April 1, 2015
When I first saw the trailer of this new DreamWorks animated film last year, I felt I might not like it. The title was indistinct, the alien character looked corny and the girl character had zero charm. But I had made wrong first impressions about previous DreamWorks projects before, like "Shrek", "How to Train Your Dragon", and "The Croods" which all turned out to be very enjoyable and heartwarming films despite the "unattractive" animation styles. Even "Spirit", "Megamind" and "Turbo" turned out much better than what I expected them to be from the trailers. So, not wanting to judge this book based on its cover, we also gave "Home" a chance.
The Boov were a cute alien race who prided themselves with being cowardly and indifferent. Running away from their sworn enemy the Gorg, the Boov, under the leadership of their dictator Captain Smek, occupy Earth. One particularly odd Boov was known as "Oh" because of the exasperated groans of other Boov who could not stand his sunny friendly ways. Oh just wanted to send an e-invitation to his "warming of house" party but he inadvertently sends it to the whole universe, including the Gorg. Because of this costly mistake, Oh becomes a fugitive.
Meanwhile, a young girl named Tip apparently escaped the vacuuming machine which extracted all humans from their homes, including her mother Lucy. She and her fat cat Pig were constantly on the run from the Boov which had overrun New York City. When Tip meets Oh, she pleads with (or coerces) him to help her find her mom. From there, the two go on an adventure that brings them around the world from Paris to Australia, developing an unusual friendship and saving the world.
Initially, the very bright color palette and cute marshmallow-like alien design make this very attractive. The visual comedy did not always come off successfully, like the globes of toilet bowls and garbage cans, or the landmarks with Smek's face. Unfortunately, the story did not really develop into something memorably funny or interesting. The friendship that bonded Oh and Tip together seemed shallow and forced, not very well-developed in the storytelling. The final resolution of the problem with the Gorg was an overused plot point. There was only one scene that I could call truly touching.
Jim Parsons voiced Oh like he was playing his signature Sheldon character on his hit TV show "Big Bang Theory". It was occasionally cute, occasionally annoying. Many of his jokes in broken English actually felt flat. Aside from the dancing scene (which we already saw in the trailer), I cannot recall any other really big humorous moment from him. The voicing of Tip was okay, but it was made more remarkable when the end credits came up and you see that it was pop star Rihanna who did it. Steve Martin unfortunately did not get to do anything distinctive as Captain Smek's voice. Jennifer Lopez's very short stint as mom Lucy could have been done by any other voice actress.
For me, the film itself was just mildly entertaining at best. Not the worst film by DreamWorks, but not one of their best. 6/10.