150328homeposterIt’s not nearly as often as I would like that I can feel completely confident taking my children to the movies.

Too many films, even those animated and made specifically for children, reflect values I may disagree with or push storylines about the stupidity of adults designed to make kids laugh, but effectively undermining me as a parent. Too many others sneak in lewd jokes or content in a misguided effort at comedy.

In recent years, however, as several studios (Pixar, Dreamworks and so on) have arisen to give Disney some much-needed competition in the animated film biz, a handful of films have emerged that reinforce, rather than tear down, the kinds of pro-family, redemptive values I hold dear while even affirming a biblical worldview.

I’m happy to say that “Home,” in theaters now, is just such a film.

“Home,” rated PG, follows an accident-prone little alien named Oh, of the bumbling but adorable race of aliens called the Boov. When threatened by a conflict with another alien race, the Boov run away across the galaxy and choose Earth as their new home. Using their superior technology, the Boov relocate the world’s humans to resettlement colonies in Australia and take over the rest of the planet for themselves.

But a human girl named Tip is accidentally overlooked, separated from her mother and left alone as the only human in America.

These two outcasts find one another and set off on a globetrotting mission to correct Oh’s blunders and help Tip reunite with her mother.

The film is cute and well voice-acted, but its frenetic pace doesn’t permit as much emotional connection as it could create, and its non-stop jokes aren’t particularly well set-up, leading to a long string of chuckles without nearly enough guffaws. For the most part, “Home” is no more than an average entertainment experience, though it has grown on me upon further reflection.

The messages and themes of “Home,” however, are nothing short of a home run. Keeping promises, earnestly caring for friends, learning empathy, finding hope in dark circumstances, the love of family, taking responsibility for mistakes and finding courage when the cause is just all come shining through Tip and Oh’s adventures.

The film’s climax also contains a poignant scene where a character sacrifices even life itself for the good of others.

The scene is a perfect precursor to the gospel itself and the words of Christ, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

For those politically inclined or for slightly older audiences, “Home” also has a minor, but consistent theme of illustrating how freedom-crushing, tyrannical government soothes the masses into believing it’s actually benevolent. Oh himself reveals how well-intentioned people can be duped into thinking a Big Brother that takes and redistributes is actually a good thing:

  • “Boov are best at deciding what is useful and what is not.”
  • “Boov do not ‘steal’ and ‘abduct’; Boov liberate and befriend.”
  • Individuality, dancing and art are not allowed. Instead, Boov prefer the song of their people, titled “Motionless and Obedient.”

As the story progresses, Oh’s begins to question both the wisdom of deeming things “useless” and the benevolence of his own society’s ways.

Eventually, Oh confronts his civilization’s leader: “You are not a good captain. You tell us all these things, and we believe them,” the implication being that Oh believes them no longer.

While not an animated classic by any stretch – it’s no “Toy Story” – “Home” is among the first films I’d recommend for families wanting to enjoy an animated afternoon at the movies.

Content advisory:

  • “Home,” rated PG, contains neither profanity nor obscenity.
  • The film has no significant sexuality. There are a few moments of “potty” humor when Oh encounters a public restroom for the first time and misunderstands the use of urinals and toilets.
  • The movie contains some cartoon, slapstick violence, including a leader alien who “shushes” other aliens by bonking them on the head with his scepter and various scenes of the aliens running around and running into one another. There is a prolonged sequence of peril when the lead characters fall from the sky and must dodge obstacles and the destruction of the environment. Some chase scenes, car crashes, battle scenes between alien craft and mild physical violence are present. There is a frightening scene toward the end where an alien machine falls upon a main character, presumably killing that character.
  • The movie has no significant religious or occult content, save for the existence of various sentient alien species.

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