Dave White
Home Review

Dave's Rating:


Give Gorg a chance.

The Boov -- a multicolored, multi-legged species of creature from space -- are good at running away from those who would seek to destroy them. And they are constantly being chased by a menacing race of aliens known as Gorg. The Gorg, who travel across the galaxy in enormous, triangle-shaped power-ships, refuse to stop hounding the Boov, but nobody seems to know why. The Boov just run and hide.

In their neverending search for a safe place to live, the Boov discover Earth and its easily conquerable citizenry. The Boov simply arrive, vacuum up all the humans, and relocate them against their will to Australia. Done.

But one human, a little girl named Tip (the voice of Rihanna), finds herself left behind in the mass refugee movement, separated from her mother (Jennifer Lopez). The loner Boov who discovers her is a misfit named Oh (Jim Parsons), so named because his fellow Boov treat him with withering disdain, delivering exhausted sighs of "oh" every time he shows up on the scene.

After Oh wrecks the Boov's safety-on-Earth plan with a party evite that accidentally travels the galaxy toward a Gorg inbox, he's a fugitive from his own kind. So together, Tip and Oh must search the globe in a flying car, not only to reunite mother and daughter, but to fix Oh's error.

It's actually more complicated than that, but explaining how would ruin some third act surprises, and those surprises are part of what give Home its sense of identity. With its Lilo and Stitch-like characters, and its brightly colored design, Home risks being too similar to other recent animated stories of aliens and humans. But it departs from the realm of the generic with inventive laughs, as well as with sly messages about misjudging evidence and jumping to conclusions. It is, in fact, a sweet-natured morality tale about the consequences of aggression and selfishness (or, for adults ready for subtext, colonialism and unilateral force between nations).

Home is full of clever gags and lovable creatures (and maybe one too many distracting Rihanna songs), with Parsons its MVP. He's got a voice readymade for goofy animated adventures, and an ability to communicate childlike confusion. Meanwhile, the Boov's awkward grasp of English is consistently funny, its idioms treated literally, like an appliance instruction manual run through bad Google translation.

Director Tim Johnson (Antz, Over The Hedge) runs an efficient, child-friendly ship, with fast-paced comic timing and a not overbearing sense of heartwarmth. The script from Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, adapting from Adam Rex’s book, lands firmly on the side of gentle kindness rather than wise-cracking (although it doesn't ignore the latter), with an emphasis on learning to live harmoniously with others. The aliens from Independence Day might disagree with that message, but that's a story for an older, more war-ready demographic anyway.


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