universal Studios. And Tron: Light Cycle run has been one of the most popular attractions from Shanghai Disneyland, with its clone expected to open in the Magic Kingdom some time in the next year.

What that means is that Luck is popular enough to justify sequels, spinoffs, and theme park rides.

But… Does that mean it’s good?

I don’t mean to say that Luck is the best movie I’ve ever seen. My point is just that it’s not the waste of time that critics are saying it is. I’ve seen several critics say that the story is impossible to follow, and that children wouldn’t understand it. For the record, my young kids had no problem following the story. In fact, they loved it. We finished the movie, and they asked if we could watch again. They started asking to listen to the soundtrack.

Personally, I was shocked when the critics’ Luck movie reviews were sounding so negative. With the experienced production, directing, story, and music teams, I was expecting great things from the movie. Skydance has been gobbling up animation talent from other studios, and they seemed poised for a hit. So I was skeptical of the reviews.

The Good Luck

From the beginning of the movie, the protagonist’s (Sam’s) goal is clear. Because of her bad luck, she was never adopted and spent her whole life in an orphanage. Looking back, she remembers how much it hurt to not have a “forever family.” She wants to help her best friend avoid that same pain.

The movie doesn’t try to be more than it is. Sam doesn’t set out on a quest to show the world that everyone needs some help to find luck. Through the movie, her goal is simply to help her best friend. This allows the themes of the movie to come through more naturally. Nothing feels forced.

The cartoon antics and the bad luck montages are fun. I was laughing out loud. They weren’t drawn out unnecessarily. But at times, they’d hit me with something extra and unexpected. It was fun to watch Sam try to grapple with the bad luck. Contrast this with the Mr. Mom story of Incredibles 2. Watching Bob struggle with Jack Jack was drawn out too much for me. The pacing for these antics was quicker, and I liked it.

The story, as a whole, follows that same pattern. There were a few points that the movie seemed close to its end, but it takes a turn and continues. It kept the movie moving. By the end, you could distinguish the last bit of falling action. And as you see some of the good luck unfold for Sam, you can’t help but cheer for her and hope she succeeds.

I loved the score for the movie. The musical themes were peaceful and sweet. The score gave me a sense of relaxing calm. Just about the only other score I can think of that gives me the same feeling is Finding Nemo.

The message for the movie was great. Everyone needs both good and bad luck. The variety and balance help us be happy. Opposites – like good and evil, or pleasure and pain – are important. The negative experiences make the positive ones sweeter and more fulfilling. Seeing that theme play out in a kids cartoon was a fresh take on a theme.

The Bad Luck

There were some issues in the movie. While the story moved, it sometimes felt choppy. The story segments didn’t flow together, and all of the callbacks went to the beginning of the movie. This made it feel like “this happened, then that happened, then this happened, then that happened…”

The animation itself felt awkward at times. Some motions were stiff and mechanical. This was especially noticeable during the dance numbers. The movement was simple, and some the characters neutral poses looked uncomfortable. The characters also looked like they were lip-syncing; it just didn’t quite match with the dialog. It was much more obvious at the beginning of the movie, but after the first 15 minutes, I stopped noticing. But if I looked for it, I could still see it.

Luck Movie Review

So how do we end the Luck movie review? I give it a 7 out of 10, lining up with the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not one of the best animated movies we’ve seen. However, it is a fun movie. It’s a sweet story with a character we can root for. It’s definitely worth a second watch. If it were available on DVD/Blu-Ray, I’d be adding it to my collection. And if we get lucky, Skydance and Apple might just find a theme park to build us a ride some day.

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