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March 21, 2015

Film + EntertainmentReview | by Francesco Cerniglia


An insight into the world of friendly juvenile sci-fi, Home takes its audience on an animated adventure with extra terrestrial Oh (The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons) and old enough to drive yet seemingly under ten, cat owner Tip (Rihanna, yes, as in the singer). The story follows the blossoming of an unlikely intergalactic friendship, as the pair discover how first impressions and social stigma are not grounds on which to base an understanding of ‘the outsider'(or ‘the unknown’).

The Boov, an inept fleeing alien race, invade the world in an attempt to hide from their mortal enemy Borg. With conviction that they are doing humans a favour, the entirety of the human race is relocated to amusement-park-like concentration camps in the Australian outback. Ruled by leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin), the Boov are a population of introverts, who see little point for relationships of any kind. Prioritising productivity and purpose and foregrounding the concept of ‘fleeing’ as first and foremost in their coping-strategy hierarchy, their naively optimistic mantra is ”The Boov are the best at running away.”

Oh, a purple, tentacled alien with an up-do of ears likened to Princess Leia Organa’s infamous locks, is named affectionately after the initial sound, or feeling, his fellow aliens say on greeting him. Notorious for mistakes-making, Oh is ostracised by the Boov, banished for accidentally revealing the race’s new location to enemy Borg in sending out a mass invite to the house-warming party for his new home on Earth. Female protagonist Tip, full name: Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci, is a feisty, lonely human tom-boy, desperately in search of her ‘Mom’, Lucy (Jennifer Lopez) in the aftermath of a world turned upside down by the Boov’s invasion.

Tip and Oh are played by the voices of Rihanna and Jim Parsons respectively and I must confess their relevance within an animated comedy for a target audience of tweens and children is perplexing: Rihanna, a high profile, provocative pop star, notorious for promoting a sexualised image of women and smoking marijuana, married in animated friendship with the actor of a frustratingly popular adult sit-com actor.


Parsons, best known for playing child-minded Sheldon Cooper in CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, seems to perhaps have been a primary influence on the characterisation and speech mannerisms of Home’s character Oh.

Ninety-four minutes of Sheldon Cooper in alien-form gibbering a plethora of annoyingly child-like English grammar offences at an audience of sugar-high children seemed to, surreally, succeed. Perhaps he was both literally and metaphorically “speaking on their level” but this audience of child-strong members seemed truly enthralled and encapsulated by Home.

A grammatical nightmare in the eyes of a professional copywriter, or any audience member over the age of ten, Oh and the race of Boov speak not in Dr Seuss-appeal rhyme but infantile child-like tongue. From the off, this hastily devalues Home’s formally undemanding script.

Achieved, amiable family animation succeeds within script in appeasing the humours of both children and adults, providing an audience of all ages with jokes which read on two levels. This educated execution of children’s animation and family comedy isn’t the case within Home, appealing on one, disinteresting liner plain, to children alone.

Animation-wise, Home, from DreamWorks Animation, falls short as aesthetically the film is basic and primary, successfully appealing to an adolescent target audience, as you’d expect, though its simplistic use of colour and shape in order to dictate protagonists and antagonists is successfully implemented as an informative narrative aid for the intended puerile audience.

Home’s sound design is however, a talking point. Sound is key in animation and the use of humorous and emotive sound effects is a successful attribute of this film, well distributed and allocated at apt moments, managing to uplift an unsophisticated aesthetic. Despite this, the score itself is less-well accomplished (speaking in Boov).

It felt apparent that signing Rihanna came with a clause allowing an extensive quota of her music to be used in the film. Though Home is marketed at children the soundtrack is worryingly adult, pairing innocent ‘fun flying scenes’ with the a-typical Club-Anths you’d find blasting within the confines of badly DJ-ed Westend clubs.


Rihanna in fact created an entire 8-song-strong concept album for the film, to be released on March 24th, (don’t wait up) whilst co-star Jennifer Lopez also jumped on the self-promotion band wagon, releasing “Feel The Light” on February 25th.

Admittedly Lopez’s is far more film-appropriate but it does feel somewhat like Home was a synergistic promotional strategy between DreamWorks Animation and pop music that caters to a fresh new generation of malleable-minds.

The themes within the film though, do attempt to speak to (the subconscious of) children. Assumptive first impressions, conformity and normality, are all revoked within the narrative, in an attempt to empower a brand new generation of youth (who we can only prey, take no inspiration from the soundtrack). Let’s see if it’s worked, watch this space (in ten years).

Home is out in UK cinemas from March 20th

Charlie Fooks