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Western Animation / Luck (2022)

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Ever wonder why some people get all the luck?
"You sure have bad luck, Sam Greenfield."

Luck is a 2022 animated fantasy film directed by Peggy Holmes and produced by John Lasseter. It is the first film out of Skydance Media’s newly formed Skydance Animation division. It premiered on Apple TV+ on August 5, 2022.

The story follows Sam Greenfield (voiced by Eva Noblezada), a perpetually unlucky girl who stumbles into the Land of Luck, a world of magical creatures responsible for the balance and management of good and bad luck across the world. Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, Flula Borg, Whoopi Goldberg, Lil Rel Howery, Colin O'Donoghue, and John Ratzenberger also provide voice work for the film.

Not to be confused with the TV series Luck (2011).

Previews: Teaser, 30 second spot, Trailer

Provides examples of:

  • Advertising by Association: The teaser poster makes a point that this film is “from the creative visionary behind Toy Story and Cars”, producer John Lasseternote .
  • Bittersweet Ending: With emphasis on the "sweet". The Land of Luck is fixed, with Babe and others in Good Luck now having a newfound respect for and connection with Bad Luck, as well as implications that Babe and Jeff have rekindled their relationship. Meanwhile, Sam has a new outlook on life, Hazel has a new family, and Bob chooses to stay with the two of them. The bitter part comes with it being shown Sam's luck remains as bad as ever, and she and Bob presumably never go back to the Land of Luck to see their friends.
  • Brick Joke: Near the start of the film, upon getting the keys for her new apartment, Sam drops them and they fall into the sewer. Near the end, when Sam is recounting some of her bad luck, she mentions this incident, and a goblin cheerfully remarks that he was the one who did that.
  • Cat Stereotype: Bob (a black cat) discusses the stereotype of black cats being unlucky, commenting that in Scotland, they are actually considered very lucky. It is eventually revealed, however, that Bob is an English black cat, which are unlucky. He happened upon a lucky penny and keeps it taped under his collar to masquerade as a good luck cat, right down to faking the accent.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The song Sam is performing for Hazel becomes a very crucial distraction later in the movie.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Sam and Bob use a button off her shoulder pack in place of a travel penny, reasoning they can grab a replacement from the penny factory before it winds up back in circulation. When Sam masquerades as a leprechaun and joins the others in cleaning pennies, the button winds up being dispensed to her and results in everything going wrong.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Sam (due to her bad luck). She lampshades this when she notices her bike has a flat tire.
    Sam: Okay. Okay, universe, think you're pretty tough?
  • Covered in Gunge: The plan to retrieve the lost penny from the human world is complicated by the fact that it wound up in a sewage treatment plant, and the bunny drone returns coated in a syrupy brown sludge. Gerry's understandable reluctance to handle the drone without gloves causes the vacuum disposal system in the return area to suck up the drone, penny and all.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The realm of Bad Luck is, at first glance, dark and foreboding, populated by roots and goblins who are responsible for creating bad luck for the human world. However, the roots and goblins turn out to be cheerful and friendly once Sam gets to know them. And even their creation of bad luck turns out to be a necessary function.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: The Randomizer breaks down and all seems lost. After Bob gives his speech to Sam, and after her happy cry, she remembers that she saw some good luck while she was at the bad luck side of the Land of Luck that can be used to fix the Randomizer.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The books on Sam's dresser reveal she is taking classes in business management. One year later, she is the manager of the store she started working for.
    • Bob runs from Sam using a series of highly improbable lucky breaks — traveling over a line of umbrellas, walking directly onto a passing bus, etc. — after losing his penny. After Sam follows him to the Land of Luck, he explains that the "travel penny" is so denizens of the Land of Luck can carry luck with them, which doesn't follow them naturally, as demonstrated by a cat that is injured almost immediately because he took Sam's button by mistake. Bob's ability to exploit luck in the absence of his penny thus demonstrates that he must still have one, which he reveals when the luck shuts down completely.
    • Simon Pegg is cast as Bob, a Scottish black cat, despite not actually being Scottish himself. Turns out, neither is Bob! He’s actually an English Black cat and bad luck instead of good luck as he claimed.
  • Good Luck Charm: Creatures from the Land of Luck need lucky “travel pennies” while in the human world, as their natural luck doesn’t travel with them. The plot kicks off when Sam finds Bob’s travel penny and then later loses it.
    • Hazel has a collection of good luck charms. The last one she needs is a lucky penny.
  • Graceful Landing, Clumsy Landing: One of the promos starts with Sam landing clumsily while Bob lands perfectly on his feet. It also happens in the film where Bob (due to being a lucky black cat) will have perfect landings while Sam doesn't. Later in the film, (when both go to Bad Luck to get the last bit of good luck left) it happens the other way around. Sam manages to land on her feet while Bob (who is actually an unlucky black cat) doesn't.
  • Gravity Screw: The good luck and bad luck sides of the Land of Luck each have gravity that pulls down from the center of their world, to the point that gravity pulls with equal strength on two sides of a floor that is in the exact center.
  • I Choose to Stay: After "eight lives" spent in Bad Luck and an unclear amount of time in Good Luck, at the very end, Bob elects to go to the human world with Sam rather than either of the other two.
  • Interspecies Romance: Jeff, a unicorn, is revealed to have had this with Babe, a dragon.
