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Home (Movie)

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: March 27, 2015


Movie Review - 'Home'

by Adam Pavlacka on March 27, 2015 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

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.

When it comes to animated films, DreamWorks has always run a close second behind the Disney/Pixar juggernaut. The biggest problem with the studio has been a lack of consistency. DreamWorks can put out some great films ("How to Train Your Dragon," "Madagascar"), but it has also produced a fair share of stinkers. "Home" isn't the worst of the bunch, but it's also not very impressive. "Home" has more in common with a direct-to-video budget title than a AAA theatrical release.

"Home" is based on a children's book, and the plot is fairly disjointed. Earth is invaded by an alien race that is more or less the equivalent of resource locusts. They take what they want and put humans on a preserve. However, they're presented as cute and stupid, so we're supposed to find the subjugation of the human race as not so bad. Yeah, it makes about as much sense on the screen as it does on paper.

The hero of the story is Tip, a teenage girl who escapes the initial relocation and is on a mission to find her mom. Voiced by Rihanna, Tip is the one character in the entire film who feels real. Rihanna does a great job of conveying conflicted emotions and makes Tip's issues more than just a convenient plot device. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of her co-star.

Tip's partner-in-crime is the alien reject, Oh. Voiced by Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory," Oh is hated by his invading compatriots because he keeps messing up. Oh had the potential to be a standout character because he's caught between two worlds, yet Parsons never pushes his limits while voicing Oh. Instead, he simply plays the alien as a variant of his Sheldon character from "The Big Bang Theory," right down to his pacing and vocal intonation. If you've seen the TV show, it is impossible to not see Oh as Sheldon in disguise.

Despite messing up more than once, Oh never seems to learn from his mistakes, and he never actually takes responsibility for his actions. The same can be said of his alien brethren. They never take the time to realize that what they're doing is wrong or why it is wrong, even when it ends up biting them in the ass.

In the end, it is that lack of character development that prevents "Home" from being anything more than a mild diversion. Since the main characters don't learn anything, there is no underlying message driving the film. There is nothing for kids (or adults) to take away. Instead, "Home" boils down to a series of individual scenes, all mashed together. Individually, there are some funny moments, and the jokes do elicit laughter. Put it all together, and it is about as coherent as a series of "Saturday Night Live" sketches all viewed back-to-back.

The technical achievements in "Home" are as unimpressive as its story. The animation is more than competent, but stylistically, "Home" is on par with Saturday morning cartoons. Nothing in the visual design stands out. There are no breathtaking vistas or distinctly original locations. It's functional but not memorable.

In addition to voice acting, Rihanna provides music for the film, with some of her well-known hits serving as the backdrop for short montages. Much like her acting, the use of Rihanna's music is a highlight of the film.

Ultimately, "Home" does little more than highlight Rihanna's ability to carry a film by herself. It wouldn't be surprising to see her move into more voice acting roles after this one. As an animated feature, though, "Home" is best left for home video. There's no need to see this one in the theater. It will be perfectly at home on the small screen.

Score: 5.0/10

"Home" is rated PG and has a running time of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It is showing in 2-D and 3-D.

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