- on Friday, 27 March 2015 15:14
- by Frank Wilkins
Dreamworks Animation’s next salvo in its ongoing battle against Pixar for animated feature supremacy is Home, a ridiculously mixed up little tale with all the charm of a cactus and warmth of an iceberg.
Following the failure of last year’s Penguins of Madagascar, the latest in a string of misfires for the company, Dreamworks is hoping to stave off additional losses, lay-offs, and real-estate purges by revitalizing a catalog that longs for the days of fiscal stalwarts such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.
Unfortunately, not only will Home fail to be that hoped-for salvation, but with a budget exceeding $150 million it could be the rock that sinks the entire ship. It’s a bit sad to see the studio that once gave Pixar a run for its money reach such lows. But that’s what happens when big money is sunk into a poor script, confusingly dull story, and lifeless characters. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with Home.
The screenplay by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember is based on the book, The True Meaning of Smekday written by Adam Rex. The story at the heart of the book is actually quite simple, which might explain why the film fails so miserably. The filmmakers have turned that simplicity and elegance into a bloated behemoth that can’t keep its mind on what it wants to be.
It is about eleven-year-old protagonist Gratuity “Tip” Tucci (voiced by Rihanna) who finds herself alone after an invasion by an intergalactic enemy known as the Boov. To make way for the invading force, all Earth’s humans were sucked up into giant vacuum tubes and relocated to residential block-housing units in the Australian outback. What did Australia do to deserve this?
Anyway, Tip has managed to hide herself from the Boov who resemble tentacled, cotton candy-colored Pac-Men that speak a type of gibberish pig latin. They’re supposed to be cute and endearing, but unlike Despicable Me’s minions, which they appear to patterned after, there’s just nothing adorable about them.
The Boov are led by Captain Smek (voiced by Steve Martin) who launches an edict to capture the accident-prone but earnestly naive outcast Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), the film’s protagonist who inadvertently endangers the entire Boov population by alerting arch-enemy Gorg of their new whereabouts. Oh is at the heart of many of the film’s themes, one of which is that we all make mistakes. Boov are only allowed three strikes, but why is Oh suddenly only ostracized after committing his 62nd mistake? We’re not sure, and the script never answers that oversight nor any of the other numerous nonsensical non-nonsenses that make no sense.
Finding himself on the lam from his fellow Boovians (?), Oh eventually meets up with Tip who reluctantly warms to the idea of allowing him to help find her mom, Lucy (voiced by Jennifer Lopez) who was sucked up during the initial invasion. Oh fancies himself as somewhat of a tech whiz, so he uses the parts from a convenience store Slurpee machine (just go with it) to turn Tip’s family car into some kind of fizzee, bubbly hovering travel device to journey to Paris. There’s a reason they travel to Paris in order to get to Australia, but it makes as little sense as anything else.
As they travel to Paris in the machine they call “Slushious” (autocorrect had a field day with that one), Home becomes somewhat of a buddy road trip movie when Tip and Oh forge a bond of friendship by learning about the other’s culture. Yes, it’s also a culture clash story that preaches how we’re all different from one another on the outside, but can still be friends on the inside.
I’m fairly certain I wasn’t the only audience member noticing the many long bouts of tedium as nothing really happens in the film for long stretches at a time. Whenever the action slowed down (and it was too often), the energy level amongst the kiddos in attendance ramped up with talking, whining, and needing to go to the bathroom. And that’s never a good thing with an animated film’s toughest critics. And a constant barrage of lame, unfunny jokes – surprisingly not too many of which are of the potty humor variety – never does anything to draw us back into the story.
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and some rude humor.
Runtime: 94 mins
Director: Tim johnson
Writer: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember
Cast: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin
Genre: Animation | Adventure | Fantasy
Tagline: Worlds Collide
Memorable Movie Quote: "Oh, no! My hands are in the air like I just do not care!"
Distributor: Dreamworks Animation
Official Site: http://www.meettheboov.com/
Release Date: March 27, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available
Synopsis: When Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, and together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
No details available.