  • Misery Builds Character: Sam’s perpetual streak of bad luck, while keeping her from finding a family, had allowed her to grow into a resourceful, empathetic, and loyal individual. Bob points this out to her during the film’s Darkest Hour, and she in turn uses that lesson to talk down Babe from eliminating bad luck.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The official trailer makes it seem that the movie's plot involves Bob secretly giving Sam a lucky penny to change her luck, and after she loses it, follows Bob so she can get a new one for herself. In the actual film however, Bob accidentally dropped his penny (which is a travel penny), and Sam found it. Also, Sam didn't plan to keep the penny for herself. She planned to give it to Hazel so she'd have good luck and would get adopted. After Sam loses the penny, she follows him and makes a deal with Bob to get a new penny for him so he won't be banished for losing it, but only if she could borrow for Hazel before giving it back to him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sam gets the idea to shut down the bad luck pump so nothing but good luck will be sent into the world, reasoning they can leave it off for a couple hours to help her friend and then boot it back up later. It doesn't occur to either her or Bob that bad luck will continue to be generated, causing the pump to explode because her actions have clogged it.
  • No Antagonist: The film has no villain driving the plot. The most obstructive character is the Captain, who threatens to banish Bob to Bad Luck, but she's simply doing her job to find the missing lucky penny, and even with her admitted dislike of Bob, she lets him go once it's found and returned.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Bob tries to blend in with a bunch of Maneki Neko figurines in a store window, but Sam easily spots him because the figurines are all white.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Bad luck is initially seen as terrible, and both Babe and Sam muse that the world would be better off without it. When Sam and Bob travel down to the bad luck side of the Land of Luck there to get the last bit of good luck left, Sam learns that bad luck teaches people to pivot and adapt.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Babe the dragon, CEO of Good Luck, is an incredibly lucky creature with the ability to literally sniff out specks of bad luck. She also has six legs and lacks wings, resembling Eastern dragons more than Western depictions. Which kinda makes sense since Asian dragons are considered bringers of good fortune.
  • Post Modern Magic: The Land of Luck is a magical world filled with fantastical creatures responsible for the management of good and back luck, manifested as magical crystals. Of course, they use mechanical gadgetry and modern technology like drones and computers to do all of this.
  • Product Placement: The film's first few minutes are filled with a significant number of Apple products, including Sam's cell phone and computer.
  • The Sacred Darkness: The thesis of this movie is that bad luck is just as vital as good luck, allowing people to pivot and adapt. Babe trying to get rid of it altogether is treated as a cosmic violation.
  • Tears of Joy: Sam starts crying after Bob's You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech. Bob tells her that he didn't mean to make her cry, but Sam reassures him that it's a happy cry.
    Bob: Humans...are so weird.
    • Sam sheds a happy tear later when she sees on the Mission Control monitor that a couple have come to pick up Hazel. The same couple are later shown to have adopted Hazel.
  • Tempting Fate: In the trailer, Bob comments that a big reason the Land of Luck runs so smoothly is because humans have never set foot in it, and “with a little bit of luck, never will.” Enter Sam. A human girl.
    • In the actual movie, Sam and Bob both say "What could go wrong?" with full sincerity before enacting a plan. Sure enough, the plan either fails or has unforeseen consequences.
  • Time Skip: The ending is set one year after Sam's adventure in the Land of Luck.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: At the end of the movie, Hazel, her adoptive parents, and their pet dog aren't surprised that Sam's pet cat talks! It's actually because Sam has presumably told them earlier about her adventure. Although a bystander from the previous scene was disconcerted to see Bob using a smartphone to send text messages.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Bob is piloting the bunny drone to retrieve his lost penny, the tracking screen comes up on the main monitors. To keep the bunnies from noticing, Sam starts singing and dancing so the bunnies will join in, allowing Bob to finish up.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Near the end of the film, Babe is revealed to be this. She wants the best for the people of the world, and because of her own experience, she can't see some of the positive outcomes of bad luck. When given the opportunity, she attempts to make the Randomizer send only good luck to Earth, eliminating bad luck.
  • Wild Card Excuse: Bob passes off Sam as a Latvian leprechaun to explain why she's five times taller than any normal leprechaun. Everyone buys it without question.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Lucky pennies from the Land of Luck grant whoever is holding them improbably good luck. Unfortunately, that only works when the penny is kept on them. Sam stumbles upon Bob's penny, only to lose it because she sets it down and her bad luck kicks in, sending it into an automatic toilet.
  • X Days Since: The end of the trailer displays a sign displaying that the company has had 9,999,999,999 lucky days in a row. With Sam’s arrival, the sign is reset to zero.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Sam goes through a Heroic BSoD when her attempt at sending only good luck to the Human World caused the bad luck pump to explode, which sent only bad luck to the Randomizer, caused it to shut down, and took away Hazel's guaranteed chance to get adopted. Bob manages to get Sam out of it with this kind of speech. He tells her that even though she has bad luck, she's a good person because she's selfless, wants good things for others, and that Hazel is the luckiest girl in the world because she has Sam as her friend.
  • You Can Talk?: Sam has this reaction when Bob talks in front of her (even though he wasn't supposed to).
    Bob: You flushed my penny down the toilet?!!
    Sam: You just...talked.
  • You Didn't Ask: Said twice. Both times Sam brings up that Bob told her not to ask questions.
    Sam: Why didn't you tell me Bad Luck's where you'll be banished, Bob?
    Bob: You never asked.
    Sam: Because you said no more questions.
    • Later:
      Bob: Why didn't you tell me you could sing?
      Sam: You never asked. No questions, remember?
      Bob: Right. Because we don't need to get to know each other.

Alternative Title(s): Luck