Release Date: 13 January 2015
Running Time: 94 min
Director: Tim Johnson
Starring: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones
Just as day follows night, school holidays are followed by a slew of kiddie-skewed animated comedies. Making first contact this year is Home, an alien invasion movie about friendship and family from DreamWorks Animation.
The Boov are a meek but technologically savvy race of aliens who flee from planet to planet to escape their mortal enemy the Gorg. Forced to move yet again, the Boov decide to set up their new home on Earth where the Gorg will surely never find them. A bundle of tentacles with idiosyncratic speech patterns, the Boov change colour to reflect their emotional state making them equal parts Jar-Jar Binks, squid and mood-ring.
Compared to most cinematic alien invaders, the Boov are actually quite benevolent; their invasion is largely bloodless and they only settle on Earth to evade destruction. Unfortunately they’re also really annoying and no amount of them making strange noises or eating household items can make them funny. Home’s protagonist is Oh, a character so irritating that even the rest of the Boov can’t bloody stand him.
When Oh accidentally emails Earth’s coordinates to everyone in the universe, including the Gorg, he is declared an outlaw and forced on the run. While hiding out from the Boov authorities Oh stumbles across Tip, a twelve year old girl played by the distinctly un-twelve sounding Rihanna. Tip has been stranded in her home after the invasion relocated her mother to Australia along with everyone else in the world and with both characters in need of some assistance they join forces and an unlikely friendship is formed.
It’s a story that’s been done countless times before; particularly in DreamWorks back catalogue. Yet without the self-awareness of Shrek, the absurdism of Madagascar 3, or the epic scope of How to Train Your Dragon and Kung-Fu Panda, Home seems a little flat by comparison. With a vibrant colour palette dominated by purple, blue and orange the visuals are slickly effective although they lack attention to detail of films from the likes of Studio Ghibli, Laika and Pixar.
There are a couple of well staged set pieces dotted here and there; a pursuit across a rotating Eiffel Tower being a particular standout and Steve Martin is amusing in the role of cowardly Boov leader Captain Smek. Still, there’s nothing here not done better elsewhere and unadventurous pap like this are unlikely to rescue DreamWorks from their rumoured financial problems.