Over the weekend, my girls and I watched Apple’s new animated movie, “Luck,” an original film produced by Skydance Animation. It features the young character, Samantha Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. One day, Sam came upon a lucky penny that changed her world forever. Through several events, Sam loses the lucky penny and finds herself following a mysterious black cat into a portal to the Land of Luck. After arriving at the Land of Luck, Sam discovers that there is not only a land of luck but also a land of bad luck. The Land of Bad Luck is the mirror image of the Land of Good Luck — the upside-down world of luck.
The movie “Luck” echoes the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of yin and yang. Yin and yang described opposite forces that are interconnected. Furthermore, the movie also seems to apply dualism to bad luck and good luck (that is, that the universe is controlled by two opposing forces, one good and the other evil). And so, to help the human world handle the pitfalls of bad luck, the characters in the Land of Luck use magic crystals to create good luck. Once created, they distribute good luck to the human world. Furthermore, the characters in the Land of Luck put bad and good luck through a randomizing machine to distribute both randomly to ensure that no one person in the human world receives too much bad luck. In the end, the magical characters of the Land of Luck are good because they create and distribute good luck so the human existence can be a little more bearable.
While the characters in the movie are likable and fun, the plot and themes are rather confusing. While it makes sense to the viewer that bad luck and good luck are opposites, the movie becomes a bit disjointed when it portrays the characters of the Land of Bad Luck as good, and the characters of the Land of Good Luck as bad. In other words, it creates a dualism of good and bad, only to invert good and bad later in the movie. In the end, the plot blends good and bad together, thus confusing the yin-yang dualism that it originally established.
Christians acknowledge the difference between good and evil — light and dark. However, the Scriptures do not describe the world in terms of yin and yang or dualism. For the Christian, the world and all things were created “good” in the beginning by God. Furthermore, sin is not created as a dualistic opposite of good. In other words, sin is not the yin to the yang of goodness.
The belief of a yin and yang dualism creates two equal worlds that function independently and are opposite to each other: one world is good and one bad. If this were the case, Christians would have to ascribe more power to the devil and sin than the Scriptures do. The devil can never create anything good, beautiful or true, and sin is not an independent opposite of goodness but the perversion of goodness. Sin is like a disease; it is the corruption of good. It is the absence of righteousness, as darkness is the absence of light. If sin and the devil were the dualistic opposite of God and righteousness, then the devil and sin would have a power equal and opposite to God. But again, the devil, his cohorts and sin are not independent and equal alternatives to God; instead, they are the corruption of all that is good.
I believe the words of my seven-year-old daughter capture my overall impressions of “Luck”: “Daddy, it is a fun movie, but it doesn’t make sense.” Indeed, there were many funny portions of the movie and some lovable characters. Still, in the end, there were way too many philosophical assertions, twists and developments for a simple animated movie. To establish a dualism, invert the dualism, and then blend the dualism together is too big of a feat for an animated children’s movie. While the movie might have been fun, parents should take care lest the underlying assumptions confuse the little Christians in their care.
Graphic: Promotional poster.