Home (DreamWorks) – Review

Samuel Alexander

Samuel is an eternal student, with an animation degree and then some under his belt. Social media expert with a penchant for illustration and creative writing. Horror fan and wannabe scream queen. Lover of films, video games, cartoons, a good cup of tea and beards.

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I’m a lover of DreamWorks’ classic 2D animated features, so naturally I can’t help but be a little disappointed each time the studio releases another CGI film. DreamWorks’ Home, however, is another film that helps ease that disappointment with its whimsical adventure and colourful cast of characters.

Home tells the story of Oh (Jim Parsons), a clumsy and awkward Boov, and a sassy teenage girl named Tip (Rihanna). The Boov are a race of aliens that are constantly on the run and in hiding, with Oh being the only one that sees the value in things like friendship.

The Boovs set their eyes on Earth as their latest hiding place, relocating the entire human population to Australia. A lucky escape leaves Tip as the only human not to be relocated, but her mother (Jennifer Lopez) isn’t so lucky.

After an unlikely encounter, Oh and Tip start their adventure across a variety of colourful locations (Paris, baby!) with a series of montages on a journey to reunite Tip and mum.

After appearing in the abysmal Battleship, I didn’t exactly have high hopes when I saw Rihanna’s name attached to an animated feature. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised with her animation debut!

Rihanna gives a performance that is both beautiful and believable, and fleshes out the truly engaging character that is Tip. It’s so refreshing to have a black female character in a leading role – especially in an animation! That’s not to mention a female character that actually looks her age with believable proportions rather than a stick thin waist and exaggerated chest.

Tip is everything the character designers at Disney should wish their princesses could be. Rihanna also (unsurprisingly) makes her way onto the soundtrack with past recognisable hits in addition to the original powerful R&B ballad, ‘Towards the Sun’. Someone’s definitely going to be getting some more love on my playlist.

I can’t say I’m a massive fan of The Big Bang Theory, yet I see a lot of Sheldon (Parson’s character in the show) in the character of Oh, and it works. Still, I found the character to be far less compelling than Tip. However, whenever he’s opposite his human sidekick Oh really shines.

The pair bounce off each other, with Oh’s awkward friendliness contrasting with Tip’s moody teenage attitude ticking off the good old ‘unlikely friendship’ trope box nicely. Oh definitely grew on me as the film went on, being the source of many a laugh and heartbreaking moments, despite his weak start.

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One of my favourite things about the pairing is that they’re just friends! I don’t think we’re about to see any inter-species relations any time soon in kids’ films, and I’m okay with that. It’s wonderful to not have a romantic element tacked on to the film unnecessarily (or worse, have the rest of the plot centre around it). It’s a trend I’d like to see less of until more animation studios are willing to stand up against the heterocentric nature of mainstream animated film (Here’s looking at you Disney! Your efforts with Paranorman are appreciated, Laika!). Given to any other studio, an unnecessary character would’ve likely been thrown into this film as Tip’s love interest. Well done for not giving in, DreamWorks!

In addition to our main stars, Steve Martin provides the laughs as the pompous and energetic Boov Leader, Captain Smek. Here’s hoping he and the rest of the Boov aren’t subject to a series of sequels and spin offs like Despicable Me’s Minions.

A delightful film for the whole family or animation enthusiasts, Home is a surprisingly heart-warming story filled with slapstick moments that’ll have you rolling in the aisles and tear-jerking twists, it’s got something for everyone. Its lessons to learn might not be all that new and the character development might not even be the most original, but I found myself leaving the cinema with a smile, fully satisfied with my cinematic adventure.

My verdict? Simple, good film!

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