There aren’t a lot of things more bothersome than being explicitly told how to do something instead of letting me figure it out (see: video game tutorials). I’m 19 years old now, but I know animated children’s movies can pitch an out-of-this-world concept without having to explain it entirely point-blank in the first three minutes (see: Planet 51). Oh, the main character and member of the Boov species, begins narrating the movie by immediately answering any questions you didn’t have yet (“Who am I?” “Where are we?” “What do we do?”). It’s convenient because they’re exposition details that they don’t have to focus on for a long time, but the writers could have handled it better by incorporating the answers to those questions in maybe something like quick parable on what it’s like to wake up and live as a Boov.
In all honesty, Home could have done a lot of things better. It’s not horrible, but there are too many missed opportunities where the film could’ve been distinguished as “good” instead of “almost bearable.” There was no thought invested in how the humans should react to having Earth invaded by McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, no effort invested in how to make the animation look even as awesome as Dreamwork’s last outstanding work HTTYD, and no willingness to be anything other than a star-studded cash cow with racial/gender diversity. An almost-death scene with a Rihanna song playing in the background (a probable situation in my foreseeable future), an absent-minded decision to overthrow the king of the Boov race, and a cast of Rihanna, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Lopez demonstrate the lazy commercialism of Home. Also, The Big Bang Theory’s Jim “Bazinga!” Parsons’s voice for an hour and a half is pretty annoying. Parsons’s quirky and aloof sound is fitting for his role, but he does so much unnecessary “saying” instead of “doing” as Oh that it’s enough to drive you mad!
With a title that has barely anything to do with it, Home is a half-baked Rihanna music video with dancing almost-Minions at best. I don’t find it abysmal and something to totally avoid at the movies this weekend, but I definitely don’t appreciate the lack of creativity and exertion put forth by Dreamworks with this movie. In the theater I was in, children with 3D glasses too big for their faces put forth enough adorable laughs from time to time to validate Home as slight but charming. The stakes are high in the animation game now, and I hope Dreamworks can conceive better ideas than Home if it wants to remain a contender against Disney, Pixar, and Studio Ghibli.