I saw Home over the weekend with my best friend and loved it. I think you should see it, too. Charlie Jane covered its merits pretty well in her review a couple of weeks ago, but I thought I'd throw my two cents in as well if it might nudge anyone else into seeing it.
I think DreamWorks is a solid animation studio that has consistently put out quality films. It's got a good track record. When I saw the early trailers for Home, however, I wasn't sure that I wanted to see it. I wasn't familiar with the source material (The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex, which I just downloaded to read), and "home" isn't much of a descriptor.
Let's go through the Why You Should See Home bullet points, shall we?
- It's cute. Almost disgustingly so, but it manages to stay this side of Over-The-Top cute. If "cute" were an aesthetic, this movie is it. It's not just easy on the eyes, though. Even the way the Boov speak English is cute.
- It's an alien buddy movie, somewhat akin to E.T., except less terrifying. Full disclosure: E.T. always scared me as a kid. The only phone call E.T. would get from me is to 911, and then it's off to the secret government lab with him (and good riddance).
- Both the human and alien protagonists are likable characters. Tip and Oh both grow as characters during their not-quite-on-a-road trip.
- It flips a familiar script. Instead of Oh being pressured to fit in because he's not as out-going and social as the other Boov are, he's pressured to fit in because he's way too eager and pushy about making friends. Oh is an extrovert trying to fit into an introverted society, and that's not something I see very often, especially in the context of an "alien" movie.
- The themes of colonialism and invasion are really explored without beating you over the head.
- It's extremely visually intelligent. As was often discussed in relation to Pacific Rim, a movie is more than its script and dialogue. And even though Home is cute in the extreme, it's also visually evocative and beautifully composed. You catch on very quickly the ways that the Boov involuntarily change colors when they feel different emotions, and this is used for significant emotional impacts throughout the film. It made me simultaneously glad that we humans don't have such drastic emotional color changes, but also kind of wish for it, because I think it would make it easier for me, at least, to communicate what I'm feeling. But that wouldn't necessarily be true, either, because although the Boov show what they're feeling, they're not very good at articulating it.
- Tip, the human protagonist, is fantastic. She got an "A" in Geometry.
- It's optimistic. It actually points out some good things about humans, instead of making you despair of all humanity forever. Even though the Earth is easily conquered by the Boov because human technology is not as sophisticated as Boov or Gorg technology, it highlights some of the strengths of human society instead of just its weaknesses.
- I almost cried. But then everything was okay again, so I didn't.
- There's this cat:
That should be enough reasons, right?
Things that you probably think are reasons not to see Home but really aren't:
- The cast. Don't worry about the cast. The cast is fine. I know many of you probably hate both The Big Bang Theory and the character of Sheldon, but I think Oh is very likable. And Rihanna does a good job voicing Tip.
- Annoying sidekick. Again, no. The relationship between the two main characters turns into a real friendship. It's not a sidekick thing, and it's not annoying.
I'll let you know how the book is, and how it compares, once I've finished it.