by Patrick Bromley
If you weren't already aware from the trailers and marketing, Home is a new animated film from Dreamworks that should be put into a time capsule to represent exactly where middle-of-the-road children's entertainment is in 2015. It doesn't accurately reflect all modern kid's movies because it's not fair to compare it to the movies that Pixar (or even the current incarnation of Disney Animation) is doing. But this is the exact kind of movie that means well when it isn't cynically throwing in bathroom humor for the adults or playing Rihanna songs on the soundtrack for corporate synergy. It will entertain kids for two hours (my 6-year old son had a great time) and possibly provide a distraction when it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray, but it's not the kind of movie that's going to have any real life ahead of it.
Everything else about the film (based on a children's book called The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex) feels like it should simply be released as Computer Animated Children's Film: The Movie. The idea of an alien race whose two greatest attributes are their conformity and their cowardice is kind of funny but never really explored -- Oh doesn't stand out because he refuses to do either, but because he is irritating. The story of Tip (because her full name is Gratuity Tucci, because we are all going to be dead someday) and Oh flying around the globe in a car powered by slushy is unique and lends itself to some neat visuals, but it's mostly used as an excuse for them to listen to Rihanna songs and for Tip to teach Oh to dance so he can say hacky stuff like "My hands are in the air like I just do not care!" And the adults laugh because they "get it" and the kids laugh because their skulls aren't fully formed.