I love animated movies – I really, really love them. They are the consummate art of cinema in my eyes – to do what Pixar and Disney and Studio Ghibli have done for decades now is an amazing feat and have contributed some cornerstones of our culture. So it is bitterly disappointing to discover an animated film that doesn’t live up to its predecessors, and is pretty much plain bad. Home, the simply titled animated comedy from Dreamworks Animation, sees the hit-and-miss studio acquiring another miss. It will be very difficult for any animated film this year to top this one as being the worst of the year, and sadly, as much as this pains me to say, maybe even the worst film Dreamworks has ever done.
First of all, I want to give this film a bit of praise. By casting Jim Parsons as the main character, it made this film slightly less of a trainwreck. I dislike the fact that Parsons has four Emmys for a one-note character on The Big Bang Theory, but one can’t deny that the man has a unique voice, and one that is very suitable for an animated character. He plays Oh, an enthusiastic and kind alien. While Parsons seems to keep getting cast as these nerdy characters, it was refreshing to hear him play someone that is less of a jerk, and a lot more fun. I will admit that this was the only good part of the movie for me (and one other aspect, but I’ll get to that soon).
Parsons’ casting, as inspired as it was, seems to be the only good casting of the film. I am not a Rihanna fan, but I don’t care about her enough to give an opinion. I just know that her being cast here was just ever so slightly odd. She could’ve been much worse, but I don’t understand why she was actually cast. Her voice doesn’t really fit the character, but this is just me being pedantic. However, what irritated me the most was that the soundtrack was exclusively…Rihanna. That felt like shameless product placement, and as someone who is not a Rihanna fan (as I am sure many people who see this film aren’t), it isn’t the most pleasant experience to constantly hear her music. One song or two would have sufficed, not the entire score. That dramatically ruined the film for me, because its just…shameful plugging.
Steve Martin – an absolute god of comedy. I was excited to see this film because of him, and him only. However, I was so disappointed – he is on the top of his comedic game right now, as he has always been, so being demoted to the tertiary role in this is pathetic. Martin shouldn’t be playing these roles – he should be the lead character in these kinds of movies. Steve Martin – please do something brilliant again. I don’t know if no one offers him good gigs anymore, or he chooses paycheck over quality, but he needs to do something worthy of his talents. It is unfair that he gets treated as a god on Saturday Night Live, but outside he does terrible films like this, hopefully not because that’s all he can get, which is doubtful, because Steve is an absolute comedy legend. You can do better than this, Steve – I know it, you know it, everyone knows it.
I so badly want to find positives in this film. The story is incredibly lame – there is just nothing here we haven’t seen before, and it is so contrived, it hurts. The humor is occasionally amusing, but there are just some jokes that made me seriously cringe, because of how bad they were, or in some cases, how disgusting they were (if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know which joke I am talking about). The film is cute at some places, but to me, cute is reserved for when you actually have some kind of structure and a strong story in the film. A film relying on cuteness alone is not memorable.
So what is the one positive of this film that actually is preventing me from ripping it apart completely? The length. The film felt like it was over before it started – I know it had a normal 90-minute runtime, but it was cliched enough and managed to make use of so many taut techniques, that it didn’t need to come up with anything vaguely original. I have to thank the filmmakers for that – I have never been so glad to actually leave a cinema. I am someone who loves originality and trying new things, and this film didn’t actually do that. I know this review is quite harsh on the film, but for those who loved it, I would actually like you to come forward and tell me anything vaguely unique or interesting about this film. The animation is nothing special, there is no real story, and its just plain mediocre on all fronts.
I wanted to like this film, I really did. But my expectations were non-existent, to be perfectly honest, and thus they were met in an abundance. It could’ve been a brilliant film. However,there is absolutely no passion behind this film, and I am almost totally sure that it is just a film to give Dreamworks some extra money and another hit. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t connect, and it is just one huge disappointment. It is without a doubt the worst mainstream animated film of the past few years, and its a shame, because there are some slivers of potential in it, but it just didn’t need to be made, because it has absolutely no heart and soul, compared to a film like The LEGO Movie, which is exclusively pure, unadulterated soul. Such a pity.