Home Movie Review

Home

‘Home’ is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated buddy comedy film that is based on the book “The True Meaning of Smekday”. The Animation / Adventure / Fantasy film is scheduled to hit Malaysian cinemas on the 26th of March, 2015.

The question on our one-track minds is will it live up to Disney Pixar’s previous successes, namely “Shrek”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon”?

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: ‘Home’ is a charming tale of an alien “invasion” of Earth.

The Long-Story: The ‘Boov’ are an optimistic yet inept hive-minded alien race, known for their cowardice, conformity, and healthy suppression of individuality, who are led by credit-taking-self-praising Captain Smek (Steve Martin). The Boov decide to invade Earth to hide from their formidable-looking enemy, the Gorg, and make it their new home. Convinced that they are doing us “undeveloped species” a favour, no thanks to their steadfast belief that they are culturally and morally superior than all other creatures in the galaxy, they relocate all the humans in the world to housing areas in deserted parts of the planet and take over the now uninhabited cities (Viewers will later find out where on Earth they decided to relocate the humans).

After landing on Earth, a Boov named ‘Oh’, a somewhat loveable (This term is used very loosely) misfit, lands himself in some hot water after accidentally notifying his people’s mortal enemy of their whereabouts, and consequently finds himself on the run from his own people. Now on the lam, Oh bumps into a resourceful teenage human girl named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci (Rihanna) who managed to evade capture during what could quite possibly be the nicest alien abduction ever.

Banished Oh and adventurous Tip then form an unlikely friendship as Oh agrees to accompany Tip who’s on a quest to find the location of her abducted mother Lucy (Jennifer Lopez); which ultimately ends up with the mismatched duo saving the world. Through a series of comic adventures, Oh, who’s really more of a human being stuck inside the body of a Boov, comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, whilst Tip has her prejudices and preconceptions challenged by her relationship with Oh; together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

The first Honda ever made, probably.
The first Honda ever made, probably.

Review

To Sum It All Up: It’s a simplistic and thoroughly entertaining plot with quirky little adventures and a range of emotion making it perfect kids, but adults will probably want a little more depth.

An In-Depth Look: The opening twenty or so minutes of Home promises a fantastic premise which is utterly engrossing: the idea that the human population could easily be ejected from their homes into a land of ice cream and white-picket fences whilst the invading alien force sets up shop, is nothing short of genius. Let’s face it, a truly sci-fi animation caper would be greatly appreciated across all ages, and the scope for imagination is enormous.

So here’s the positives: The imaginative and cheerful animation is certainly beautiful, with colour being splendidly ferocious. Home pays heaps of attention to detail, especially in terms of textures, character movements, and lighting; from the cat named Pig (Don’t ask, we don’t understand either.), to the Boov’s skin colour that changes when they feel different emotional states, and even Tip’s hair as it flusters in the wind. It is aesthetically pleasing and the visual depth also adds pathos to Home’s many characters in an ingeniously creative way.

*No animals were harmed during the shooting of this film* Except that other cat Frank. F*ck you Frank.
*No animals were harmed during the shooting of this film* Except that other cat Frank. F*ck you Frank.

Moreover, the music will appeal to younger audiences as it acts as a sales pitch for both Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, whose songs populate the film like a rat infestation in a cheese factory. Fortunately, to balance things out, the original music creates some entrancing and moving moments in the film, thanks to its enriched emotive score.

Also, the voice work from both Parsons and Rihanna was impressive; though Martin did lack the usual ‘umph’ he usually brings and Lopez only uttered a handful of lines.

Now, the not-so-positives: In spite of this being a well-animated effort, the story’s journey is a little flat in comparison; honestly, it never goes anyplace. Indeed, the gags are well constructed and the story is powerfully expressed using strong emotions, but the payoff is both predictable and aborted. Why you ask? Well, because the film relies on the typical tried-and-tested buddy-road-trip formula; from the eye-rolling slap-stick scenes to the overuse of a lot of hit and miss jokes- with a lot of them unfortunately being the latter.

When you accidentally click on a banner advert and are asked if “You want to have sex with women in your area”.
Your facial reactions (From Left to Right) when you have accidentally click on a banner advert that asks you to “Have sex with women in your area”.

I must also say it does feel as if Dreamworks completely forgot that a load of adults will also have to sit through this film with their kids. With Home not harbouring even a few jokes that adults may get, it leaves many jaded grown-ups checking their watches every 5 minutes to see how long they have to hold out till the lights come back on.

Time Checking
“12 and a half minutes down, only another hour an a half to go, sigh.”

However, do not despair. If you’re looking for some easy watching where you can kick back and connect with your inner child, Home hits the spot: it’s short, it’s harmless, and you’ll chuckle a few times; it also doesn’t hurt that it’s packed to the brim with genuine heart and emotion. It has to be said, though, that this, sadly, is one of those movies where all the best bits are in the trailer; you will be sorely disappointed if you go in expecting more.

Conclusively, it always seems unfair to compare animation houses such as DreamWorks to the powerhouse that is Pixar. With Pixar almost never having missteped since the smash-hit Toy Story in 1995, Dreamworks’s Home is far from a stinker; with the film’s overall message being quite simple: those who appear to be misfits can often turn out to be heroes. Nonetheless, Home never quite manages to reach Pixar heights.

ScreenBite Rating: 5/10

Written and Contributed by KieranHoggs

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What Other Had to Say About: HOME

Early reviews for Home have been generally mixed. On the one hand, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes lists a 33% approval rating (Based on 6 reviews), with a mere rating average of 4/10. On the other hand, iMDB awarded it a 7.5/10 stars (Based on 32 reviews & 1 critic).

Film Factoids

  • During the production of the film, DreamWorks Animation was visited by Barack Obama who met Jim Parsons and Steve Martin (Pictured below).

    Pictured here, Obama breaking out his “white folk” handshake; specially formulated for them suburban lot.
    Pictured here, Obama breaking out his “white folk” handshake; specially formulated for them suburban lot.
  • Rihanna created a concept album for the film, also titled Home (Unsurprisingly), which will be released on March 24, 2015; it will consist of 8 original songs.

Find out more:

Official Site: http://www.dreamworks.com/home/my/
20th Century Fox Official FB Page: www.facebook.com/foxmovies.my
Fox Malaysia’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/FoxMalaysia
Trailer (YouTube): http://youtu.be/FavW-Y1kaxs

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