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Comeback of animation film pioneer John Lasseter with "Luck" on Apple TV +: world, let yourself be hugged!


Animated film pioneer John Lasseter has been forced to leave after #MeToo allegations at Pixar and Disney. Now he's back as a producer on the film Luck, which is running on Apple TV+. One recognizes the handwriting of the master.

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Scene from »Luck«: girl and cat in the land of happiness

Photo: AppleTV

"From the visionary behind 'Toy Story' and 'Cars'," says the trailer for "Luck," the first feature film by Skydance Media's animation department, which is now showing on Apple TV+.

»Luck« is therefore deliberately marketed as the comeback of John Lasseter, the man who is referred to as the »father of modern animation cinema« because of his commercial and artistic triumphs at Pixar, and who even managed to get Walt Disney's animation studio back on track To lead successes like »The Ice Queen«.

But John Lasseter fell in November 2017 in the course of the #MeToo movement over his behavior towards women.

After allegations of inappropriate touching became loud, Lasseter first went on a six-month sabbatical and finally left the Walt Disney Group completely.

In January 2019, Lasseter's new job was announced.

He will head the fledgling animation department of Skydance, the production studio of David Ellison, son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Skydance produced the »Mission: Impossible« films and most recently »Top Gun Maverick«, among other things, but animated film is new territory there.

Building a new studio with tech money in the background: That had to lure Lasseter, as it was reminiscent of the legendary beginnings of Pixar, which was financed at the time by Apple founder Steve Jobs, among others.

John Lasseter's past at Disney says he had a team of lawyers research Skydance.

Result: The man is employable.

For example, there were no comparable payments.

It is undisputed that no one accuses Lasseter of crimes on the scale of Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of rape and sexual assault.

But in press articles there was talk of "grabbing, kissing and comments about physical features" and that the corporate culture under him was not conducive to women.

In any case, the image of the Hawaiian shirt-wearing creative who always hugs everyone was damaged - not every hug from the boss was desired and appropriate.

ideological edification

The first major project at Skydance Animation that Lasseter is responsible for is »Luck«, a film about a girl who is always unlucky and accidentally finds out about another world where happiness and unhappiness are made.

As one of his first official acts, he exchanged those responsible for direction and screenplay.

Director Peggy Holmes had staged two Disney fairy films under his supervision, screenwriter Kiel Murray was part of the team of authors of Lasseter's Pixar hit "Cars" - two women in prominent positions, that was certainly meant as a statement after the actress Emma Thompson started her collaboration »Luck« had resigned because of Lasseter's commitment.

Film characters in »Luck« also occasionally evoke female cohesion.

The boss of the happiness factory - a dragon named Babe, voiced by Jane Fonda in the original version - says to the human protagonist Sam: "We tall women should stick together" and regretfully notes that many creatures are intimidated by tall women.

But mostly in "Luck" there is philosophizing about good and bad luck, in a somewhat obtrusive way the progress of the plot is summarized and perhaps a moral of the film is sought: Both sides of the coin are mutually dependent.

Division, even for the best of motives, is harmful.

Togetherness is important.

Things like that, well.

But you don't watch funny animated films primarily for ideological edification.

And especially the first quarter of an hour, in which Sam is introduced as the eternal unlucky fellow, is outstanding in terms of its tempo, its visual punch lines, its attention to detail.

How a toast with jam is spelled out as a symbol of good and bad luck.

How a garden center, a convoy of recumbent cyclists and a parcel carrier signal our presence.

Here you can already see the handwriting of the master from the Pixar days.

Later, Sam accidentally stumbles onto the planet where happiness and misfortune are produced.

Both sides of this world are very lovingly imagined.

The color green predominates in the lucky half, here bunnies, lucky pigs and Irish leprechauns work with the help of four-leaf clovers and lucky pennies to produce luck with dreamlike certainty - at least as long as the unlucky Sam doesn't get in their way.

Letting his people do extensive research is considered a trademark of Lasseter's work - here lucky symbols from all over the world were brought together and, among other things, it was found that black cats are considered lucky charms, at least in Scotland.

But misfortune and misfortune are merrier;

The silent filmmakers already knew that, letting their tragic black-and-white heroes slip on banana skins.

In »Luck«, too, the dark half, in which bad luck is produced, offers more slapstick and more laughter.

Just having the various research departments dreaming up dog poop accidents is a wonderful idea.

»Well, I love hugs«

The fact that the many amusing details still don't result in a really all-round happy film has to do with the fact that he doesn't heed one of his philosophical lessons himself.

Black tomcat Bob advises the unhappy Sam not to try so hard.

Happiness comes by itself. But the debut of the new studio doesn't seem that effortless, you can feel the effort of wanting to do things right in every nook and corner.

It is all the stranger how the elephant is handled in the room: of all things, the hug that John Lasseter stumbled across at Disney is incorporated as a motif.

Sam starts off by explaining to another orphan how much she loves hugs.

"I know," she replies.

Could this be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference, things get stranger when, halfway through the film, Sam says to Bob the cat, "I could hug you," and Bob replies, "Cats aren't great huggers," to which Sam defiantly insists, "Well , I love hugs«.

Instead, toward the end of the film, it's Bob who brings himself to hug.

Hugging as a symbol of solidarity: In any other context, that would be a completely harmless thing.

With John Lasseter's background and the knowledge of how closely he usually controls his productions, there is an undesirable aftertaste here.

»Luck«, starting Friday, August 5th on Apple TV+

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-08-05

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