– Summary –
Director : Tim Johnson
Year Of Release : 2015
Principal Cast : Voices of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin, Matt L Jones, Brian Stepanek, April Lawrence.
Approx Running Time : 94 Minutes
Synopsis: After a bunch of aliens invade Earth, a young girl teams up with an outcast Boov to locate her mother and save the planet.
What we think : Dazzling animation is no match for a simplistic story and bland characters, as Home crackles with action and a plethora of Rihanna songs for the soundtrack (i guess if you have a pop songstress in your film, you get twice the goods for the same pay!)
Boov your ass away from this.
Don’t be fooled by its animated glory, Home is generic storytelling that deserves little of your time. Okay, that’s a tad harsh, but if you come into Home on the back of its trailer – voiced largely by Jim Parsons, not moving one iota from his Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon persona – you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s one of those movies where the jokes seem too old for kids, and too lame for discerning adults, that purgatorial wasteland many a “kids flick” is captured in while trying to accommodate both audiences. While the premise is silly fun, and the animation is indeed superb, the characters (particularly Rihanna’s Tip) didn’t grab me as they needed to, and I found myself a little underwhelmed by the bland, almost rote moral warbling of the picture.
A nomadic race of aliens, the Boov, arrive to make their home on Earth, removing humans to a settlement colony and taking over. They’re on the run from the Gorg, who want to annihilate them. One Boov, Oh (Jim Parsons), is a bit of an excitable, free-thinking member of his species, and he accidentally sends an email to the Gorg letting them know where the Boov are. After escaping arrest, Oh meets Tip (Rihanna) and her pet cat, Pig, and the two travel to Paris to find Tip’s kidnapped mother.
Home works well for a cookie-cutter new millennium animated film, the CG variety of colors and effects will enrapture those in the audience under the age of 10. Everyone else will quickly tire of Parson’s mix-a-lot dialogue, the film’s ADHD pacing and its not-unexpected pop-culture-savvy mandate. The “buddy road-trip film” genre gets another run here, as Tip and Oh’s dysfunctional relationship forms the core of the second act’s character development (not to mention giving pop-singer Rihanna’s soundtrack samples a very good run in the meantime) as they go on the run from Captain Smeck (a funny Steve Martin) and the rest of the Boov.
Parsons’ Oh lacks the ability to form contractions and incorrectly uses plurals, and while kids will find this aggravatingly hip, it started to grate on me rather quickly. Tip, meanwhile, is a typically headstrong kid who uses her street-smarts to try and find her lost mother (Jennifer Lopez, who is absent for much of the movie) and I guess it’s apropos of Rihanna to play the part. Rihanna is a better vocalist than an actor (look at her role in Battleship, for example), although in Home she sounds older than the eleven year old girl she plays.
Clever design work keeps the film from becoming boring; Home looks fantastic, obviously the highest animation quality modern tech will allow. Colors pop, the Boov and Gorg look terrific, and the Boov’s physical transformations through emotional states is a true highlight of the film. The editing on the film is occasionally discombobulating, advocating for keeping littlies attention on the screen through a blistering assault on the eyeballs. This postmodern style can’t paper over the rather generic plotting, and neither can the limited characters. Tim Johnson’s attempt to juggle excitement with family fun runs afoul of overabundant effort, it’s just too slick for its own good.
Home is a bit of flavorless sill fun, aimed at really young kids and merely as a diversion tactic in place of meaningful storytelling. While nowhere near as obnoxious as Dreamwork’s early failure in Shark Tale, Home shares a bit of that films’ lack of warmth or energy, relying on snappy visuals where it deserves better characters. Not an outright loss, Home’s eye-catching visuals will nevertheless please animation fans, but you get the sense that if they’d spent more time on developing the characters instead of planning out the riot-grrl action sequences (and there’s plenty of those), Home might have been a nice little film indeed. Alas, it’s merely mediocre.