Dreamworks’ “Home” Reminds Us Why Pixar is always #1
By Scott Kurland
Starring; Jim Parsons, Matt Jones, Rhianna, Jennifer Lopez, and Steve Martin
Director: Tim Johnson
Dreamworks animation has been on fire lately, which is surprising because it started off with a rocky start in 1998. The almighty animation studio opened strong with “Antz”, but faltered with films like “The Road To El Dorado” , “Sinbad Legend Of The Seven Sea”, and “Flushed Away”. However, in 2007 Dreamworks found their footing and produced mega hits that were as thoughtful and were more endearing than Pixar. So why is this week’s film “Home” a step backwards in their wheel house. This is my review of the cankerous and agonizing “Home”. That's right folks this is one of those reviews, I'm out for CGI blood...or should I say pixels.
“Home” is the story of Oh (Jim Parson) a member of the alien race known as the “Boov”. The Boov is lead by Captain Smek (Steve Martin), a pretentious and greedy captain who invades Earth and relocates humans. Oh accidentally causes the destruction of the Boov using his email account. Now he’s a fugitive and decides to runaway with the help of a young Earthling named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci (Rhianna) who is using Oh to find her mom (Jennifer Lopez). Will the Boov find Oh and is he truly guilty?
“Home” is based on the children’s book “The True Meaning of Smekday”, and although it’s an adorable children’s book, there’s some things that won’t translate well on screen. Part of the problem with this film is the dialog and performances of the actors, especially Jim Parsons. Parsons is doing the same old Sheldon Cooper performance that he now does in every film or television show he’s a part of. Although he makes Oh more approachable and cuddly, he still has that Sheldon obliviousness. I’m a fan of Parsons he was great in films like “The Great New Wonderful” and the sleeper comedy “The Big Year”, but he is not a children’s actor. He’s been getting roles in lots of animation and children’s programing, but it seems like a forced performance in all those roles. As if studios are saying “Hey kids, your parents like this guy, you need to like him too.”
As for the dialog, that isn’t Parsons, Martin, or Matt Jones’ fault, they’re just reading awful dialog. The Boov talk so bizarrely in jumbled Dr. Seuss speak. To fully explain what it sounds like think Mush Mouth from “Fat Albert”, then cross that with Robert Evans at the height of his drug abuse rampage on Hollywood right after he made “The Godfather”. The Boov are supposed to look adorable and sound even cuter, they don’t. They look terrifying and sound crazy, and I hope that children don’t start talking like them because they'll drive parents crazy.
My biggest problem with this film is how they force characters and trends upon us. Rhianna plays Gratuity Tucci, nicknamed “Tip”. Get it Gratuity, Tip, yeah they think they’re so hilarious. I had no compassion for this character, she has no real backstory. Her quest to find her mother is pointless because we never see flashbacks of the mother. We see one video of the mom, but they totally could have done a call back to the mom or a flashback. Nope, we get nothing. I guess my big problem was with the casting of Tip, because it was clearly a vanity casting. Rhianna is clearly only doing this film so that her music can be the soundtrack. Who is Tip’s favorite singer? YUP, it’s Rhianna, they aren’t even trying anymore. Also we have this entire build up to meet the mother, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, her dialog is replaced by music....sung by Jennifer Lopez. I really hate this film.
“Home” destroys all the goodwill Dreamworks had done in the past with films like "Shrek", "How To Train Your Dragon", and you may be shocked to hear this "Mr. Peabody & Sherman". Those were sweet and quirky films. "Home" is the worst animated film I have ever seen. I love how this film gets panned by critics, but receives a huge box office, and “Rise Of The Guardians” a wonderful Dreamworks Christmas film tanks. “Home” is an obnoxious little stinker, that reminds us that just when Dreamworks is about to beat Pixar, they face plant at the finish line. Pixar is guilty of “Cars”, one of the worst animated films ever, but Dreamworks has so many more films including this one. Save your money and sanity skip “Home”. You’ll thank me later.
REVIEW RATING: D+