FILM REVIEW and TRAILER: Home (U)

Scene from Home. Picture: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation.
Scene from Home. Picture: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation.

Sci-fi animation starring the voices of Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin. Screenings continue at Berwick Maltings tomorrow; at Alnwick Playhouse on Tuesday, May 26; and at Seahouses Hub on Saturday, April 11.

Humans and cute aliens unite to save Earth in Tim Johnson’s entertaining but shamelessly contrived computer-animated adventure.

The new dog performing old tricks on the DreamWorks block, which previously housed Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon, lacks the belly laughs and heart-breaking emotion of those films, but merrily rehashes elements from all three.

Thus the extra-terrestrial invaders discover they like to wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care to our music and the central duo discovers that self-sacrifice is an important part of friendship.

Johnson’s film has some solid gags and the colour palette is bright, although there are disappointingly few visual tricks up the animators’ sleeves to justify the increased ticket price for the 3D version.

An extra-terrestrial race called the Boov invades Earth under the command of power-hungry Captain Smek (voiced by Steve Martin) with a view to claiming the third rock from the sun as their new home.

Scene from Home. Picture: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation.

Scene from Home. Picture: PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation.

The Boov round up the humans and relocate the entire species to Australia.

Back in America, a resourceful 11-year-old girl called Tip (Rihanna), whose mother (Jennifer Lopez) was abducted from their apartment, evades capture and goes on the run with her rotund pet cat.

She encounters a fugitive Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons – Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory), who has accidentally sent an email invitation to his ‘warming of house party’ to everyone in the galaxy, including the Boov’s sworn enemy, the Gorg.

Tip and Oh are poles apart: she is spunky and brave, while he turns tail at the first sign of peril. Working together, they forge a touching friendship and Tip helps her extra-terrestrial chum to embrace his flaws.

Home ticks all of the boxes, but does so without any obvious verve, originality or sense of urgency.

At one point during the chase, Oh turns to Tip and screams: “This is not a sustainable friendship model.”

Johnson makes it work for 94 minutes, but only just.

Star rating: 3/5

Screening at Berwick Maltings at 2.30pm on Wednesday, April 8 (autism-friendly screening); Thursday, April 9; Saturday, April 11; and Sunday, April 12; then at Alnwick Playhouse at 2pm on Tuesday, May 26; and at Seahouse Hub at 3pm on Saturday, April 11.