Director: Tim Johnson
Writers: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, Adam Rex
Voice Cast: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Brian Stepanek, Matt Jones, April Lawrence, Stephen Kearin, Lisa Stewart, April Winchell, Derek Blankenship, Nigel W. Tierney
Synopsis: Oh, an alien on the run from his own people, lands on Earth and makes friends with the adventurous Tip, who is on a quest of her own.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
The Short Animated Prequel: Almost Home
7 / 10
- Voice acting was decent
- Jokes were funny
- Well paced
- Excellent cinematography
- 3-D visuals were nice
- CGI animation was decent. Nothing groundbreaking, but pretty solid for what it was going for.
- Story was generic and bland
Another crappy Dreamworks animated dud? Or another overly bashed film that's nowhere near as bad as critics make it out to be?
Like most animated films that come out, "Home" isn't exactly bad, but it's not great either. If anything, it lies somewhere in the middle between being fun to watch and being downright mediocre at times.
If your expecting something epic along the lines of "The Lego Movie" or "Frozen", then chances are you'll walk away feeling very disappointed after watching this film. Heck, I'll be very surprised if this movie receives a nomination for next year's Oscar race for "Best Animated Feature."
"Home" is essentially a sequel to the short cartoon that was released last year alongside the animated Dreamworks' film, "Mr. Peabody and Sherman", which was based on the book called "The True Meaning of Smekday." As for why Dreamworks didn't stick to the original title for the animated adaptation and vied for a more generic one like "Home?" I honestly don't have a clue, but it's almost fitting for a film that's basically bland and generic anyway.
The story focuses on an alien race called the Bhoove that invade Earth, as they try to evade their elusive enemy called the Gorg. But unlike most alien invasion films, the Bhoove don't try to kill any of the humans, nor do they bother to terraform the Earth. No, they merely extract them from their homes using some elaborate device, and relocate them to Australia. Leaving the rest of the Earth for themselves to populate.
A Bhoove named Oh (Jim Parsons) is our main character throughout this journey, and if you've seen the popular TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory", then chances are you already know everything you need to know about Oh. Like Jim's other character, Sheldon Cooper, from "The Big Bang Theory", Jim plays the alien like he's an uber smart nerd with the personality of a child, but he's very naïve and stupid when it comes to even the simplest interactions with others. Seriously, you could literally have Oh and Sheldon Cooper switch bodies, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
In a strange way, it's almost reminiscent of how Jerry Seinfeld played himself in both his infamous TV series, "Seinfeld", and later played a cartoon bee version of himself in Dreamworks' other animated film, "Bee Movie." Could this mean that Jim Parsons is the type of actor that can only play himself into a role similar to how John Wayne could only play John Wayne in a damn movie? Perhaps. To be honest, I've only seen Jim act in this movie and "The Big Bang Theory." But based on those two things alone, it does make me question whether or not he'll have much of an acting career once that show ends.
Anyway, Oh inevitably screws up to where he potentially puts the Bhoove population in danger, which makes him something of a wanted criminal among his own kind. Along his travels, he meets a sassy young girl named Gratuity Tucci aka Tip (Rihanna), who somehow got separated from her mother during the relocation process.
Together they form an agreement where she helps him escape, while he has to help Tip find her mom. Like most movies of this ilk, they bond as they learn stuff about each other, and they inevitably become friends. And like "Shrek", you know exactly where the story is going to go, but it's more about the journey than anything else.
This can work for almost any story, as long as the characters are well written and developed. And for the most part, the two main characters are written well, and I have to say that the friendship between Tip and Oh seems very genuine.
But unlike "Shrek" that was a clever satire of it's own genre, "Home" is basically another generic kids that plays itself straight to formula. Mostly relying on slapstick humor, while using almost every cliched trope in the book. It's kind of sad, as this might've been a perfect opportunity to give it some originality by making it something of a satire of alien invasion movies. But then again, that would've probably made it something of a rip off of "Planet 51."
As for the animation itself, it's fairly decent. It's nothing that'll amaze you the same way "The Lego Movie" did last year with it's unique style of animation, but it's fairly decent for what Dreamworks was going for. The "3-D" cinematography was a nice touch, and it's definitely worth seeing in 3-D if you can afford it.
Overall though, "Home" isn't a bad movie per say, as there's nothing bad in it for kids. If anything, it's just a safe family friendly movie that most of your kids will love. And that's basically the only problem with "Home" in a nutshell. It spends so much time being this middle of the road safe movie that it fails to take any risks, in order to be different. Yes, making a children's movie that teaches kids about how we shouldn't judge others until we get to know them is good is a great lesson to learn, while preaching the importance of family and friendship.
However, if you don't do anything original with those themes, then all your doing is making your story seem generic and bland to the point of being forgettable. "Home" might be a decent family movie to watch, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of substance. I would recommend seeing this one in theaters because how awesome the 3-D effects are, but I'd probably wait to catch this one on Netflix if I were you. The effects are good, but the story doesn't make it worth heading out to the theaters to check out.
© 2015 Steven Escareno