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Home by Lorne Balfe (Review)

posted Apr 15, 2015, 4:08 PM by Kaya Savas

I think the best thing about all our life journeys is that we all go through similar experiences yet each one is new and unique to our own story. So while we’ve seen the story of a kid befriending an outsider, in this case an alien, it still can be an emotional journey unique to the individuality of the character. Sure there’s Lilo & Stitch, E.T., How To Train Your Dragon and many more. But with Home, we have a story for these characters here and now. Composer Lorne Balfe has been on an amazing roll lately. He showed us his animated side with Penguins Of Madagascar, and here Dreamworks has given a more focused and emotionally driven storyline as a canvass. His score finds the emotions and personality from the get go, it’s a focused narrative that displays a bond of friendship and all that comes with it when you are from two different worlds. Home has personality, uniqueness and heart. It’s wonderfully thematic and rich with emotions. This is a fantastic score.

Home has no problem finding its unique voice from the start. "Symphony In Oh" gives us our central theme and from then on we are on the journey. Balfe keeps the orchestrations light, bouncy and adds just the right amount of percussion for the more action-driven moments. The score brings tons of energy and life, and in these moments we find the personality of the characters and the relationship. We feel it build as the adventure progresses. Within the film’s narrative, Balfe’s score shares some space with songs from the band Stargate. In what’s probably some weird legal thing, Stargate shares music credit on the film and therefore their name is on the cover even though they didn’t have a hand in the score. There is a separate song album, and what we have here is all Balfe. With that being said, Balfe’s score does have to fight against what is not considered top tier Dreamworks. Home as a film is no where near the storytelling power of something like How To Train Your Dragon, and of course this is no fault to Balfe. However, Lorne does successfully find the emotional heart of the film with the 40min of score we have here, and makes us emotionally invested for the entirety of the journey. The score is not all bounce and energy. There is a subtlety and emotional nuance within the thematic variations for those gentler moments. The score becomes its own beautiful creation. If you need to draw comparison one can always look at John Powell’s Mars Needs Moms, which is another masterful score to a not so masterful film. Home's music is a beautiful testament to the characters and their story, but unfortunately the film itself as a whole falls short. That doesn't stop the score from still being able to find and hit all the beats it needed to hit.

Lorne puts on display some of his most emotionally in-touch thematic work to date here. It’s a focused narrative that aims right on the emotional connection between our two main characters. He instills the fun and bounce one would expect from a brightly colored Dreamworks flick, but don’t underestimate the power of where the score will take you. By the end you will be fully invested as the music's beautiful thematic variations draw every ounce of emotion out. It provides fun adventure and subtle heart. I found this score to feel very personal. He never makes the emotional current too large or over the top because the relationship of the characters is so unique to them. The adventure itself has some great swells, and that’s where the score brings the fun and excitement. It's beautiful at times and the thematic stricture is on point. Home is some of Lorne’s most impressive writing because it was born from the characters and not the wacky adventure they go on. The film may fall short, but the score itself is a heartfelt delight.