I was delighted when the trailers started appearing to see another major family film featuring a science fiction theme. As a solid fan of the genre, anything that helps it break out into mainstream has to be a good thing. So when my grandson came to stay last week, I took him along to see it.
When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
The cast is stellar – Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory stars as Oh, while Rihanna, Jennifer Lopaz, Steve Martin, Matt Jones and Dominique Monfery all very ably support him. The dialogue is sharp and humorous, with the main characters well depicted. Oh and Tip are both misfits in their own environments and their developing relationship has plenty of edges that provides interest and conflict while they are trying to flee/find family/save the planet. So far so good…
However, if you’re sensing a big BUT, you’d be right. If scriptwriters are going to use a science fiction theme, then it behoves them to ensure the plot is at least tight enough to pass muster at the very first sitting. And unfortunately Home can’t even pass this undemanding test. When the Boov alien nation decide to settle on Earth, they scoop up the whole of humanity and dump them in circular settlements in the middle of Australia in small, colonial-style houses jammed very closely together. And two weeks later, there doesn’t appear to be any breakdown in law and order, or unrest – everyone is just aimlessly wandering around. Neither is there any kind of aggression towards the Boov in the form of armies mustered to prevent them from moving into the human cities they have so recently hi-jacked.
I know it’s a film largely aimed at children – but this isn’t so much a plot hole as a gaping chasm. Most of the film, I found myself wondering what exactly would really happen if an alien species suddenly turned up and actually shunted our whole civilisation onto one continent in very crowded conditions. I’m betting that two weeks later, everyone wouldn’t be merely wandering around, looking a tad aggravated… And as for everyone happily co-existing afterwards – nope. Absolutely not. Reckon the Boov would find themselves the target for a huge amount of hatred.
So while the relationship between Tip and Oh works well, as soon as the film’s focus widens out to the broader storyline the whole narrative fell apart. There was simply none of the rigour shown in the wonderful Wall-E, which held together any way you looked at it. I found myself watching the beautiful graphics and superb acting – while trying to work out why all this effort and talent was being expended on a broken-backed story that didn’t work.
My other gripe was the other character – Pig-Cat. It is, apparently, perfectly acceptable to allow your cat become obese – and if not, then WHY does the main character possess an overweight cat glorying in the name of Pig? A whole range of activities such as running, climbing and jumping suddenly become a problem for obese cats, along with a shortened lifespan and constant health issues, which means this is just cruelty. I fail to see any merit in normalising the unacceptable practise of overfeeding pets to the point of injuring them, by featuring a fat cat in a mainstream family film.
But as far as I’m concerned, this is just another aspect of the sloppy, lazy thinking behind this lame project, which with a bit of extra effort could have been superb. Shame on you Dreamworks. You’re better than this.