Home is a difficult movie to talk about. Mainly because it is a massive waste of potential. There is an echo of a good film here. Hints of nuanced morals and allegories. But all of that is thoroughly kneecapped by being shoved into the template of a kid-friendly movie.
After a surprisingly unique (though not necessarily good) opening, the plot falls further and further into paint by numbers, generic, market-tested terribleness. It is a movie that gets gradually worse as it goes along. It is so desperate to hit all the clichés that it loses any goodwill it might have gained with the audience.
And that depresses me a little. The creators, I think, had such good ideas when they started out. You can see it too. There are a few quiet moments that really work. When the characters are silent, and the scene is just allowed to play out on animation alone, it’s gorgeous. The one thing you will not hear me say anything negative about is the animation. DreamWorks has always had a talent for fluid, though admittedly slightly rubbery, movements, and the squid-like Boov take every advantage of that.
Then a character opens their mouth. I like Jim Parsons, I really do, and it’s not his fault, but the Boov he plays sounds idiotic. The strange messed up grammar can occasionally come off as charming, but most of the time it sounds like a toddler trying to read aloud. It’s annoying, and flat-out ridiculous to hear what should be clever lines about fear, family, choice, risk, and even humanity being spouted by a squid that doesn’t even properly understand possessive adjectives.
I brought up the wasted allegories before, and I’m going to do it again, because I’m a bit pissed about it. Several times intriguing concepts come up, usually in dialogue, and then are just thrown to the side as soon as they fulfill their plot-relevant roles. It’s mentioned that the Boov do not attempt any activity that has a less than fifty percent probability of success. But they never actually show them calculating, or even utilizing this outside of the two times it’s important.
And then there’s the big one. The one that manages to saturate the entire film, but is utterly wasted. In the first five minutes, the Boov relocate the entire human race to Australia, storing them in massive reservations. The Boov even go so far as to say they are “helping them” by doing this. The similarities to what was done to the Native Americans is practically tangible, but nothing comes of it. The ending just brushes it under the table, and leaves on the idea that within two weeks all is well. The humans and Boov somehow live in harmony. No one has any ill will, everybody’s cool with it.
Which brings me properly to the ending, which contains all of these lovely staples of the genre.
- A false sad ending, where one character seems dead for a few minutes.
- A villain who was really just misunderstood.
- A “plot twist” so obvious you could guess it an hour before it happens.
- A heel turn personality shift, where one character turns friendly to the main character.
- A party with a pop song playing as the ending scene.
Like I said at the beginning, this movie had potential. It could have been good. DreamWorks has a decent track record when it comes to out-there concepts. And children’s films lately have shown that you can tell deep stories, with darker topics, and not upset kids. The Lego Movie had death in it, Paddington dealt with immigration and racism, and ParaNorman explored bullying. You can tell mature stories. But Home didn’t. Home chose to play it safe, to rely on clichés, and to avoid the implications of the narrative. It’s a disservice to water something down in the name of making a “kids movie.” I’m not the first reviewer to say that, and I won’t be the last.
It really is a shame.
So, with a heavy heart, let’s go to the checklist.
TO THE CHECKLIST!
- The movie is clever and smart. There are hints of genuine cleverness, but it’s offset by dumb jokes and predictable parts. ½ Check.
- The viewer experiences the emotion or tone that was intended by the director. This comedy movie made me chuckle once, and that was only because it went really dark for a second. So, no.
- The main characters are interesting, dynamic, and not stereotypical. Ha-ha, no. They are fairly standard characters, save for the whole alien species thing.
- The movie is not a remake, prequel, sequel, or a mid-quell. If it is one, it needs to be better than the original. Check.
- Engaging and well-paced. Basically stuff happens at a good pace. An alien invasion takes less than five minutes, while a knock knock joke takes several. No check.
- Has a story worth telling. It could have. But no.
- Has a satisfying resolution. Maybe if I hadn’t seen a kid’s movie before, ever.
- General technical excellence. Camera angles are good, and the lighting is pleasing to look at. HELL YES! CHECK!
- The movie does not have any plot holes in it. More like “plot cracks”, but there’s enough of them for it to be a problem.
- Not predictable, story does not follow a paint by numbers plot. Nope, it’s so standard I was practically guessing entire sections.
Which brings us to the deplorable score of:
A 2½ out of ten.
Giving it a final score of:
- Score: 2½ out of 10
- Buy or Rent: Rent, I guess.
- Rewatch Value: None.
Special thanks to: Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, and Zeony.
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