A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Home is based on Adam Rex's children's book The True Meaning of Smekday. This skillfully animated movie creates a believable world in which aliens known as The Boov, running from their enemies, must find a new planet to inhabit ... so they take over Earth. Human families get broken up in the forced relocations that follow, and Tip (voiced by Rihanna) is separated from her mother -- which could be upsetting for small children. She teams up with Oh (Jim Parsons), the most human-friendly of The Boov, and an adventure ensues. The invaders and their large ships could be a little scary, and at one point it looks as though a main character dies (though that's not the case). There's also a little bit of toilet humor, but not much in the way of strong language, inappropriately sexy stuff, or substance use.
What's the story?
The Boov have a problem. Every time their archenemies, The Gorg, find them hiding somewhere new in the universe, The Boov have to run away to a new host planet. And this time, their destination is Earth. The humans -- including seventh grader Tip (voiced by Rihanna), who ends up separated from her mother, are less than thrilled as The Boov vacuum them up and send them to Australia. But Tip makes an unlikely friend in Oh (Jim Parsons), an unusually friendly Boov who craves a connection. Despite a rocky start, the two form a bond, and together they conspire to find Tip’s mother and -- naturally -- save the planet.
Is it any good?
Plenty of creativity and artistry were lavished on HOME's production, and the animation is flat-out beautiful. The movie is good, if not startlingly original -- which may be just fine for most young moviegoers. The Boov look a little like the pudgy, adorable Minions from the Despicable Me franchise, with some mini-Shrek thrown in. And The Boov's clueless leader, Captain Smek (an enthusiastic Steve Martin), recalls Madagascar's hilariously egomaniacal but not particularly brave King Julien. (When threatened, the Boov legend goes, "Smek wisely fled in terror.")
The Boov frown upon courage and lack the human yearning for company; they find human behavior totally bewildering. This makes the lovable Oh an outlier -- he's a guy who wants to party down living among a people who believe that "Parties are useless and take up valuable Boov time." ("Among The Boov, I do not fit in," he explains. "I fit out.") The relationship between the good-hearted but friendless alien and the skeptical, self-reliant Tip is beautifully rendered. And the songs (sung by Rihanna) that dot the action help enormously to clarify the movie's emotional underpinnings. The decision to emphasize humanity's best characteristics -- the tendency to display irrational hope in the face of long odds -- makes Home a feel-good experience even as aliens are taking over the planet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Home's messages about tolerance. How does the movie demonstrate that it's OK to be friends with people who look different from you and live differently from you?
Why do you think some people might give up hope before they even try? Why is failing so scary?
How would you feel if every time you lied, you turned green? Do humans have other "tells" when they lie?
If you've read the book the movie is based on, how do they compare? Which do you like better, and why?
- In theaters: March 27, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: July 28, 2015
- Cast: Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna
- Director: Tim Johnson
- Studios: Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild action and some rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.