Two Stars for Home

A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to take my kids to see a sneak preview for the new animated movie, Home.  A couple of days later, I received an email asking me to rate it.  I wrote a short review there (and was limited for space reasons) and gave the movie two stars.  I’m using this blog entry to write a longer, more detailed review of it.  

  

I make no secret of the fact that I generally don’t do 3D movies.  The technology behind them requires having two eyes whose relative vision are at least moderately close to each other, so my vision — my right eye is significantly worse than my left — puts me outside of the audience for which 3D currently satisfies.  But I’m willing to put aside this general distaste, especially when I’m not paying additional money for the tickets.  And, despite my vision issues, I can at least recognize those scenes where it’s supposed to be in 3D. 

Home is one of those movies where the 3D is completely unnecessary.  There was a very small number of scenes (fewer than five) where the 3D makes a difference over standard 2D film, the longest running of which followed a cat through a house.  Anyone who regards 3D movies as little more than an unnecessary gimmick designed not to improve film quality but instead to drive up ticket prices, will have his or her perception reinforced by this movie. 

But 3D or not, I’d like to talk about the movie itself.  My kids absolutely loved it.  A good kids movie also has a second layer that adults can appreciate as well, and there’s no shortage of movies in recent years that do this.  This movie is not one of those movies.  

In this movie, we’re introduced to an alien species called the Boov, and the main character who’s known as “Oh,” so named because that’s what everyone says when he tries to engage them in even the most basic of conversation. It’s hard to tell because so much of the film is shown from Oh’s point of view, but all outward appearances indicate that the Boov are somehow simultaneously social and antisocial creatures.  I’m no sociologist, but somehow this species has managed to survive long enough to figure out space travel, a fact that I still can’t figure out how it could possibly happen.  

Not that I can fault them for being antisocial.  The producers picked voice talent for the entire Boov race, that is either naturally annoying or very good at putting on an annoying voice.  Oh is voiced by Jim Parsons of the The Big Bang theory, a TV show I have never watched.  If his voice in that show is as cloying as in the movie, I’m glad I’ve never watched it.  Steve Martin, as the leader of the Boov, is equally annoying. 

But that doesn’t help the viewers gain sympathy for the Boov, even ones we’re supposed to like.  They come to earth to escape another alien race, the Gorg, at which point, they kidnap all humans and relocate us to Australia so they can live everywhere else.  Somehow they miss Tip (voiced by Rihanna) because she’s got a cat on her head.  Yeah, that doesn’t make sense either.  

Tip and Oh have a chance encounter and she forces him to take her to her mother.  It was cute the way Oh continually spoke of meeting “my mom” because that’s what Tip called her, but that’s one of the few bright spots in an otherwise uninspired, derivative, and thoroughly predictable script.  

The animation was solid.  I can’t point to anything in the animation that stood out, technologically.  I have said before that I think a lot of computer animation these days is an attempt to push the limits of what’s technically possible.  I didn’t see anything that pushed any new boundaries but I don’t think that this is what the producers are going for.  

In the end, this is a very mediocre movie.  A couple of nice laughs, but a generally uninspired script that follows a standard formula that has been shown to work in the past.  I might be a bit hardened because I’ve come to expect more from kids movies, but that’s all I’ve got to say.  My kids liked it, though, so that’s not too bad a thing, is it?

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