Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Movie Review: Home (2015)

Comedies and kid's films are the two genres with the highest probability of failure, as the former can't bank on ironic enjoyment as well as others and the latter typically has less thought put into them because filmmakers tend to think that all children are idiots that will watch anything. Now, whether or not that statement rings true in any respect is not for me to say, but with the rather high quality of family and children's films we've been getting lately, I'd say that that probability factor isn't as crucial as it once was. Of course, get the actor who played Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, or The Geeky Minstrel Show as I call it, to be your lead and any optimism I have will go straight down the crapper. But is this kind of cynicism warranted? I mean, Dreamworks have more than proved that they can hold their own against their competition; maybe this won't be so bad... but somehow, I really fucking doubt it. This is Home.

The plot: The Boov, in yet another attempt to escape the violent Gorg, find a primitive planet to liberate and call their new home: Earth. After relocating all the humans into a colony and moving themselves in, a mistake made by the bumbling Oh (Jim Parsons) could lead the Gorg right to them once again. While on the run from the leader of the Boov, Captain Smek (Steve Martin), he comes across a human child called Tip (Rihanna) who wasn’t sent with the other humans to the colony and are forced to work together to save the day and reunite Tip with her mother (Jennifer Lopez).

Right off the bat, one of the more glaring issues with this film is right there in the plot synopsis: A family film based on a proxy for Indian Removal; this in no way sounds like the plot to a kid’s film. Within the first few minutes of the film, it is extremely different to the film as described by the trailer, which made it look like Oh was going to be the intergalactic fish-out-of-water and the only one of his kind on Earth, and if you aren’t prepared for it like I wasn’t it takes a while for it to sink in. Now, this premise might have worked out if handled differently; hell, it could still be a family film and, under the right crew, this could stand next to the works of Don Bluth in terms of depressingly dark yet child-friendly entertainment. No such luck here though, as you can no doubt tell from the kiddified nomenclature; this is aimed directly at child audiences, along with the occasional adult that gets caught in the crossfire. It doesn’t help that this is full of so much literal toilet humour that it validates every shot fired at Dreamworks Studios for being lowbrow schlock in comparison to Disney/Pixar, a comparison that I personally hate because Dreamworks has made many a great animated film in the past.

Despite my misgivings about Jim Parsons as the lead character, he isn’t all that bad in this movie; then again, no-one in the cast is really all that great to begin with but Jim Parsons isn’t the problem here as I suspected he would be. Steve Martin is flat-out wasted in this thing, Rihanna is decent but only by comparison and J. Lo is such a bit role that it isn’t even worth mentioning save for completion. No, the problem with Jim Parsons here is the character he’s playing, who is now on my prestigious shortlist of film characters I actively wanted to see die while I was watching the movie; I’m not usually that vindictive but that is just how infuriating this character is. The first reason for which is the framing around him: It’s a difficult task purposely writing an annoying character that the audience is supposed to like in the first place, but it’s quite another to write a character who is annoying in-universe, what with the joke in the trailer about how Oh got his name. However, it seems that the writers forgot that in order to make a character like that work even slightly, they need to have redeemable traits and/or be funny. Here, the closest I got to feeling sorry for this insufferable moron is when he accidently signals the Gorg through an incredibly stupid design flaw in the Boov’s communicator/technowhatsit where the “Send All” option sends message across galaxies to everyone within range. There’s a race in the Star Trek canon called the Pakleds, who are essentially an entire race of aliens that are special needs and I wish I was exaggerating that, but at least one could argue that their innocent appearance could fool unsuspecting ships into getting captured by them; the Boov aren’t even that good, if this and so many other things in this film are to be believed. I get that this is part of the joke, that the Boov aren’t nearly as smart as they think they are, but much like with making Oh annoying, they succeeded… but said success only serves to make the film worse.

The other main reason why I found Oh to be so insufferable is also the biggest fault with the movie as a whole: The dialogue. I get the writing convention of having English-speaking alien races have grammatical and syntax quirks to show differences in societal norms, but the writers got seriously carried away with this one. The best thing I can say about the Boov’s dialogue is that it is surprisingly easy to convey how bad it is without anyone else having to go this movie themselves: If anyone reading this have a Twitter account, pull it up and go to the language settings. Pick the LOLCATZ language option and save; now, look at the text that has been translated. Now, imagine if every tweet in your feed was translated into this and being read aloud to you phonetically by your computer; that’s how every single exchange in this movie involving the Boov sounds like, and considering a Boov is our main character, that is an amazingly bad move. But even with that in mind, this could have worked in smaller doses, but then there’s also the fact that these dialogue ticks never let up. Not even during the emotional scenes. Yes, even during the moments that are supposed to be taken seriously, the characters still sound like they trying to invoke memes out of their dialogue. Words cannot describe how irritating this gets in record time, to the point where I was legitimately considering walking out of the movie. Well, technically I was considering throwing my Coke bottle at the screen, screaming obscenities at the movie (Yes, even with all the kids in the audience) and then walking out, but still it is rare for that to even become a viable option for me. Then again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I did that, and considering how horrible this movie is, I didn’t want to give it the dignity of being the only film I’ve walked out on since I started properly watching films.

All in all, this is the kind of movie where, had I not seen far superior family films like Shaun The Sheep, The Book Of Life and even The SpongeBob Movie recently, I would start losing faith in the art of cinema much like Planes: Fire And Rescue made me do. The animation is okay if a bit spotty, the set design looks neat and the actors do an okay job with their material, but said material consists of a premise that is not in any way whatsoever handled suitably for a kid’s film, characters that are either stock or just plain stupid and dialogue that is among the most consistently annoying I have ever heard full stop. As much as I thoroughly disliked The Wedding Ringer, that at least had a ten-or-so minute stretch of decent content; Home doesn’t have a single moment that actually had me engaged in any respect, be it intentional or otherwise, making this a new low for the year as the current runner for the worst film of 2015. Yeah, not recommended to say the least; even if you have children or younger siblings who want to see this movie, for the love of all that is good in the world, take them to see anything else

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