DreamWorks Animation’s Home had a rocky journey to find its ultimate home in theatres. Originally slated for a November 2014 release, the film was unceremoniously pushed back several months to make room for a more secure financial bet Penguins of Madagascar. Even the film’s promotion was lackluster leading up to its release. But, now the big day is here and the real question is: was Home worth the wait?
Home tells the story of an alien species – the Boov – who are on the run from their mortal enemies, the Gorg. Captain Smek (Steve Martin) chooses to invade planet Earth, relocating the humans to Australia to make room for the entire Boov species. One human girl, Gratuity Tucci aka Tip (Rihanna), manages to escape and teams up with a dopey outcast Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons) as she seeks help to reunite with her mom. However, Oh is a fugitive on the run (having accidentally disclosed the Boov’s new whereabouts to the Gorg). Now, the Gorg are on their way to destroy the Boov yet again.
One thing this film has going for it are its visuals. Home is a colorful, beautiful film. Most of these fanciful colors come from the bright-colored Boov themselves. One of the best parts of their quirky and unique designs are how the Boov change color when they feel different emotions. Once the Boov inhabit Earth, the planet becomes almost unrecognizable and is filled with neon colors and lights. One of the best examples of this change is when Tip’s car breaks down. Oh sups up the car using a Slurpee machine for fuel, turning it into a flying hovercraft worthy of a techno dance party.
However, bright colors can’t entirely distract for long. One thing that I personally couldn’t connect with was the voice acting of the two leads (and, considering there are really only four or five main speaking characters in the film, this is a problem). Jim Parsons is typecast yet again, playing a character who is almost a replica of Sheldon (his breakout character from the TV show The Big Bang Theory). Sheldon is an uber smart, very literal, socially inept person; Oh is an uber smart, very literal, socially inept alien. As a result, Parsons’ voice acting brings nothing new to the table.
Rihanna, on the other hand, does a great job voicing her character; however, she seems miscast. Tip is a young teenage girl, but Rihanna’s deep voice makes her sound as if she should be in her mid 20s. This was perhaps the most distracting element of the film for me, as every time Tip spoke I was completely taken out of the film. Steve Martin, who plays the over-the-top, pompous Boov leader Captain Smek, did a great job voicing his character and was a fan favorite.
I went into this film with low expectations, despite my best efforts to get into the film through the trailers and marketing. The aforementioned marketing made it seems as though even DreamWorks didn’t care much about Home and just wanted to release the film and get it over with. But, boy, was I glad to be proven wrong. The trailers didn’t do it justice. The film is far from perfect, but it is still very enjoyable, fun, and has a few new elements that will make you smile.
While Home goes to some predictable places on its journey, the film feels like a standalone story with a satisfying conclusion. Home is a perfect family film and children will be especially taken with the characters. Like they Boov themselves, it might take a while to warm up to the film, but, in the end, you’ll feel like you made a new friend. Give it a chance!