Friday, March 27, 2015

Home [2015]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-I)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (T. Johnson) review

Home [2015] (directed by Tim Johnson, screenplay by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember based on the children's book "The True Meaning of Smekday" (2007) [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Adam Rex [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) could perhaps be best described as a "highly sugar coated / smiley faced" _knock-off_of the children's / space alien classic Lilo & Stitch [2002].  But I would suggest that this was part of the current film's "originality" / point.

How could something be both a "knock-off" and "original" ;-)?  Let me explain:

In Lilo & Stitch [2002], Stitch is presented as a really self-selfish/self-serving, terribly-bad-behaved fugitive alien (the audience understands immediately why he's "on the run") who crashes to earth where ironically since HE LOOKS KINDA LIKE "A PUPPY DOG," humans, notably a little Hawaiian girl named Lilo, try to him "adopt" as a pet.  And well, he's NOT "a cute little puppy dog" even though, thanks to Lilo he eventually kinda becomes one, and certainly better behaved.    

In the current film, the Earth is invaded by an alien race called "The Boov," who KINDA LOOK LIKE STITCH from the aforementioned film.  But UNLIKE STITCH, "The Boov" aren't really "bad tempered."  Yes, they're cowardly and unbelievably selfish -- heck THEY STEAL OUR PLANET, making the bad-tempered Stitch seem as diminutive and selfless as "Mother Theresa" -- but they do everything in a supremely KINDLY, MATTER OF FACT SORT OF WAY:

"THE BOOV" MEAN "NO HARM" as they ARRIVE ... IN OVERWHELMING FORCE ... and then "KINDLY" _VACUUM US UP_ INTO THEIR SPACE SHIPS and DUMP US ALL INTO A _VERY, VERY NICE_ DISNEYLAND LIKE, well-watered, "RESERVATION" full of theme-park rides and "cotton candy" and named "HAPPY HUMANLAND" ... somewhere in AUSTRALIA ... WHILE THEY TAKE ... the rest of our world.

It's COLONIALISM at its bright, primary-color, if perhaps a little pastelish CHEERIEST ;-)

So "the Boov" ARE AN ENTIRE RACE of "Stitches" who've learned to mask their cruelty / nastiness behind lovely smiles and kindly, well-tempered voices.  Again, THEY MEAN NO HARM, THEY JUST WANT / GET THEIR WAY ...

So then the film is BOTH a "knockoff" and quite "original" ;-)

Now, of course, since "the Boov" treat alien races (us) with "kindly" if supremely paternalistic / sanitized disdain (again, they move, err ABDUCT, us with VACUUM CLEANER-LIKE SPACESHIPS) it's not surprising that they treat each other with a similar ever-"kindly" but just wait till the "shoe drops" sort of a way.

So enter Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), kind of a "screw-up" among "The Boov."  The other "Boov" aren't openly mean to him, hostile to him.  They just don't talk (or associate) with him.  And he explains at one point to the strangely "left behind" 10-year-old African American-girl named Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (voiced by Rihanna and her mother is voiced by Jennifer Lopez) that "the Boov" have a very simple "NINE (!) strikes and you're out policy."  That is, "the Boov" put up with you until you make _nine mistakes_ and then ... THEY ERASE YOU.  (No need to get angry about anything.  "The Boov" give their folks PLENTY OF CHANCES ... it's just after you reach some point of incompetence/failure ... they just get rid of you.  And "that is that."  Again, no need to get upset, "raise one's voice," about ... ANYTHING).

Well, no matter how "kindly" it all may seem, it's all actually incredibly cruel.  Here, (most of) the human race gets sucked-off to a distant corner of their/OUR planet (where we're actually treated quite well, but we DON'T really have a choice in the matter).  And even the "higher race Boov" treat each other with "gentle" but ridiculous / emotionless "that's just the way it is" "firmness."

And it's left to "left behind" Gratuity / "Tip" and her cat (named Pig) to teach "the Boov" a lesson in what it really means to be compassionate / kind.

Actually a great / fun children's story ;-)

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