Review: Apple TV’s ‘Luck’ is a Kid Adventure Movie with Heart

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Apple TV’s Luck is a visually stunning film that is alive with details in both art and story. It’s a hilarious family adventure movie full of exciting, imaginative twists and satisfying emotional beats. It’s the first full-length animated movie to come out of the partnership between Apple and Skydance Animation, and it’s a winner.

[Warning: There are some mild spoilers ahead from Apple TV’s Luck.]

As Apple TV’s Luck would have it

Luck is an original story that follows the journey of Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada), a young woman with the worst luck in the world. She’s ages out of the foster system and the Summerland Home for Girls.

Sam still has a close relationship with her younger friend, Hazel Murphy (Adelynn Spoon.) She wants very much for Hazel to have some good luck and find her forever family. One day, in the act of kindness, Sam shares a meal with a down-in-the-dumps black cat named Bob the Cat (Simon Pegg) and ends up with a lucky penny. Sam’s world shifts, and she’s suddenly lucky, but because she has a big heart, she wants Hazel to have the penny.

Lucky Bob and Sam
Bob (Simon Pegg) and Sam (Eva Noblezada) share a snack in Luck. (Courtesy of Apple TV+/Skydance)

Because Sam is the unluckiest woman in the world, she loses the lucky penny to an Auto-Flush 9000 toilet before she can give it to Hazel. Sam recounts her situation to Bob and discovers that he can talk and that he was behind her getting the lucky penny. Panicking, Bob escapes to an alleyway where he opens up a clover-shaped and very Dr. Strange-esque portal to the Land of Luck when he thinks the coast is clear. But Sam sees him and the portal and jumps in so she can get a new lucky penny and ultimately help Hazel. Her selfless decision takes her to a world that humans are not allowed to know of, let alone visit.

Bob and Sam are an unlikely and funny pair as they adventure through the Land of Luck in search of the penny and ultimately some Luck. They encounter numerous whimsical, magical creatures, including a Dragon (Jane Fonda), a Captain (Whoopi Goldberg), and a leprechaun named Gerry (Colin O’Donoghue.)

Bob, Sam, and Gerry go on a journey that takes them through the worlds of both good and bad luck, where they ultimately discover there’s something more important than luck. The ending is emotional and sweet.

Land of Luck
Courtesy of Apple TV+/Skydance

And Luck wouldn’t be a John Lasseter film without the voice of John Ratzenberger. The actor, who has lent his voice to hundreds of iconic characters over the years, is Rootie, a happy-go-lucky bartender and “mayor” of the land of Bad Luck.

Peggy Holmes, who directed The Pirate Fairy for Disney in 2014, helmed Luck. And screenwriter Kiel Murray wrote the script.

Animation, story, and voice talent and the Land of Luck

There is nothing that doesn’t land right in this film or is a miss. Luck is that rare perfect combination of remarkable animation, story, and voice talent, all working together seamlessly to offer a great experience. It’s refreshing, fun, and clever.

This is all even more impressive when you know that part of the movie was done remotely due to COVID-19. Watching Luck doesn’t feel like you’re watching a movie, but instead like you’re on a journey with Sam, Bob, and the others. The experience is immersive.

Apple TV's Luck
Courtesy of Apple TV+/Skydance

Most of the adventure in this film takes place in a mythical world called the Land of Luck. The top of the Land of Luck is where good luck is made, and the bottom is where bad luck is made. They’re yin and yang, and in Luck, ultimately, we find out that we need a little of both to be whole in life. The Land of Luck looks like a place you’d want to visit and experience for yourself. It’s built on the idea that the things we think are happenstance are directly engineered by luck.

Ratings and a powerful message from Luck

Parents will be pleased to know that this movie is appropriate for young children. It’s rated G in the truest sense. Sometimes animated movies skirt the line with references adults get, but that fly over kids’ heads. Luck doesn’t do this. There’s mild poop humor relating to bad luck, but that’s it. And again, if you have young kids, this will probably be hilarious to them.

There are numerous powerful and uplifting messages seamlessly weaved into the story. Overall, Luck is wholesome. Sam’s attitude at the start of the film exemplifies this message. She has endless bad luck and blames it for her misfortunes. But despite that, Sam keeps going and persevering. She doesn’t give up when faced with adversity. Sam actively tries to do good and be good – from helping Bob the cat in a move that kick-starts her journey in the film to Sam trying to make sure her young friend Hazel finds her forever family.

The true test of a kids’ movie 

I was fortunate enough to screen this movie with my young child. If you have young children, you know that one of the ways you can tell if a film was interesting to them is if they ask you to watch it again, and again… and again. (The fact that the Paw Patrol movie is one of the most streamed titles on Paramount+ should be no surprise to parents.) Luck has passed that test with flying colors. It’s been requested several times since we originally watched it.

Apple TV's Luck
The Dragon (voiced by Jane Fonda) and Sam Greenfield (voiced by Eva Noblezada) in Luck. Courtesy of Apple TV+/Skydance

It’s also inspired a ton of Sam the cat artwork in my house. And I’m confident that when merchandise is available to buy, we’ll be picking some up. So kudos to the Luck team for creating a really appealing character and a world that’s inspiring to children. 

Details that inspire joy and final thoughts on Apple TV’s Luck

It’s clear from the little details of the film that significant research went into crafting the world. I will use the movie’s opening credits as an example. They’re a colorful journey through good luck symbols and talismans from worldwide cultures, set to a version of Madonna’s song “Lucky Star.” It’s hard not to be happy watching this sequence.

Luck was lovely and a ton of fun. I’m even more excited about Apple TV+’s venture into animated streaming movies because this was handled so well. The film was a delight and an excellent choice for a family movie night. You can watch Luck starting Friday, August 5th, on Apple TV+. It runs for 1 hr and 46 minutes and is worth your time.

Are you looking for more animated reviews? Check out our recent thoughts about Netflix’s Sea Beast, or DC’s Super Pets.

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