To put it in measurable terms, early scores ahead of the film’s release include a 47% mark on Rotten Tomatoes and a 50 on Metacritic. Here’s what the critics are saying:
Carlos Aguilar gave a fairly favorable review for The Wrap:
Although Luck can’t reach the sophistication level of the best Pixar features, it stands as a far more accomplished effort from a technical standpoint and in the resonance of its story than the dime-a-dozen, talking-animal cash cows infested with vapid pop-culture references that have become the new standard in Hollywood animated releases.
Chief critic at The Telegraph, Robbie Collins, says the film hits where it counts:
Sparklingly directed by Peggy Holmes, a Lasseter protégée who served her time on two straight-to-video Tinker Bells, Luck contains all the warmth and ingenuity that was nowhere to be found in Pixar’s own recent Lightyear, and has the attitude – if not always the supreme clarity and craftsmanship – of his old studio’s vintage productions.
Amy Amatangelo at Paste, however, was less impressed:
The plot of Luck is far too dense and convoluted. I suspect the movie’s target audience won’t have the patience for it. Maybe they will be distracted by the sparkly crystals and funny unicorns. But at 106 minutes, the movie’s length and intricate plot will probably leave most kids slightly bored. (In my very unscientific study of two children, the movie kind of lost them at the midway point.)
Hoai-Tran Bui of Slashfilm placed the film against Ghibli and Pixar projects and was unimpressed:
Luck might be a fun time if it weren’t so clearly reminiscent of other, better movies. But apart from some genuinely stunning visuals (the design of the Land of Luck in particular is a beautiful piece of retrofuturism with a fantasy twist), Luck can’t help but feeling like a Ghibli film processed through a Pixar formula. The gentle whimsy and imaginative world of Ghibli is there, as is the Pixar tendency to cleverly turn high-concept ideas into mundane bureaucratic structures. It doesn’t help that its story and even some of its imagery is plainly inspired by Ghibli’s The Cat Returns, a 2002 fantasy film directed by Hiroyuki Morita that followed a teenage girl who finds herself invited to the fantastical land of cats. The funny thing is, Pixar has taken elements from Ghibli films before (Lasseter is a known fan of the Japanese animation studio), but recycled them in exciting and interesting ways – the Spirited Away influences in Coco and the ecstatic flight scene in Toy Story being just a couple. In Luck, those nods only feel like a halfhearted way to capture the magic of both Ghibli and Pixar.
David Ehrlich of Indiewire also drew comparisons to Ghibli and Pixar and felt that Luck came up short:
The magical world of Luck has none of the workaday creativeness that allowed Monsters, Inc. to tickle the imagination, none of the narrative integrity that allowed Inside Out to conflate characters with emotions, and none of the wonder that allowed the bathhouse in Spirited Away to seem like a real place that existed just out of sight. Credited to Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, and Kiel Murray, the film’s script isn’t arranged like a story so much as a parade of semi-related stimuli. Here are some bunnies in hazmat suits, there’s a dragon voiced by Jane Fonda, now Sam has to pretend that she’s Latvian (don’t ask). That building seems copy-pasted from Asgard, those two are connected by high-speed bumper cars, and all of them seem to be made out of plastic.