Home-a place where everything feels simplified in safe, comforting ways, and, of course, where the heart is. Home, DreamWorks’ latest kiddie-friendly animated 3D entry by director Tim Johnson, covers all the aforementioned bases. Although closer in caliber (and story) to the inconsistent studio’s Monsters vs. Aliens than their latest hits The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon 2, Home will be a surefire hit amongst those aged six and under. For those not in that demographic, well, this kiddie fare is simply not for you.
Based on the children’s book The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, the film centers on rounded purple alien Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons, recycling his Southern know-it-all shtick from The Big Bang Theory). He’s part of an alien race called the Boov, led by their not-so-bright leader Captain Smek (voiced by Steve Martin). On the run from the frightful, barbed alien race Gorg, the Boov set up residence on Earth and, using gravitational pull, transplant all humans onto “Captain Smek’s Happy Humantown” (also known as Australia). In the hopes of bonding with his new Boov neighbors, loner Oh accidentally transmits his housewarming party invitation to the entire galaxy, by mistakenly clicking “send all” on his computerized device, thus effectively signaling to the Gorg the Boov’s secret location. Not since the similar email gaff by Mackenzie McHale on HBO’s The Newsroom has such a ridiculous plot device been utilized, but we digress. Suddenly finding himself a wanted fugitive, Oh partners up with human Tip, née Gratuity Tucci (raspily voiced by pop star Rihanna) and her cat named Pig who are on a voyage to find Tip’s mother Lucy (voiced by singer/actress Jennifer Lopez).
For youngsters, the kaleidoscopic visuals, cute and cuddly appeal of the Boov (who change color based on their emotional responses), and the safe messaging of the film (essentially, that home is where the heart is) will be more than enough to keep them entertained for its brief 90 minute run time. For adults, however, they’ll undoubtedly be left scratching their heads at many aspects of the film. For example, why does youngster Tip sound like a chain smoker? Is the displacement of the frustrated humans meant as an allegory for the West Bank situation? Why does the Gorg ship look so much like the alien spacecraft from Independence Day? For that matter, why do they look like a pointier Thanos from Guardians of the Galaxy? Why do the Boov speak in Jar Jar Binks-like sentences if they’re an advanced alien race? We’ll stop there but we could go on.
For family-friendly fare, Home is a safe bet. After all, the release of Pixar’s Inside Out is still over two months away.