By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
This colorful and vibrant looking film will offer young children ninety-four minutes of entertainment and valuable lessons, but this is one movie that will lose its luster after repeated viewings. The screening I attended seemed to keep the children in the audience interested and invested; however, a lot of the jokes and gags either went over their heads or simply did not succeed in amusing them. As for me, I spent the majority of the film laughing rarely and actually slightly annoyed with the film’s main character. Home may seem like a no-brainer for keeping the children entertained for an hour and a half at the cinema; however, this movie is probably better saved for viewing at home.
A race of alien beings called the Boov invade the Earth to seek shelter from their enemies. The Boov relocate the humans to Australia while they convert the remainder of the planet to serve as their new home. A sweet, but clumsy Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons) gets banished from his people because of his accident-prone nature. He befriends a young human girl named Tip (Rhianna). When all of the humans get rounded up and relocated, Tip is accidentally left behind. Oh agrees to help Tip find her mother (Jennifer Lopez) in Australia. Oh has a mission of his own. He must stop an electronic message, that he accidentally sent to the enemy forces, from reaching its destination. Should the message reach them, this will alert them of the new location of the Boov and could lead to the destruction of the planet.
Based on the children’s book The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, writers Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, and director Tim Johnson have made a run-of-the-mill animated children’s movie that will probably only appeal to their target audience. Adults may find the characters cute and adorable, but that will probably be the extent of its appeal. The humor just doesn’t work often enough and the main character Oh is basically a far less grating version of Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The movie does teach children that mistakes are part of life and the importance of learning from them. The other valuable lesson has to do with the importance of facing problems, rather than running away from them. Those lessons will be the best things kids will take away from this movie.
The movie does have a great voice cast including the legendary Steve Martin, but sadly their talents are wasted on subpar material. Jim Parsons, Steve Martin and the other cast would certainly perform well in a Disney or Pixar movie.Aesthetically, the animation looks gorgeous and the 3D effects do work nicely, but this is not reason enough to go see this movie theatrically. The gorgeous animation will look wonderful on an HDTV. If parents can persuade their kids to wait for this movie to arrive on Blu-ray, that would be their best bet. I see no reason to pay ticket and theatrical concession prices to see this one.