Monday, December 7, 2015

Movie Review - Home

Home is a CG animated film from Dreamworks, released in spring of 2015. It stars the voices of Jim Parsons (the BAZINGA! guy), singer Rihanna, and comedian Steve Martin.

The film opens with a plan by the Boov, a race of squat purple aliens, to take over Earth and use it as a hiding spot from their relentlessly pursuing enemies, the Gorg. Being much more technologically advanced than humans, they manage this easily, trapping the human population in bubbles and whisking them away to Stepford-like habitats built in the deserts of Australia.

One human, a girl named Gratuity "Tip" Tucci, is separated from her mother and left abandoned alone, surrounded by a city of alien invaders.

Enter Oh, a friendly but bumbling Boov. Oh means well, but is despised by the rest of his race because of his absent minded and disaster prone personality. After accidentally sending a party invite to the entire universe, including the terrifying Gorg mothership bent on Boov destruction, he becomes a fugitive and goes on the run. Oh and Tip meet and reluctantly join forces to escape, having lots of "odd couple" experiences along the way as they try to adapt to each other's alien customs. Memorable moments include Oh outfitting Tip's car with the entire contents of a convenience store - slushies, nachos, lottery tickets, you name it - and the overexposed scene from the commercials where Oh learns to dance via involuntary twerking. ("My hands are in the air like they just do not care!" ...still not as annoying as DA DA DADADADA CIRCUS AFRO)

Eventually the story takes a serious turn, as Oh must decide between helping Tip find her mother and escaping with the rest of his kind from the terrifying Gorg.

Sort of like Minions, but slightly more coherent.

Visually, the film is bright, shiny, and upbeat, with lots of rounded shapes and pastel colors. The Boov may not have the best personalities in the galaxy, but they are cute, octopus-like creatures with curled Sailor Moon style headbuns (lekku?) and "mood skin" that changes colors depending on their current emotion. Bubbles are a recurring visual theme, used as vehicles by the Boov and as propulsion by "Slushious", Tip's tricked out 7-11 hovercar. There are some nice touches in the animation, like the constantly changing skin hues, the sheen on the surfaces of the bubbles, and the bounce of Tip's curly hair.

Speaking of unique aspect of Home is the ethnicity of the lead human characters. Tip and her mother are immigrants from Barbados, and her feelings of social difference and isolation help her bond with Oh, who is also not entirely accepted by the people around him. I'm sure lots of POC girls will be thrilled to see a main character in an animated film who looks like them, since unfortunately that's not as common as it should be.

Sound wise the film has a distinctive signature, mainly because all of the songs are Rihanna's. The Boov also talk entirely in lolspeak, which works in 2015 but will sound awfully dated in a few years. But then again, Dreamworks has always been a fan of flash-in-the-pan pop culture references, so I doubt they're sweating it.

Overall, Home is a cute children's movie. Kids will probably love it; the Boov are cute and colorful, and there's no shortage of slapstick humor (I predict that Steve Martin's character, Smek, gets lots of kiddie laughs). It's definitely a Dreamworks movie, with the aforementioned pop culture references, mild toilet humor, and, yes, wait for it....another dance party ending. Has Dreamworks patented that yet?

This kid, however, is NOT enjoying it. At all.

I give Home a score of 3 out of 5 stars. I watched it while sewing for my Etsy shop, and I think that's probably the best way to watch - on in the background while you're doing something else. I totally want one of the little baby dudes at the end, though!

Awwwwwwww! :3

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