Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein’s feature debut stars a school kid with some strange new friends.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Lauensteins won an Oscar for their animated short film Balance. Now they return with their debut feature, a cartoon kid-flick so ordinary it’d be unlikely to win awards at a third-tier film fest.
Luis and the Aliens introduces a neglected boy to life from other planets, gets him in hot water with authority figures and then teaches him some life lessons.
Though peppy and bright enough that it might amuse some kids, it offers no reason for their adult guardians to actually take them someplace to watch it.
As the biggest name by far in the voice cast, one might expect Will Forte to be playing the eponymous Luis. As it happens, he’s oddly cast as just one of the trio of aliens who visit Luis Sonntag (voiced by Callum Maloney).
Luis is the son of an absent-minded scientist obsessed with proving that evil aliens have designs on Earth. Luis’ mother died long ago, so the kid is forced to be the adult in the house, cooking and tidying up while Dad looks through his telescope.
Dad is right about mean aliens, but those aren’t the first ones Luis encounters: He meets a trio of generically blobby.
The film’s animation moves clumsily, its character design is dull and some performances feel like they were hastily recorded while taking a coffee break from some better-paying recording session.