I hope when our alien overlords eventually do come, they really are this cute and cuddly.
“Home” is the story of “Oh”, a member of the alien race known as the Boov, who have been on the run from their mortal enemy for as long as they can remember. When earth becomes their latest refuge, things for Oh go a little haywire after meeting a human child named “Tip”. And then, oh the adventures they have. It’s actually a pretty interesting little concept for Dreamworks latest foray into CG animated family fare. But is the end product more How to Train Your Dragon Dreamworks, or “Shark Tale” Dreamworks? I’d say it probably lands somewhere towards the middle.
Let’s start with the good, it’s a technically proficient film. The concept is solid, the themes are understandable, and the music is fun and engaging. Plus, the voice work from the likes of Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, and Rihanna is decent, and the animation and effects are gorgeous to look at. In fact, that last one is probably the best thing about the movie. The way color, movement, and design are used in this is vividly stunning. Which makes it frustrating that there isn’t more going on underneath it. It reminds me of that classically attractive person at a party, who has an absolute gravity to their presence, and a million dollar smile. But then when you finally make a move to chat them up, has zero going on under the hood, so you quietly back away hoping they don’t notice. And you can’t help but be bummed that something that beautiful has such little depth to it. That’s Home.
Underneath the beautiful surface, there’s just not much to write home about. The plot is predictable and boring, the messages simplistic, and the main characters aren’t really as much interesting as they are annoying. Which of course makes it hard to root for them or connect to them emotionally. And that’s probably where the movie falls the hardest for me. When it tries to tug the heartstrings, it fails miserably. I just didn’t buy into the emotion enough to really care. Not that any of this will likely keep the younger kiddos from liking it. It’s distracting enough with it’s whiz bang style and it’s juvenile humor to likely keep them having a good time. In fact, at my screening there was a young boy, I’m guessing 7ish, who sat in the front row and was laughing hysterically the entire time. So if you were wondering about Dreamworks target audience. I think we found him. So congrats, Zachary, there’s a billion dollar company making movies just for you. It’s your multiplex man, the rest of us are just sitting in it.
Overall, “Home” is a decently made and gorgeous movie with some glaring flaws under the surface. It’s predictability and lack of emotional connectivity keep it from resonating the way it would like to. Sure, the kids may enjoy a visit, but I’m guessing the family won’t want to live there for long. I say it runs away with a C.