Movie Review: Home

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When the Earth is invaded by aliens, one such alien teams up with a teenage girl to escape and find her mother.

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Tim Johnson. 2015

A race of aliens called the Boov have been travelling the galaxy, colonising planet after planet as they attempt to escape planet destroyers the Gorg. During their “friendly” relocation of all humans, a little girl called Tip (Rihanna) gets left behind, separated from her mother. Meanwhile, an unpopular Boov called Oh (Jim Parsons) accidentally sends out a message leading the Gorg to Earth. Oh runs into Tip while running away from his fellow aliens, and they form an alliance, with Oh promising to help Tip find her mom if Tip helps him try to fix his mistakes. They learn about each other’s cultures as they travel together, but their bond is built on frail trust and the Boov are pretty much everywhere.

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Why do modern filmmakers assume children are morons? There are so many ideas in Home, interesting themes of cross-cultural misunderstandings and appreciation. There’s a lot of potential for it to be a genuine, moving, emotional film that really touches kids’ hearts. Home is a movie with a lot of clever or cute ideas that don’t quite gel into a satisfactory film. Instead, it’s like the soda the car our heroes hijack runs on: colourful and fizzy, but it rots your teeth. One of the biggest problems I had with Home is that it refuses to go dark enough to make the uplifting moments lift you up. It’s a film that, for the most part, looks really good. It’s a full-on technicolour daydream, its rainbow palette lending itself to slick visuals. Oh’s purple design and tendency to change colour depending on his mood (or his behaviour? Lying isn’t really a “mood”) contributes to the overall flashiness, which I’m sure is enthralling for the little ones. It’s also written at a very kid-friendly level.

The one-liners are occasionally funny but largely forgettable. Oh speaks in an annoyingly cutesy pseudo-English that I’m sure plenty of parents were sick of the children imitating a week after seeing this film. Jim Parsons does what he can, but ultimately all he really can do is sound like Jim Parsons. Oh is nerdy and whiny and misunderstood by his people, mostly because he’s genuinely annoying a lot of the time. The Boov are fairly underdeveloped, as are the Gorg, but for different reasons. Then there’s Tip. Tip should be awesome. She’s a tenacious, resourceful 12-year-old badass who’s struggling to make it on her own. And it’s true that she has her moments, but overall, the vocal performance from Rihanna fails to really deliver. The supporting voice work is better (and there isn’t much of it; this film has a sparse cast). It’s all too simple, too safe, and fails to hit the emotional notes needed to make the character connect. There are a few nice moments between Oh and Tip once they hit their stride, and the latter third of the movie is more effective than its beginning. Ultimately, though, it’s a very fluffy and unfulfilling film.

Home on IMDb

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