The addition of streaming options for newer animated films has only added to the breadth of variety, ideas, and fascinating filmmakers swirling around projects. Obviously, they cannot possibly all be winners. Too frequently, companies cater to the mindset of very young children as opposed to trying to reach a wider audience through the injection of mature humor or adult-comparable topics. Apple TV’s lushly-animated Luck falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. It lacks the grit and excitement that teens may crave, but it does contain a cute cat and stripped-down morals about good luck versus bad luck.
Sam has just turned eighteen, so the time has finally come for her to age out of the orphanage system. Sam has been to so many homes over the years—sadly, she never found someone to adopt her that would become her “forever family.” At Sam’s latest destination, the Summerland Home for Girls, she befriends a young luck-obsessed child named Hazel. She has become forever bonded with Hazel, fully invested in the young girl’s journey to find a family that will truly love her. Hazel makes Sam promise to keep an eye out for a lucky penny; potentially, this penny could be the last bit of luck that Hazel needs to finally find a way out. The system helps with housing at least; for Sam, she will need to continue her online classes and work full-time at Flowers & More to maintain her place.
There is just one major problem: Sam has some of the worst luck ever. Whether it be a flat tire on her bike, a leaf blower blasting leaves into her new apartment, or even something as trivial as a proper pair of matching socks, Sam simply cannot seem to win. When Sam comes upon a cute black cat and feeds it a portion of her sandwich, it leaves behind a lucky penny that immediately changes things. Suddenly, Sam’s luck appears unstoppable. Sam is determined to bring this penny by the orphanage, but accidentally flushes it down the toilet. Confronting the cat, he shockingly talks in a Scottish accent! Sam pursues him until he opens up a clover-shaped portal in an alleyway, and decides to follow along for the ride.
Now, Sam has been transported into the Land of Luck, a bustling community whose only purpose appears to be providing humans with both good and bad luck. Think: Santa’s Worshop, but for luck. Giant pigs, energetic leprechauns, lucky dust, a tall pink dragon named Babe, and disc-based transportation… the Land of Luck has it all! The colorful, magical world here is cute, but I wish it had an even greater dosage of the fantastical to power along some of the slower bits. What unfolds next is a situation that could be mutually beneficial to both parties. Bob the cat must get a new lucky travel penny lest he be banished to the bad luck underground; Sam seeks a fresh penny to take back to Hazel just for one day to help her find new parents.
Luck ultimately doesn’t do a whole lot with its premise, keeping the stakes relatively small-scale for the most part. There isn’t a dastardly villain out for world domination, nor does the viewer ever operate under the assumption that Sam will not escape from her wildly unusual situation. Director Peggy Holmes (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning) finds luck of her own in depicting Sam’s cute and light-hearted story. More than anything else, Luck places emphasis on chosen family, supercharging the relationship between Sam and Hazel. Bob may steal the show, but Luck is really too surface-level to leave much of a lasting impression.
Luck transports viewers to the Land of Luck when it debuts exclusively to Apple TV+ on Friday, August 5th.