Overview: Oh, an extraterrestrial convict, helps a human girl reunite with her mother; 20th Century Fox; 2015; Rated PG; 94 minutes.
They Keep Booving: The Boovs claim Earth. Gratuity “Tip” Tucci (Rihanna) is mistakenly left behind during the relocation process and is separated from her mom, forced to live on her own until the Boovs begin to transplant themselves into her apartment building. Upon fleeing, she runs into one of the invaders, Oh (Jim Parsons) who is on hiding from higher authorities. With no direct leads, the pressure of the fast-approaching authorities, and a convincing argument from Oh to help her, Tip agrees to travel with Oh. Together, they find more than Tip’s mother.
Towards the Sun: Children see themselves in their heroes, the characters in their books and movies. As an adult, I cannot stress the significance in seeing a face, resembling your own, on the screen. I am a minority of a minority. A girl and of color, two traits working against me. I have great admiration for Tip; she is sharp, strong, and determined. Tip is an individual worthy of the aspiration. Rihanna gives life to Tip, the resilience in her voice is apparent as is the no-nonsense attitude. Director, Tim Johnson, connects Rihanna and Tip culturally and visually with roots from Barbados to the beautiful curls framing Tip’s face. Although some voice actresses create a new persona to fit the character, Johnson did not compromise Rihanna’s voice, allowing the slightly accented inflections to add to Tip’s personality. As Oh, Parsons executes the unconventional and overly-formal locution seamlessly. His vocal performance differs from his small screen role, as Oh communicates without the haughtiness synonymous with Sheldon Cooper. As for Lucy Tucci, Tip’s mother, this is Jennifer Lopez’s best role since Selena. The comedic moments during the movie are tactful and evenly spaced, delivered at optimal points.
The Boov’s evasive and passive behavior is uncharacteristic of previously depicted alien races, a charming detour from the typical malicious variety. One of the greatest challenges facing Home, is it takes place in the present time in a city environment. Countless elements are accounted for, the price tags and Tip’s wardrobe changes, in order to recreate the world we live in. This world is painstakingly layered: the background, foreground, lighting, and visual effects. The visual effects alone are tedious. The flame propelling a rocket, the wisps escaping the freezer, and the illusion of heat off a lava encrusted surface are separate efforts apart from the animation holding our attention. The pièce de résistance is Tip’s hair. Some may argue Pixar tackled a laborious mane in Brave. However, not with deep brown curls. It is easier to add darkness to light in order to emphasize depth, adding light to dark is far more arduous. Often, in Home, we are shown more of the intricacies of her hair, the texture, the almost tangible flutter through a breeze, and the bounce when pulled back.
Under-Promise, Over-Deliver: Do not watch the trailer. Go into the theater free of any thoughts giving false impressions of what the movie is. I prematurely came to the conclusion Home was to be another atrocity following Penguins of Madagascar, overflowing with dreadful puns with a muddled array of supporting characters. I was met with confusion at one particular scene from the trailer, where Oh dances to Sean Paul’s 2002 track “Get Busy.” Why use an out-dated song? You will come to find Rihanna recorded original tracks for Home, and they support the tone of the movie without having to become a random musical number. Home is concentrated and fully immersive from the start, well-paced, and almost annoyingly endearing.
Final Thoughts: Home easily triumphs animation early on in 2015.