Inspector Sun is directed by Julio Soto Gurpide, and the English dub, which has been released locally, stars Ronnie Chieng as a spider who is also a detective on an air cruiser and who must solve the mystery of a murdered passenger.

It is entirely possible that the original Spanish language version of Inspector Sun solves most of my complaints with this version, but based on what is in theaters locally, this is not worth recommending. There are poorly paced moments in which the characters will resolve a conflict or decide on a plan before a long moment of awkward silence that’s punctuated by an unrelated plot event. Rather than feeling like a comic effect, these moments drop the film’s energy.

The character development is haphazard, particularly as it relates to Inspector Sun. He starts the film as a bumbling detective who is “just lucky” when he inadvertently solves crimes – less Hercule Poirot, more Inspector Clouseau – and halfway through the film, the filmmakers remember that it might be good to develop the protagonist’s character. So Sun resolves an under-developed conflict with an assistant/hanger-on. There’s no real escalation to the relationship, and Sun’s skills as a detective remain unresolved.

The jokes do not particularly land. Chieng, normally benefiting from The Daily Show giving him room to be his most acerbic self, fails to give a remarkable voice performance, and the rest of the supporting cast is equally uninspired.

More than anything else, Inspector Sun’s world doesn’t feel lived in or unique. Previous animated films featuring bugs like A Bug’s Life (1998) and Antz (1998) posited a world underneath ours, and the characters’ interactions with humanity were incidental and clever. There is nothing original in Inspector Sun’s world-building, as though the entire mise en scene were simply cribbed from the first scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) without any further development.

It is possible that the film’s intended audience, young children, may overlook most of the film’s flaws, and it’s even more possible that so much of Inspector Sun is lost in translation, but beyond those caveats there is little to recommend this middling effort.