Based on the book; The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and borrowing heavily from the likes of E.T., Home is the story of the alien Boov species, who decide to make earth their new home in an attempt to escape the horrible Borgs that wish to eliminate them. But contrary to the propaganda the Boovs are sold by their leader, Captain Smek (Steve Martin), they do not come in peace. But one couldn’t call it an invasion either. As soon as the Boovs arrive, all humans are gently relocated to a Boov-made human Funland in Australia’s outback. Left behind are Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci (Rihanna) and her cat called Pig.
When misfit ‘Oh’ (Jim Parsons), a well-intentioned but accident-prone and friendless Boov unintentionally invites the entire galaxy to his housewarming party, the Boov’s plan to hide from the Borgs on earth is ruined. On the run from his own people, he soon encounters Tip and Pig and they form an unlikely alliance, which despite their many differences, soon blossoms into a friendship. Oh is on a mission to hide from his would-be captors (hiding is what boovs do best) and Tip is on a mission to find her mum.
While most adults will find Home unimaginative and predictable, kids are going to love it. The film moves at a brisk pace with plenty of colour and action. Boovs themselves are prone to changing colour when they experience certain emotions. Naturally purple, they turn red when they are angry, yellow when they are afraid, blue when they are…well…blue, orange when they are excited, green when they lie and pink when they experience love (a seldom seen colour in boov-ville). The internet-speak that boovs use to speak English will make parents cringe but is nothing less than what one would expect from someone who learnt English via the Internet.
While the themes of embracing otherness and understanding difference are well-placed and poignant issues for young minds, the idea of ‘I don’t mind if you’re different as long as you adopt the way I do things’ is American propaganda at its most obvious.
It is also difficult to separate Jim Parsons and his distinct voice from his well-known character of Dr Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory and while his character is endearing, it’s the writing that breathes life into the role rather than the actor himself.
Rihanna does her job as the self-reliant and confident young Tip, her voice lending more years to the character than the twelve-year old we are presented with, while J.Lo shines in her small role as Tip’s mother, affectionately known to Oh as ‘My Mom’ throughout the film. But Steve Martin is the real shining star here with his goofy portrayal of Captain Smek.
Both Rihanna and J.Lo lend their vocal chords to the soundtrack too.
Creators of original and sensational ideas such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train your Dragon, Home feels like a safe bet for DreamWorks Animation, who are in desperate need of a hit right now. It’s not a miss, but it’s more of a bunt than a home run.