Alien invasions are often a terrifying and dramatic event in film. Explosions, lasers and missiles fly as the valiant human heroes fight to protect their planet from the attacking aliens. In the case of “Home,” the latest animated feature from Dreamworks, things progress quite differently.
The invasion of the alien Boov, moving day to the film’s narrator, is frighteningly rapid. Without warning, their whimsical bubble ships descend on the Earth, and within the span of five minutes, the whole of the human population has been vacuumed up and forcibly relocated to the idyllic suburb of Humanstown, Australia. The Boov, despite their advanced technology, are a race of cowards. The best at running away, according to the protagonist Oh, the Boov move from planet to planet fleeing a mysterious alien enemy. Oh, a misfit among his race played by Jim Parsons of ‘the Big Bang Theory,’ fame, decides to hold a housewarming party, but his Sheldon-esque personality repels his fellow aliens. When all of the other Boov avoid him, he decides to send an email invite to draw guests. Unfortunately, he accidentally sends the invite to the whole email system, which oddly includes the ship of the alien menace that keeps the Boov fleeing across the galaxy. Oh becomes a fugitive and must flee his new home, but in doing so he bumps into the film’s other main character Gratuity “Tip” Tucci, and becomes embroiled in her quest to reunite with her mother.
‘Home,’ follows the etched-in-stone tropes of animated children’s movies, down to the adorable animal companion in the form of a cat named Pig, and the plot goes through the essential motions made familiar by other movies aimed at kids. In getting to know one another, the alien Oh and human Tip learn more about themselves and their emotions. Oh, in particular, comes to understand the concept of hope, foreign to the Boov who abandon any endeavor with less than a 50 percent chance of succeeding. By the end of the film, Oh gains the courage to face his fears and it wins him the love of his fellow aliens. The film abounds with quick-paced action, quirky humor as the aliens misunderstand basic human technology and the bickering antics of Oh and Tip. The running joke of the Boov’s imperfect grasp of English does, however, become grating after a while and the broken yet understandable speech of the aliens detracts from some of the film’s more serious moments.
Behind the polished CG, diverse score and snappy jokes, ‘Home,’ does have a message to relate to its audience. Most of the problems in the film, from the Boov’s constant need to flee to the impending doom of the planet, are caused by refusing to deal with trouble and face down fear. When Oh begins to confront things that terrify him and deal with his problems, it not only saves the planet but also earns him the love and admiration of his species.
While there is a distinct lack of the kind of jokes that go over the younger audience’s heads, designed to give the parents a chuckle, they are still peppered throughout the film and with a star-studded voice cast, featuring Jim Parsons as Oh, Rihanna as Tip and Steve Martin as the alien’s leader, ‘Home,’ packs in quick, humorous dialogue, well crafted visuals and a positive message and plenty of heartwarming moments that are sure to make it a crowd pleaser.