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Movie Review - Home
Home is a CG animated film by Dreamworks, starring the voices of Rihanna, Steve Martin, and The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons.
The story opens with an alien race, called the Boov, who have their sights set on conquering Earth. The swoop in and forcibly relocate the human population into artificial towns in the Australian outback, claiming Earth's major cities for themselves. During this process, a young girl, Gratuity "Tip" Tucci, is separated from her mother and left all alone in New York City with only her cat for companionship.
Enter Oh, a hapless Boov. Oh means well, but is despised by the rest of his race because of his absent minded and accident prone personality. After an accident turns him into a fugitive, he encounters Tip and they reluctantly team up to escape. There are lots of "odd couple" scenes where the two of them struggle to understand the other's strange customs. In two of the most memorable scenes, Tip has her Mom's ordinary car outfitted by Oh with the entire contents of a convenience store, and Oh learns about dancing when his body starts to move uncontrollably during an upbeat song.
The story takes a serious turn when Oh must decide between helping Tip search for her mother (first in Paris and then in Australia), and fleeing from the Boov's terrifying, destructive enemy.
Visually, the film is bright and happy, with lots of rounded shapes and smooth colors. The Boov, despite their generally selfish and unfriendly behavior, are cute octopus-like creatures that change color when they experience different emotions. Bubbles are a common visual element, used as transport by the Boov and as propulsion by "Slushious", Tip's souped up hover car. The CG is appealing, with some nice touches like the bounciness of Tip's curly hair.
And speaking of curls, Tip and her mother are a welcome sight in an animated film, as there's a scarcity of diverse leads in children's movies. Ethnicity is a big component of the characters of Tip and her mom. They are immigrants from Barbados, and Tip's feeling of being an outsider among the native New Yorkers helps her bond with Oh, who is also an outcast among his people.
Dreamworks also makes full use of the casting of Rihanna for the part of Tip. All of the featured background songs are from her albums, giving this movie a distinctive hiphop/R&B sound.
One curious fact about the writing is that the Boov talk entirely in "lolspeak", a form of internet slang popularized by cat memes. It works now, but I wonder how badly this will date the film once the slang inevitably changes?
Overall, Home is a cute, fluffy movie. Children will probably be amused by the colorful aliens with their slapstick antics, and Tip will surely serve as a role model for lots of young POC girls who don't get many chances to see themselves on the big screen. From an adult perspective, Home fits the standard Dreamworks formula, with pop culture references, mild toilet humor, and, yes, even the patented dance party ending!
I give Home a score of 3 out of 5. This is the type of animated film that will be a big hit with kids, but isn't probably won't inspire many adults to watch again. It is currently available on home DVD and Netflix.