E.T. + Planes Trains and Automobiles = “Home”

Aside from the few television commercials I saw, I went into this movie not knowing what it was about. My impression was that it was going to be an E.T. inspired road trip comedy and, let me tell you, that impression was shattered in the first five minutes.

So, yeah… it’s an alien invasion movie. I did not know that. What’s more, it’s a benevolent invasion which, in my rather spotty memory, is the first time I’ve ever witnessed a friendly alien conquest.

Just think about how much more success the aliens from Independence Day would have had with ball pits and free ice cream.

So, already… this movie surprised me. Perhaps it was just my own cluelessness that led to said surprise, but surprise was had nonetheless and I believe this is what hooked me.

Yes, children, I enjoyed this movie very much. Perhaps more than what he otherwise would have, but you can’t blemish the fact that Home is actually very entertaining and pulls off some things that I haven never seen in a an alien movie before. Friendly invasion, the reverse E.T. comedy road trip and… Home actually comes very very very close to what would have been an memorable and shocking ending had it not annoyingly chickened out at the last minute.

More on that later.

Home is the story of Oh (Jim Parsons), a member of the Boov race that comes to Earth looking for a new home. The Boov take over the planet (in, as I said, the friendliest way possible) and move the native humans to relocation camps while the squatty little aliens make Earth their own.

In the middle of this massive relocation, one little girl named Tip (Rihanna) is accidentally separated from her mother and, when Oh accidentally alerts the Boov’s mortal enemies, the Gorg, to their location of their latest homeworld, the two must join together to outrun the authorities who want Oh’s head and find Tip’s mom in the process.

Basically, this is the story of how easy it is to love a child. You’ve seen it before in Monsters Inc. where, quite frankly, it was done much better but, really…. Home doesn’t do it badly. Oh and Tip make a fun couple. Jim Parsons is hilarious as the bumbling alien and, yes, even Rihanna does a dandy job bringing Tip to life.

The jokes are funny, the movie is bright and colorful and just about everything works in an acceptable manner. It doesn’t do anything badly, but it doesn’t do anything in a particularly memorable way either.

It almost does. Home actually came one decision away from becoming a possible classic, but it ultimately became too cowardly to actually go through with it. When you see the movie, you will know what I’m talking about so I won’t spoil it here but it happens in the climax and involves a near-perfect death scene that turns into an all too familiar fake out.

I have to admit also, I would have like to have seen more done with the relocation camps. The way it is, Home actually makes them seem ideal and not a bad place to live. Maybe it’s just me, but I would have loved to have seen more conflict in that department… more of a comparison to, say, Jewish ghettos, Japanese internment camps, or reservations. More human resistance to being forced to relocate while the Boov find themselves bewildered by the angry mobs.

Still, I have to admit that I laughed and I enjoyed it despite the fact that it short-changes its own premise. My own ignorance of the plot probably had more to do with my enjoyment than I care to admit, but ignorance can only lead me so far. Home is bubbly and fun, but it could have been more… so much more.

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