luis and the aliens
DIRECTOR: the Lauenstein brothers (debut)
STARRING: voices of chloe lee constantin, franciska friede, lea thompson, and will forte
REVIEWER: hadassah devis
A 12-year-old boy embarks on a wild quest to help three tiny extraterrestrials return to their huge mother ship.
Eleven year old Luis and his three new alien friends face off against crazy neighbors, a scary orphanage owner, and Luis' extraterrestrial obsessed, freeze-gun-wielding father as they race to make it to a pick up by the alien's mothership.
Luis and the Aliens has plenty of laughs for the kids - most of which involves burping sound effects or references to poop-heads - as well as one or two slightly more advanced giggles for the adults.
As far as visual design and animation goes, the movie does hold its own. The settings in particular were done very well. From Luis' dingy, knickknack filled house to his neighbour's pristine, not-an-orchid-petal-out-of-place home, to the isolated mountain top for the climax of the movie, the creators have done a fantastic job of creating spaces that embody the mood of each scene.
But put it up against almost any other kids animation that has come out over the past few years and it doesn’t compare. I think a huge part of this is that kids are smarter than Luis and the Aliens gives them credit for. While they may laugh at the potty humour and silly sound effects, movies like Coco have done so well because they offer more than just slap stick humour and colourful companions, and unfortunately that raw substance is what this movie lacks. It put on an attempt at an emotional story between neglected Luis and his selfish father but because of both predictability and lack of development this falls flat.
While Luis and the Aliens would make a fun holiday flick (you know, if you, as parent, need some quiet time), it does feel a little un-inspired and ordinary.