‘Home’ a case of bad house music
Caelin Miltko | Monday, March 30, 2015
If movies like “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6” and “Despicable Me” have proven a formula exists that can appeal to both adults and children, the recent Dreamworks film “Home” is a reminder that not all children’s films can hit that perfect balance.
On the surface, it seems like it probably should work. The two main characters are voiced by Jim Parsons (Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”) and Rihanna, and the storyline seems somewhat compelling, if a little simplistic — I mean, what’s not to like about a couple alien invasions?.
But the movie never reaches beyond the level of ‘kind of cute,’ and it’s certainly not a movie that parents will willingly watch over and over. At this point, “Frozen” may be overplayed, but it could be watched at least three or four times before massive annoyance set in. “Home” does not have this kind of staying power, if only because it’s only mildly amusing at best.
Part of the problem is that the plot seems to be overshadowed by the real life personas of the voices behind the characters. As soon as the movie starts, it’s almost hard to separate the voice of Jim Parsons from his iconic character Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory,” and it’s somewhat distracting. This, however, is not really anyone’s fault and pales in comparison to the issues with Rihanna’s role in the movie.
Before seeing the film, I was only vaguely aware that Rihanna had a role. To be fair, I only became aware of the film when visiting my under-10-year-old cousins in Chicago for the weekend and never would have seen the film without their influence. Still, the importance of Rihanna’s role in “Home” was not clear to me until I’d seen it.
Rihanna performs three out of the eight songs on the soundtrack, and the songs she doesn’t perform fade into the background. Even worse, the song they pick to repeat in nearly every scene (“Dancing in the Dark”) is so repetitive in and of itself that by the time the movie has repeated for the third time, you wonder if there’s even another song in the entire film.
Now, from hits like “Let It Go” and “Happy,” we know that theme songs from animated pictures can make huge breakthroughs in pop culture. We also know that they have a tendency to be overplayed to the point that almost no one wants to listen to them anymore. But “Dancing in the Dark” is not nearly so good as either of the above examples, and if Dreamworks wanted a massive hit on their hands, they definitely chose the wrong song. After seeing “Home,” I’m not sure I feel a desire to ever hear that song again.
The repetition of a number of Rihanna songs makes the movie feel like a half-hearted attempt to revive Rihanna’s career in a younger generation, but it fails to really make an impression. While this may pass over the heads of the intended demographic, anyone over the age of 10 seeing the film will easily discern the huge plot holes that are ignored in favor of a “catchy” dance tune.
Despite the increasing number of enjoyable animated films out there, “Home” is not among them. At times, it was mildly cute and the writing for the character of “Oh” was consistently funny. But it wasn’t enough to make it truly enjoyable for anyone beyond its stated demographic.