By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest) and James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
E: Home is truly where the heart is, and in my case, that’s with living in the Pacific Northwest. In DreamWork‘s case, that message gets gently delivered when Oh (Jim Parsons) just does not know how to belong.
He’s an outcast in his own community. When the Boov aliens are always on the run from a menacing alien Gorg race (Brian Stepanek), there’s never any time for them to settle in and be neighbourly. These simpletons are led by Captain Smek (Steve Martin) who is even worse. And when they decide to claim Earth as their own and relocate the entire human population elsewhere, I’m left wondering if the billions of people can even live on one single continent? Well, tossing logic aside, I can accept a few questionable moments in this film’s story direction. Overall, it’s an enjoyable family film which delivers strong messages.
J: The story of Home is a double-edged sword. On one side it delivers a positive message about friendship. No matter what you look like or what background you’re from home is where your friends and family are.
The side that cuts is the message about trying to integrate into your new planet (country) rather than forcing your old planet ways onto the people of your new one. A message that is more relevant today then ever before
But overall the film’s outlook is still a positive one and the cast are there to help it along. I was glad Martin was not the main character and that Parsons and Rihanna (Gratuity “Tip” Tucci) took centre stage. Rihanna surprised me with her acting chops and how suitable her voice is for an animated character.
E: Tia certainly has a lot of personality and sass. I like her, but I think the cat (Pig) is the one who has stolen the show. There was an adorable smarminess and sense of restfulness that I adored. He was like Azrael (Gargamel’s pet) from The Smurfs. I’m sure children will want to own a stuffed doll of him if the merchandise appears for this movie.
Oh, on the other hand, maybe not. I think of him as a more smarter version of B.O.B. from Monsters vs Aliens, to which is how I’d rank this film in terms of appeal. The familiarity helps for longtime fans of DreamWorks’ products. As for whether or not it’s better than this company’s last film, Penguins of Madagascar, I’d say yes. The humour is not so forced but neither was it laugh-out-loud hilarious.
J: The humour didn’t have me bursting at the seams either but the laugh was more one would find in a slice of life anime series. And as for Pig, I couldn’t help being reminded of another rather pudgy cat which may have been the original inspiration. Jingoro from the anime series Kimagure Orange Road was the original Pig in many ways. I only wish they were selling him as a stuffy now. If it came down to a choice between the two, I would know who would win.
E: I would love to find out from the producers on who is right, either James or I. Anime is big, but not everyone will be familiar with all these dated series that my antiquated buddy frequently dwells upon. I mean, he still watches Buster Keaton silent films at home!
For the villain, I can’t help but get the sense the menacing costume takes a tone of familiarity ala Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or The Dark Crystal. I enjoyed the character designs. The CGI is top-notch as always (the hair detailing must have used the same algorithms that was written for How To Train Your Dragon 2) and the 3D popped in very brief moments to make the cinematic upgrade worthwhile to catch. It makes me want to say to all the producers in movie-making land, “Save the 3D eye candy for CGI films and ditch it altogether for live-action films.”
J: Agreed, it doesn’t work most of the time for live action. To me it is an exercise in how to draw as much money out of the movie going public. Gone are the days where I had to get over the initial shock of a theatre charging $10 for Batman (Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson). And since the prices of admission were raised yet again, we can hear the moaning from the production companies of yet another year with a decline in movie ticket sales.
I haven’t seen a really good live action 3D since Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser. Let’s face it, people will get tired of this new trend and companies and theatres will take notice when the revenue drops. As for a decline in home video sales, all I can say is I’m charged $25 for a DVD & Bluray combo but $20 for a DVD. The math doesn’t add up.
E: Well, we’re not here to criticize the sales of a declining optical media market, but I do enjoy holding a physical product over a digital one for the simple reason I love my video extras.
When Home releases to video, I’ll definitely buy it and the 4-minute short film called Almost Home better be included! That sets up the whole world, and somewhere in the featurettes better be mention of ‘The True Meaning of Smekday‘ that the movie is inspired from. The film has gotten me curious enough to look at the original material by Adam Rex
DreamWorks has a better success rate in adapting children’s books to film than in trying to drag out properties like Madagascar (and Penguins of) when they are pretty much past their prime. Now that’s something I’d write home about.
3½ Stars out of 5