Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
One of my all-time favourite songs in a Broadway Musical is from The Wiz and it starts with “When I think of home, I think of a place where there’s love overflowing.” When I think of HOME, the latest DreamWorks Animated Feature, I can feel the love but what I am missing is the passion.
The Story is about a race of Aliens, called the Boov, that Commandeer the planet Earth to escape from their Enemy, the Gorg. Before inhabiting Earth, the Boov suck up all the Human inhabitants, using intergalactic vacuum cleaners, and relocate the earthlings to a pastel Wonderland away from all the major cities before they move into their fully furnished, rent-free dwellings in Manhattan. The one Human who escapes from the alien Molly Maid clean-up is the feisty Tip (voiced by Rihanna) as she was mistaken for a cat, due to her pet firmly implanted on her head during the invasion. Once relocated, the overly excitable, hyper-kinetic Boov named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory) accidentally reveals their location to their Enemy via a vast email invitation to a party. The two meet and join forces to accomplish their individual goals: Tip wants to reunite with her Mother, voiced by Jennifer Lopez but drawn to look remarkably like Sarah Palin and Oh needs to go to Paris to thwart a Gorg invasion. Along the way, they learn more about each other – it’s an animated road trip!
There is much to be admired watching HOME. The 3D effects are used sparingly but effectively. The colour palate is vibrant with candy coated glee. Jim Parsons is outstanding as the voice of Oh. His comic timing, “Yoda”-ing and butchering the English language, had me laughing throughout. Whereas Rihanna does an accomplished job as the voice of Tip and I loved how she brought her Barbadian roots into the mix, she lacks the enthusiasm and joie-de-vivre Parsons brings to every line.
The biggest disappointment for me was this sense of déjà vu throughout the Movie. It’s impossible not to think of the Minions whenever one sees the Boov on-screen. The Gorg look like a distant Cousin of the Transformers. The Songs supplied by Rihanna and JLo are appealing but generic compared to what we’d expect of then. Comic Genius, Steve Martin, has little to do or say as the leader of the Boov. The whole “fish-out-of-water” gimmick works significantly better in the recent animated feature, The Penguins of Madagascar.
That said, I recommend seeing HOME mostly for the superb job from Jim Parsons. Young Girls will also easily love and relate to the spunkiness of Tip and there’s enough action for the young lads to be entertained. The Parents may be a little tougher to please.
20th Century Fox release HOME Friday, March 27, 2015.