Australian Council on Children and the Media

Luis and the Aliens

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance 5 to 7, due to scary scenes and themes. Likely to lack interest for older children.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Luis and the Aliens
  • a review of Luis and the Aliens completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 September 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes and themes
Children aged 5 to 7 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and themes
Children aged 7 and over OK for this age group although it lacks interest for older viewers.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Luis and the Aliens
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild science fiction violence, some scary scenes
Length 86 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Eleven-year-old Luis (voiced by Callum Maloney) is a lonely and neglected boy, whose ‘crackpot’ father, Armin (voiced by Dermot Magennis), is too busy searching for intelligent life in space to pay attention to him.  When three mischievous little aliens, Wabo, Mog, and Nag, (voiced by Dermot Magennis, Ian Coppinger, and Paul Tylak, respectively) crash land in his yard searching for an item they saw on an infomercial, Luis offers to help them find it and get them back to their mother ship.  In return, the aliens help Luis trick his principal (voiced by Simon Toal) and the creepy child-protection lady (voiced by Aileen Mythen) into letting him stay with his father.  All is not what it seems however, and aliens may already be living amongst them!

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Child neglect and loneliness; forced separation of child from parent; death of a parent; alien and science fiction themes; bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Aliens slap and punch each other on numerous occasions in a slapstick and comical manner – this occurs after almost every disagreement or problem that arises in the story
  • Luis is bullied by three older boys, and he lunges at them in order to fight – they restrain him
  • Luis’s father punches and kicks his neighbour in the stomach multiple times to prove he is an alien – this is comical
  • A freeze ray gun is brandished at both aliens and children numerous times throughout the film. Its effects are temporary and no serious consequences are shown from using it.
  • There is car chase involving the adults and the children, and the female antagonist rear-ends the children’s car, running her own of the road – nobody is hurt in either vehicle.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The main aliens (while cute) transform into people and other animals after eating their hair – this may disturb young children
  • The female antagonist transforms from a human into a frightening dragon-like alien during the film’s climax – this transformation is visually disturbing and will most likely disturb young children (it also involves some slightly disgusting sound effects)
  • The female antagonist is very frightening in appearance and appears out of nowhere quite suddenly on two occasions – these jump scares may frighten younger children 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • We hear that Luis’ mother died before the events of this film
  • The main through-line of this film relates to Luis being neglected by his father, and adults trying to forcibly remove him into the custody of the state
  • Younger children in this age group may also find the climax of the film frightening due to loud noises and frightening visual imagery

 

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cola
  • Converse
  • Smartphones – While unbranded, they are clearly iPhones

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • One of the male aliens frequently flirts with both female aliens and people – these jokes will most likely be missed by children, but may subtly contribute to an objectifying attitude toward female characters
  • There are a number of somewhat crude jokes and visual gags on the part of the main aliens (most of which would be missed by children), including: An alien disguised as a female looks down his shirt to confirm there are breasts; an alien looks down the pants of a sleeping adult male to confirm he is male; a subtle reference to wanting to touch a female characters breasts (“lovely dovelies”).
  • The aliens worry that they will be ‘probed’ by the humans if they are found

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Luis’s father suggests that his neighbour may be a drinker

Coarse language

There is some language that children may imitate, including:

  • ‘Freak’ is graffitied on the front of Luis’ house
  • dweeb; jerk; loser; butthead; nerd boy; idiot; shut up

In a nutshell

Luis and the Aliens is an American redub of a German animated children’s comedy that is likely to entertain younger children. However scary scenes, including physical transformations, may be distressing for children under 5, and the constant threat to Luis of separation from his father may also be disturbing for young children, so parental guidance is recommended for the 5 to 7 age group. Older children and adult viewers are likely to find the film slow and predictable, lacking the quality storytelling that can make children’s films enjoyable for all ages. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • getting to know someone before you judge them
  • treating everyone fairly and with respect
  • standing up to bullies

Parents may also wish to discuss:

  • neglect of children and the real role of child-protection agencies
  • joyriding (particularly by children)
  • the real-life dangers of drinking dishwashing liquid, which is consumed by an alien who comically burps out bubbles for the remainder of the film
  • the dangers of riding a bike without a helmet, and riding it on the road
  • the safety precautions children need to take when using ovens and stoves

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