You know when you start even just casually reviewing movies, thinking “This is a great idea!”. Well… it is, except that you have to watch examples like Dreamworks’s “Home”, and start questioning the sanity of your decisions.
So yeah, you can probably guess by now that this animated movie didn’t rub off of me all that well. It seems to be the case that Dreamworks either makes a top-tier film, one that appeals to the masses in a fun way, or one that scrapes the bottom of the ideas barrel. This is the latter sadly.
Keeping the story at its simplest explanation, an alien race known as The Boov’s are escaping their mortal enemies The Gorgs, and choose Earth as their new home. The human race is (in a surprising change in a kid’s film) relocated to mass camps, while the Boov settle in to the cities. One Boov named Oh stumbles upon a lost girl named Tip, and the both get swept into a combined adventure of escape for Oh, and Tip attempting to locate her Mom.
Kind of a strange turn isn’t it, making the assumed protagonist part of an alien race that turns the world’s population into essentially refugees. I was getting worried that this was going to have some creepy under-pinning message to say but nope, it is a story mechanic to just move the parent away from Tip in order to extent the second act.And this film is filled to bursting point with similar examples of this rushed plot devices which try and keep the main story from crashing off the track. For example, Oh is a bumbling trouble-causer, and so must be in a position where he is going to be arrested but escapes. And the Boovs have this backward speech which is placed in to (I assume) to be a point of comedy, but ends up being absolutely unnecessary.
But the critical problem found here is the squandering of creativity. The aliens start out looking like they might have some cool little touches, such as their body colour changing depending on their emotions, and their ruthlessly unsocial and one-track mindset. But instead of mixing this all in to make an interesting character set, we get the goofy faces, wild reaction shots, under-developed character traits, and jokes that are certainly aimed squarely at a much younger audience. I found it so hard to like anything about Oh, he is simplistic to a detrimental fault.
So, the majority of the running time focusses on Tip and Oh making their way to insert-destination-for-plot-here. And they were acting like a seven year old took too much sugar, and then drank a litre of warm milk to try and balance the craziness with calm. They keep going between bickering, arguing, heartfelt talks, more bickering, laughter, jokes, nap time, crying, anger, and then repeat. Above everything else I have complained about, this aspect of bi-polar insanity drove up the damm walls.
So at this point you might be wondering “Come on man, it’s a Dreamworks film, there MUST be something good!” Well….. considering this is for a younger audience then the likes of “How to Train your Dragon”, the animation is nice and bright, and does keep a pace running. I think the kid actress playing the role as Tip was certainly trying her best, there are some nice active sweeping camera shots, and one small scene involving the Eiffel Tower has a dab of originality to it. It was the one action scene to really speak of, and wasn’t done all that great to be honest. But hey, better than nothing.
Apart from that short paragraph, I am struggling to make a case for “Home”. It keeps bouncing like a lunatic between deflated jokes, tiring conversations, weak examples of originality, and annoying pop songs. I mean for crying out loud, even the ONE cool character in this entire film, The Gorg, is shamelessly destroyed at the end. I have no idea why they chose that path to go down, but it was a massively underwhelming place to end.
“Home” is an example of Dreamworks forcing a poor idea into reality, when it really only would have made sense as a short. The material here is too thin to hold any weight, and so the filler just gets more franticly jammed in, and thus worse. I don’t hate this film and it isn’t the worst I have seen lately, if you have young kids and want to get something for them to mildly enjoy then this will work. But a top shelf animation studio doesn’t need to reduce themselves to this low just because it is a film for young kids. Back to the coffee meeting guys, you can do much better than this.
Thanks for reading!