Sunday, March 29, 2015

Home Review: More Down To Earth then Out of this World

Last spring, Dreamworks animation released Mr.Peabody and Sherman. Much to my surprise, I ended up enjoying the adaption; but before the movie started, I saw something that puzzled me. Before Peabody and Sherman, Dreamworks featured short dealing with aliens trying to find a new planet to call home. At the time, I thought nothing of it but then I would see this short again attached to How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was then that I realized that this short was for Dreamworks' next film: Home.  Based on Adam Rex's children story The True Meaning of Smekday, Home was among Dreamworks newer film for the studio; and it was set to arrive in theaters in the of Fall of 2014. That was until the studio decided to push Home to a 2015 spring release due to business concerns. In any case, this animated film has finally hit theaters, and though its box office results are to be determine, could Home be another hit for Dreamworks Animation?

Home follows Oh (Jim Parsons): an awkward being apart of a race called the Boov. The Boov, known for running away, come to Earth and decide to make the planet their home; regardless of what the humans have to say. Everything for the Boov is going well; that is until Oh accidentally sends a message to the Boov's enemy,  the Gords, about their whereabouts. On the run from his fellow Boov, Oh encounters a girl named Tip (Rihanna). After a rocky start, the two travel the world in order to find Tip's mother and clear Oh's name.

Home's story was simplistic in nature; which was both a good and bad thing. With elements such as a plot dealing with unlikely friends and excepting who you are, Home brought nothing new to the table. However how Home handles these plot elements is what made all the difference. Instead of having factors such as Oh lying Tip being a major plot point  to the movie, the story would only use as a stepping stone to the other factors in the story. While this could be conceived as poor pacing, I found it to be refreshing as it gave Home's some merit to it.  With the relationship of Oh and Tip being the driving factor of the plot, the story had plenty of moments to it; both enjoyable as well as touching. Even though I have seen this kind of story before, Home's plot managed to be a simple adventure about friendship that was easy to follow as well as enjoy.

Like the elements in the story, Home's characters suffered from recycled factors. However, this is not to say the cast was the bad; particularly the two leads. The characters of Oh and Tip have been done time and again, but the two were effective thanks to their building friendship. Jim Parson plays to his strength as Oh, which managed to work in favor for the alien character. Rihanna on the other was a little inconsistent. Her performance as Tip was not bad, but there were indeed signs of inexperience. The remainder of the cast was tolerable, but they did not have a major impact to the film. Steve Martin as Captain Smek was funny enough; while Jennifer Lopez as Tip's mother was just there. Home was definitely a movie that relied on its lead characters to drive the cast, and thankfully the duo managed to carry this element.

I have said it once and I will say it again: saying that a Dreamworks film has good animation is a mute point. Home did had stellar animation, but it was not the best I have seen from Dreamworks. Aside from a few shots, there was little definition to the animation to really grasp my attention. Granted the colorful nature in the Home's animation did work for the overall tone. Home's humor was more tolerable then I thought it was going to be. While it did not have any laugh out loud moments, the comedy was effective thanks to the witty dialogue. Then there was Home's soundtrack, which was very inconsistent. While the score from Lorne Balfe was fine, there was an excessive need to feature pop song; with most of them sung by Rihanna. While the songs did work for the movie's tone and the scenes they played over, some of them went on for too long; which led to the music being very distracting.

Home is not the best film from Dreamworks Animation, but that is not to say the movie was bad. Though it suffers from many cliched factors, this animated film had a good sense to it which showed in the movie's plot and characters. Needless to say, Home can an adventure for the whole family; but in the case of animated movies this one is a fine example of what you see is what you get.

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