I was put off by Home right from the beginning by the “language” invented for the aliens from another planet, called the Boov. It slaughters the English language by messing with the grammar, e.g., “I needs help. You are arresting (arrested). Can I come into the out?” I’ll be interested to hear what children actually think of this, but I doubt they will find it very funny. Apparently, the grammar is in Adam Rex’s 2007 book, Home, on which the film is based, and his “Smek Smeries” have been very popular, so maybe children do get a kick out of the messed up grammar. The book was adapted for film by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Home is a Dreamworks 3D production directed by Tim Johnson (Over the Hedge, Antz).
The story is slow to get started with anything meaningful or entertaining. We have to listen to the insufferable Captain Smek (Martin) demonstrate his idiocy. For one thing, he has led his people to earth on the run from his archenemy, the Gorg, mistakenly thinking he is helping earthlings by relocating them to a desert somewhere. This is done by gently vacuuming them up into the sky. But one little girl, Gratuity “Tip” Tucci (Rihanna), has managed not to be captured, so she still remains. She encounters one of the runaways from the Boov tribe, Oh (Jim Parsons), who is on the run from being arrested for making too many mistakes. For instance, the lonely Oh decided to have a party and mistakenly sent the invitation to the Gorg along with everyone else. After major difficulties in getting to know each other, Tip and Oh become allies in trying to find Tip’s mother, who was taken to the Desert Planet.
There are sequences with Tip’s car and Oh, which are delightfully entertaining, especially when he’s able to convert it into a space ship to aid in the mother search. As they get to know each other, Oh learns the value of family—something missing from the Boov culture—and Tip learns that the Boov aren’t all bad.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the film is the music. Rihanna created a concept album for it, including her “Towards the Sun”, and incorporated additional songs by others, such as one by Jennifer Lopez (voice of mother Lucy), “Feel the Light.” Of course, since the film is for younger children, the filmmakers again find it necessary to include fart jokes, toilet paper scenes out of context, and adding a 3rd option to #1 and #2. It amuses me that filmmakers continue to do this; some children laugh, but most don’t. So I’ve concluded it must be the filmmakers’ own preoccupations.
Except maybe for the appreciation of family, it is only at the end of the film that some of Home’s important messages come through, and these are gone through so fast I doubt children will pay much attention. They include messages about change being something good at times; it’s OK to make mistakes; and it’s important to have courage, face your problems, and deal with them.
Home isn’t a bad film, and younger children are likely to enjoy it.
Home, Dreamworks’ elementary sci-fi adventure
Grade: C By Donna R. Copeland