In Defense Of

In Defense Of: Home


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Recently, it’s been really hard to respect and feel good about Dreamworks. Sure, Kung Fu Panda 3 is a huge success, but you then remember how hit-or- miss this studio honestly is. From trying to compete with Disney/other studios, to doing their own thing, you would think DreamWorks would just do what they do best. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, due to their recent financial issues and having to lay off 500 employees because of bad investments and projects that didn’t rake in the cash. It really doesn’t help when they have films like Home. This 2015 film was DreamWorks’ only animated film of the year that just screamed “Dreamworks auto pilot.” It’s not a great movie, and has annoying characters, horrible pacing, some areas of the film feeling manipulative, pointless celebrity casting (there was no reason to hire JLO for the movie), and it feels like a moocher to the popular Despicable Me franchise. Even with the positive elements I am about to find for the film, I still don’t recommend this movie. So, let’s get started!

The animation is not horrible

Even with their worst movies, the animation from DreamWorks is still leagues better than what usually comes out during the year from the really bad third-party films. While it is not as good as DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda or How to Train your Dragon, it’s still solid enough to not be the worst problem about Home.

The ending can be a tad touching

So, basically, the entire plot of Home revolves around aliens known as the Boov, who are taking over Earth to escape from the “bad guy” aliens who are chasing them. One of the Boovs, played by Steve Martin, through a “misunderstanding” took something that was pretty important to the “bad guy” alien race. The twist is that the thing Steve Martin took was actually an egg case filled with the last of the “bad guy” aliens’ next generation. Seeing the interaction between the “evil” alien and Sheldon from Big Bang Theory (I know he has a name, but the actor is basically doing his character from the “hit” TV show) is touching. With a lot of the scenes being undone by the film’s horrible pacing, Home actually has one nice scene.

Rihanna’s character

Let’s face it, the characters in this movie are either annoying or really forgettable. I don’t remember their names or personalities. If they actually made a movie with likable characters instead of trying to be like Minions, then we would have a much better movie. And that’s a bad thing, since this film has Steve Martin in it! How do you mess up a movie with such a funny individual! Still, if there was one character that stood out because it was a solid child character, it would have to be the lead female, voiced by Rihanna. Even though I feel like the design and age of the character doesn’t fit her voice, Rihanna played the most competent and investment-worthy character in the film. She was smart, creative, funny, tough, didn’t hide from the danger, and has some softer moments concerning her being separated from her mother. She was the best thing about this movie and I wish she wasn’t stuck in this bad story.

Interesting color pallet

While this is kind of a backhanded compliment since the film still doesn’t look color-wise in a lot of ways, I do respect DreamWorks for using more pastel hues for the colors of the aliens. Again, while this doesn’t fix or redeem the film, at least they tried something that everyone else wasn’t doing.

With the recent buyout from Comcast, let’s hope they make sure DreamWorks doesn’t try to make another film like this again. Sure, the film has some tender moments and a few jokes that work, but overall, I found this film to be boring unless you have really young kids. While it might not be as super-cynical as Shark Tale, this is easily one of their three worst movies alongside the third Shrek movie. Please, DreamWorks, get back to being consistently good. Enough of the quantity-over-quality and trying to chase trends! If 2013 to now has shown you anything, it is that your current philosophy is not working. Please, just do amazing movies!

In Defense Of: The Black Cauldron


(If you like what you see, go to camseyeview.biz for more of my work. If you want to, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the article!)

Welcome to the first edition of “In Defense Of…” This is where I write an editorial covering a couple of positive elements of Disney, Dreamworks, or Pixar films that were negatively reviewed or downright panned by the critics and audiences.

Pop quiz time! What do you get when you have a big budget, take seven years to make a movie, and then release it in 1985? Well, you get what is widely known to be Disney’s biggest flop in terms of an animated film, The Black Cauldron. Most people these days are more familiar with the huge financial and critical Disney flops like John Carter and The Lone Ranger, two infamously horrible movies that did incredibly poorly at the box office. Not United Passions flop, but it did so badly that it was beaten out by The Care Bears Movie. Think about that for a moment, a film so bad, that another mediocre movie did better. The Black Cauldron put the studio into major jeopardy, which was luckily saved by the likes of The Great Mouse Detectives, Oliver and Company, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and of course, The Little Mermaid, which started the famous Disney Renaissance of the 90s.  So, with all of this failure behind the movie and its development history of last-minute changes, is there anything good/redeemable for this movie? Well, yes. I think there are a couple of good elements, and apparently, I am not the only one who thinks so, since the film is now getting a cult following. Let’s begin! Oh, and spoilers!

 

  • The beautiful animation

During this time at Disney, they were pretty much reusing a lot of their animation from past films like The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, and so on. It made the films feel cheap, and while I like movies like Disney’s Robin Hood, it felt like they were doing this because the films took a long time to make, and they wanted to save a lot of money. However, from what I have seen, The Black Cauldron is 100% original animation. No rehashes. It also looks good with the smooth movements and, during the death scene of the villain, very detailed. It’s a good-looking movie. It’s just a shame so much money went into the animation, but it had a mediocre story.

 

  • The Villain/Villain Death

While you can argue that there isn’t much to this villain, The Horned King is one of the most intimidating villains in Disney’s cannon. It doesn’t hurt either that he is voiced by famous actor John Hurt. There is something really unsettling about him from his design to the raspy voice. I bet for the kids that saw this movie, The Horned King gave them nightmares. On top of that, his villain death is probably the most graphic out of any Disney film. At the end of the movie he is forcefully pulled in to the titular Black Cauldron. His skin peels and tears away from him, and his bones turn to dust as he is pulled into the cauldron kicking and screaming. It’s gruesome, if you couldn’t tell.

 

  • The Atmosphere

The movie lacks in a lot of elements, but The Black Cauldron has some great atmosphere at some points. The film makes you feel like you are in this grungy fantasy world, where there is no hope among the human and creatures that live there. Sure, the immersion sometimes comes to a halt when you have to deal with some of the pointless side characters, but when the film is quiet, you feel fully inside the film’s world.

Unfortunately, even looking at all of these positives, this is easily one of the weakest Disney films I have ever seen. Its story is thin, the characters are either forgettable or annoying, the ending is underwhelming, and for all the money and time put into the film’s animation and marketing, you would think this would have been great. I guess it also doesn’t help that The Black Cauldron is based off a series of books. I don’t know, I feel like if they made the characters more interesting and not have the many Disney tropes, the film would have at least been solid. They probably should have gone full-on dark fantasy. I’m fine with you if you like it, since as I listed, there are good elements. It’s just not personally my favorite Disney film. Well, I hope you all enjoyed this because we are going to next time do a companion piece to In Defense Of with The Negatives, where we take a look at the negatives of the most popular/widely acclaimed Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movies. So, since we looked at one of the worst Disney disasters of all time, how about we look at Disney’s recent Golden Goose with Frozen? Thanks for reading!