Review: Big Names Give Their Voices to Dreamworks' Heartwarming 'Home'

Cornelia Tzana ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.
Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

Following their Academy Award-nominated film How To Train Your Dragon 2 and the less successful Penguins of Madagascar, Dreamworks’ Home hits the theaters with an all-star cast and a charming story.

Based on Adam Rex’s children’s book The True Meaning Of Smekday published in 2007, the storyline of Home is nothing we haven’t seen before. It tells the story of the Boov, an alien species that has advanced technologically with one goal in mind: to run away from the Gorg. In their efforts to hide from their mortal enemy, they decide to invade the Earth and make it their new home by relocating all the humans to a town in the middle of a dessert. Oh (Jim Parsons), a misfit Boov, organizes a “warming of the house party” in his attempt to meet his new neighbors and accidentally sends out an invitation to the entire galaxy, including the Gorg, giving away their hiding place. As Oh, banished, is trying to run away from the rest of the Boov he stumbles upon Tip (Rihanna), a young girl who has managed to avoid getting captured and is on a search for her mother, Lucy (Jennifer Lopez). Together, the two misfits discover the importance of friendship and family as they travel across the world.

Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.
Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

Rihanna is a newcomer to the animation voiceover industry but she positively surprises here with her work as Tip, the young heroine. Director Tim Johnson stated that as they were trying to find “a voice from the Caribbean” to bring the character from Barbados to life, somebody pointed out that the well-known singer may be what they were looking for, as she is Caribbean herself. Despite their initial doubts and concerns, Rihanna turned out to be a lover of animation and she eagerly accepted the role.

Parsons thrives in his role as Oh, the friendly alien who is having a hard time understanding human – and social – queues, much like The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon, the character that made Parsons famous. The actor was very intrigued when he first saw a drawing of Oh and despite being nervous about his first voice acting role he managed to perfectly embody the socially awkward but loving alien.

Steve Martin also brought his talent as the initially respected but ultimately incompetent Boov leader Captain Smek. Jennifer Lopez admitted to being “emotional” while performing as Lucy, the mother who has lost her daughter, Tip. “[There was] lots of crying and screaming and desperation” she stated on the red carpet.

Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.
Scene from Home. Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

Dreamworks has been praised for its design of Tip, who steps away from the usual look of young female animation protagonists. She has darker skin and unruly black hair and, unlike many recent animated heroines, does not perfectly resemble her mother. She has been described as one of the most human-like animated human characters that have been created so far, both in terms of facial attributes and body proportions. The rest of the visual elements also manage to bring the characters to life and the combination of music, which includes songs old and new by Rihanna, great graphics and witty one-liners make Home very enjoyable.

Home is a charming story we have heard before but with details that manage to set it apart. The younger audiences will be fascinated by the fun visual designs of the Boov while the older ones will find themselves chuckling at the smart and quick-paced dialogue and the subtle pop culture references. And all will be touched by its message. Home may not be a revolutionary animated film in terms of plot, but as Jennifer Lopez told The Hollywood Reporter, it teaches its audience “at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, that when you’re with the people that you love, you’re home.”

Overall Grade: B+

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