Animated films aimed at children are dominated by white protagonists and so Home immediately stands out by having Tip (Rihanna), an Afro-Caribbean girl, as the protagonist. Furthermore, behind Home’s bright bubble-gum aesthetic lies a story with an impressive moral lesson. That is, at its core, Home is about colonialism, displacement, and strangely, race relations. Despite its noteworthy surface, however, Home drives itself forward in a pop frenzy of audio-visual stimulation that ultimately make the film an adventurous headache.
The story begins with the Boov, an alien race that’s a cross between an octopus and mood-ring. Whenever the Boov experience intense emotion, their bodies change color to reflect their feelings. The Boov are currently on the run from the Gorg, another alien race that seemingly want nothing more than the destruction of the Boov. Things begin to look up for the latter race when they encounter Earth.
Relegating the entire human population to one area, the Boov celebrate their newfound home. In a mistake, however, Oh (Jim Parsons) sends an invitation to the Gorg to join the Boov in celebration. Oh subsequently becomes a fugitive and while on the run, encounters Tip, a courageous girl on the search for her mother, Lucy (Jennifer Lopez), who she was separated from during the Boov invasion. With stakes in one another, the two form an unlikely duo and begin their quest to stop the Gorg invasion and find Lucy.
Despite only being a voice-actor, thus lacking the physical presence that accompanies his comedy in The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons as Oh is more than recognizable to anyone who is also familiar with Parson’s character of Sheldon Cooper. In Home, Parson plays the same fast speaking, annoying but slightly endearing character that he does in The Big Bang Theory. The color-changing aspect of the Boov is at times used to heighten or to accentuate the punch lines, such as when Tip first introduces Oh to music (a moment of cultural exchange) and like a strobe light, Oh begins to rapidly change color while dancing for the first time.
Rihanna as Tip is a bit more likeable than Oh, only because Tip isn’t annoying and has a better character template; that being, Tip is the young, smart, resourceful, and courageous girl. The only problem with Tip might be that she’s a well written character in an otherwise mediocre film.
Home has some smart ideas and lessons to be learned for young audiences but in getting to those smart moments, Home is a complete spectacle, that while surely will appease 3 year olds, will only leave the rest of the audience thinking about how head-splitting the rest of the film is. There are fun moments to be had between the pop soundtrack supplied by Rihanna, and the comedy between Tip and Oh but ultimately, Home’s few shining moments aren’t enough to hold up the rest of the film.