Film & TV

Home – Film Review

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Home is an out-of-this-world family film with a very human touch.

This animated adventure tells the story of Oh (Jim Parsons), an accident-prone member of a nomadic alien species known as the Boov, who are experts in the art of running away from predators. Their self-appointed leader, Captain Smek (Steve Martin), has found his loyal followers a place to hide out: Earth.

The “simple-minded” humans are relocated to remote colonies whilst the aliens make themselves at home in what must be the friendliest invasion ever (they are convinced they’re doing the humans a favour!). Oh then decides to throw a housewarming party for his neighbours, being overly eager to make friends. Things go awry when he hits “send all”, sending the invitation to the entire galaxy and threatening to reveal the Boovs’ hiding place to their mortal enemy, an ancient alien race of superior firepower bent on eliminating them.

After being labelled the Most Wanted Boov on Earth, Oh goes into hiding and has a surprise encounter with a human child called Tip (Rihanna), who has managed to avoid captivity. Despite Tip being angry at the Boov, the two reluctantly team up and embark on a road trip in a flying car to reunite her with her mother (Jennifer Lopez) and save the planet from destruction.

Meet the Boov

There is an obvious cuteness about the aliens themselves, in a similar vein to Despicable Me’s Minions. As a species, they are benevolent, cowardly, reverent of their leader and unsociable amongst themselves – except for Oh, of course. I was delighted upon hearing that Steve Martin would voice the alien leader Smek; his scenes are full of dim-witted hilarity that instantly conjures up images of his unforgettable ‘Ruprecht’ con-act in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Jim Parsons has a great presence and his good mood is infectious even as he seems to constantly irritate his companions. There’s just enough of Sheldon Cooper channelled into his performance (really, the comparison was inevitable), but the eccentricity of his character wears a far friendlier and not-so-smart face compared with his sitcom persona.

There are also some touching moments which reveal the human element beneath all the alien invasions and floating buildings. You can’t help but root for Tip in trying to find her mother and while her unfolding friendship with Oh is predictable, it’s sweet nonetheless.

Rihanna’s distinctive voice is rich with emotion throughout; no doubt choosing pop’s most famous singer to do voice acting wasn’t without justification! Then again, it might have had something to do with the soundtrack licensing, which relies heavily on the vocals of both Rihanna and Lopez. Film politics aside, the songs actually bolster the snappy pacing and nail all the more tender moments just as expertly.

Tip your hat

It’s hard to poke holes in Home because everything about it is just so positive and delightful, even if it follows the prototypical ‘road trip’ movie at times. It’s like a cuter version of Paul, minus the cursing and pot smoking. There’s plenty of visual comedy, courtesy of the Boovs’ lively animation and overall, the art direction is colourful and creative.

It might have been interesting to see more of how the relocation of humanity affected the people, but then this isn’t attempting to be District 9 in reverse, although it shares an initial setup. The focus is very much on the journey of Oh and Tip, watching them bounce from one exciting situation to another.

This journey never lags and is full of laughs that feel truly original, making Home one of the surprise hits of spring 2015.

Home is out now in UK cinemas and for your chance to win a selection of fantastic film ‘goodies’, enter our competition here!