DreamWorks has a very uneven record, reveling in the swamp with Shrek and flying high with Hiccup and Toothless to racing snails and talking bees, it can’t be denied that they’re good animators and have peaks but ‘Home’ is not one of those. Catering much more so for the very young children of its audience, this movie fails to be stand out or impressive.
Doing what they do best, the Boov race escape the Gorgs to settle on the planet Earth. Once there, their leader Smek (Steve Martin) moves the humans Down Under so his kind can live in hopeful peace on our world. Though bumbling and much disliked Oh (Jim Parsons) quickly ruins that ideal and becomes a fugitive where he runs into left behind girl Tip (Rihanna). They must put aside their opposites to save Earth and find a feeling of family.
It really is more suited towards the kids and anyone over an age of double figures would surely predict pretty much everything that happens in this film. All good family films should have something for grown ups, subtle adult jokes or clever visual gags but this feature is devoid of those qualities. Silly is the main word to describe the movie, a huge amount of slapstick drives the plot and Oh’s impact on things around him. Dumb and colourful is how to sum up the film if it was a one sentence review.
The animation itself is actually really good, the bouncing curls of Tip’s hair, the many bubbles, the destruction of Earth, the Gorg ship and the scope of this buddy narrative is large and well put across. The slushious car is inventive and fun, the popping bubbles motif to serve as flashback is neat and as mentioned it’s a very colourful film, ever changing Boov skin to the wild journey these mismatched characters go on is packed with loud palettes and rainbow like distractions for the little ones.
Idea wise, this film isn’t majorly creative, the key themes of friendship, diversity and hope are done an awful lot and this film does them well but just doesn’t do anything grandly spectacular with a plot that could have been more surprising. The characterisation of the Boov aliens are something that infuriates from the trailer alone so watching their muddled sentences and lack of human understanding over 94 minutes threatens you to take your ears off. Kids may find it funny and cute but it grows tiresome darn fast.
The music is a big part of the film, sounding like it’s attempting to go for chart success with kiddy boppers wanting to hear the poppy tunes again and again. Obviously having modern icon Rihanna in your film calls on you to utilise her vocals but it becomes an overplay of her tracks, it feels like there’s an onslaught of Ri-Ri and it gets weird when she herself as Tip puts on her own song to groove out to. Her songs aren’t as distracting as when used in ‘Wreck-it Ralph’ but maybe one less could have benefited. There’s also an alarming use of bass drop as the Gorg drone ships arrive which is a highly odd villainous whomp even by then we know better about the story. The slower side of proceedings sounds like the opening melody of Latika’s Theme from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and it does echo as beautiful and sort of haunting to make Tip’s loneliness seem more sad.
Jim Parsons is annoying as I very well expected, he does bring awkward life to Oh, but it’s a wholly grating character that you only ever feel slight sympathy for and near the end is when you feel better for his arc. Rihanna brings the grounded side to things opposite the flair of Oh and her human nature blows apart the Boov pamphlet as she sounds confident in her delivery of what she feels as a secluded child moving to America. Tip is very very good for giving young girls a new face and role model to aspire to be and for that DreamWorks always fares better than Disney who stick to the same looking ladies time and again. Steve Martin is stupid and over the top as this leader but it works to the case of knowing he’s not all what he should be and through.
Quite average and not much in the way of being fun for all the family but it’s not awful and it’s still rather enjoyable if not predictable, annoying and a broad stroke road trip animation.