Dreamworks has a pretty deserved reputation for making lazy and formulaic children’s animation. Sure, every once and a while they will come out with something of great quality, like How to Train Your Dragon or Kung Fu Panda, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Home fits right in with the rule, and quite frankly, I’m just sick of seeing shlock like this.
The Boov are an alien race on the run from hostile race called the Gorg. In their flight, the Boov settle on Earth, forcibly relocating humans to a settlement called Happy Humanstown. Oh (That's his name. "Oh."), a Boov who can’t seem to fit in, accidentally alerts the Gorg as to their location on Earth, and so is hunted down by his species. While he’s on the run, he meets a renegade human girl named Tip, who is searching for her mom following her abduction by the Boov. After a shaky start, the two forge an alliance, as Oh promises to help Tip find her mom while the two evade capture.
There are a plethora of creative ideas here, but none of them ever seem used to their full potential, mostly because the film’s ploddingly generic script doesn’t seem to want to deviate too much from the expected beats of every buddy comedy you’ve ever seen. This wouldn’t be the worst thing if the film offered anything by way of entertaining comedy, but it plays it safe with inoffensive physical gags and the occasional joke about bodily excretions.
Yet while the jokes may not be offensive, the voice acting most certainly is. Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) voices Oh with complete disregard for grammar and syntax, a supposedly endearing quality of the Boov race that quickly becomes stale and obnoxious. Rihanna as the voice of Tip, though, is perhaps the worst, as her presence is the most blatant example of non-actor voice casting I’ve seen in a while. She never seems to escape the fact that she sounds blatantly like she’s in her twenties, completely distracting from the fact that Tip seems to be no older than thirteen. Furthermore, her casting seems entirely so that the film’s soundtrack can be oversaturated with Rihanna songs, which play at the most inappropriate moments to suck any and all emotional resonance out of a scene. Not only is that distracting, but it’s also bizarrely dysphoric to hear the same voice come out of Tip as is coming out of her car’s radio.
Home is the kind of film that obviously doesn’t care about its own quality. It was theatrically released at a time of year when there weren’t any other animated features to compete against, and it was financially successful by the very virtue of its existence as families brought their children to the theater to give them pretty images to look at. This isn’t a film made for anyone to appreciate or even like. This is a film made to plop your kid in front of and shut them up for a while. So don’t bother with this one. If you need to distract your kid with something, distract them with a quality children’s film, like the aforementioned exceptions to Dreamworks’s cruddy filmography. There’s no need to reward lazy cash grabs like this one.
What do you think is the best Dreamworks film? The worst? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.