Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Home Review

After several years of dominating the animation scene alongside Pixar, Dreamworks Animation Studios has really struggled as of late. Dreamworks of ten years ago was able to provide the world with plenty of $200 million movies or at least get close. Since the end of 2012, though, things started to go south as Rise of the Guardians was a pretty big disappointment. Since that movie, only The Croods could be considered a win for the studio. The highly anticipated sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, couldn't even get wings last year as it wound up $40 million below its predecessor, despite expectations that it would out-earn that movie by quite a bit. After the financial disaster of Penguins of Madagascar, Dreamworks has totally revamped everything. Enter Home. Given this sketchy recent history, was Home looking like the home-run type of movie that would put Dreamworks back on its feet? Regardless of how you would answer that, turns out Home has become a huge win for Dreamworks. Yeah, I don't really understand why. But congratulations Dreamworks.

As far as my opinion on the movie, this is a very mixed bag actually. Allow me to describe to you the premise of this movie. There's this alien race known as the Boov. The Boov are running away from this other alien race and decide to take over Earth as a hiding spot. There's this one Boov named Oh that always screws things up and thus none of the other Boovs like. After a certain series of events that finds him running from the other Boov, he finds himself teamed up with a young human girl named Tip, who got separated from her mother when the Boov invaded. If you haven't seen this movie, think of all the possible scenarios that could happen in a kids movie where aliens invade and a young girl is teamed up with an alien. Then take a minute and try to think about exactly what happens in this particular movie. I'll even let you go watch the trailer for help. Now if you came to me with your prediction as to what happens in this movie, I will bet that you will be mostly right. That's the problem here. You can see exactly the direction this movie is going from a mile away. Then once you get watching the movie, not even halfway through you will be able to accurately and easily guess every single twist and turn that the movie tries to take you. It doesn't feel like Dreamworks put a whole lot of thought or effort into it at all. In fact, I'm sure they're very befuddled right now because they've struggled to find success with other movies that they definitely put a lot of effort into and yet the one that the succeeds is one of their lazier efforts.

Despite this very average and very safe effort, there are a few aspects of this movie that do make it a lot more enjoyable than the atrocities that were Turbo and Penguins of Madagascar. The big thing that almost saves the movie is the voice acting of one Jim Parsons. If you don't know Jim Parsons, it's probably because you've never watched the TV show The Big Bang Theory. In which case, I would highly recommend you fix that because that is one of the few modern sitcoms that I really enjoy. If you have watched that, you will know that Jim Parsons plays the hilarious character of Sheldon Cooper. I absolutely love Sheldon in that show and so do a lot of other people as he has one several awards for that role. In Home, Jim Parsons essentially plays the exact same character. In fact, I've been telling most people that it's Sheldon Cooper that stars in this movie, not Jim Parsons. You can dock him points if you want to for the lack of creativity, but in my opinion this actually works. I was actually laughing quite about at everything that Oh did for the same reasons that I laugh at like everything Sheldon does. It was great!

On the other side of things, the main girl is played by this pop singer named Rihanna. Being quite honest, I have no idea why Rihanna is in this movie. Is she bad? No. She's serviceable. But that's it. Serviceable. However, the problem is that there are so many other actresses that could've played that role and done a better job. Rihanna was just cast so that they could advertise the fact that Rihanna is in the movie and hopefully sell more tickets. That kinda bothers me because she's not even an actress. She's a singer. Heck, that same story is what happens in her singing career. She's a serviceable singer. Some of her songs are good. But I have no idea why she is so dang popular. If you were to ask me the most popular singer/group of this generation, I would be forced to say Rihanna because it's true. Just look at her discography. Then other singers recognize that and she gets featured on so many songs by other artists, not to make the song quality better, but to make the song more popular. It bothers me. So I'm so frustrated that Dreamworks fell into this stupid trap because there were so many more people that could've played this role of the girl in this movie and done a much better job. Then there's the fact that pretty much all the songs in the soundtrack were from Rihanna. It was as if Rihanna made a deal with them. If she were to accept the role, they had to use a bunch of her music. Her songs didn't fit with the theme of the movie. They didn't. But they were there and thus I ended up hating most of the soundtrack.

So like I said, this movie was a very mixed bag for me. The story of the movie was totally boring. I was not invested in it at all. But Jim Parsons made the movie really entertaining at times. I laughed a lot because of him, which made me the movie manageable. But then there's the whole Rihanna thing that just was frustrating. Ultimately, though, this is a movie that is made for kids and the kids are sure to love it. They won't care if the story line is predictable. They probably don't even know who Rihanna is. They are sure to laugh and have a lot of fun with this, so if you are looking for a movie to take your kids to then you should really give this one a shot because there's no other real options until the middle of June when Inside Out comes out. But I always say that studios can and should make movies that are entertaining for kids and adults. Dreamworks has made many of these movies that I have loved. When I look back on all of Dreamworks' movies, this isn't at the bottom. There have been several that are much worse. However, this is nowhere near the top in terms of Dreamworks quality. So if you are an adult with no kids and your looking for a good movie to see, go see something else. My grade for Home is a 6.5/10.

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