This 2009 feature film shot by noted aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is a visual spectacular in the tradition of Koyanisqaatsi and the rest of Godfrey Reggio's trilogy. Like those earlier films, it aims to show us humans how we are changing life on this planet. But there the resemblance ends. The Reggio trilogy, and similar films like Ron Fricke's Baraka, let the images speak for themselves. Home, on the other hand, is dominated by its script, a powerful sermon aimed at changing our relationship with the biosphere.
Although it delivers its message mostly in scientific rather than religious terms, i call it a `sermon' because it is aimed directly at our moral and spiritual sensibilities. The scope of it, beginning with the advent of life on Earth 4 billion years ago, matches the magnificent sweep of the visuals. Having given us in the first hour an overview (in every sense!) of where we come from, the second hour of the film draws our attention directly to climate change and the rest of the planetary crisis caused by our collective habits. The final few minutes show us how various communities have actually changed their habits in ways that help to head off disaster. The central focus is on overconsumption - which is entirely appropriate, given that the 20% of humans who consume 80% of the Earth's resources are the likely audience for this film, although the impoverished majority have a starring role in it.
The script makes excellent use of factual information, along with the visual feast, to `go for the gut' and inspire an informed response. The delivery is not perfect - the voice-over by Glenn Close includes some minor but annoying blunders, especially when she says `climactic' when the word should be `climatic'.Read more ›
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This documentary has some wonderful photography, and that helps you get through the depressing message you get hammered with for most of the film. They finally put a bit more of a positive spin near the very end, but it's a little late. Glenn Close narrates and it just doesn't sound right - maybe it's all the negativity she has to share. Recommended for anyone who isn't aware of how badly the human race is treating the earth.
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The whole film is made up of gorgeous aerial shots that tell the story of our evolution and accelerated development. There are several shots of parts of the world I had never seen before, and I've seen a lot of documentaries. When is the blu-ray version coming out? I'm buying this for my friends.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Stunning!June 5 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a magnificent production. I'm now watching it on the National Geographic channel and had to check to see if a DVD was available. No commercials to interrupt the thread!
The photography is stunning, the music enjoyably fitting and the narrator's voice smooth and clear. The story is informative, sad and scary.
Yes, this production conveys the message that the current economic model of consumption is not conducive to long-term survival (in the manner to which we have become accustomed) where a secure supply of uncontaminated food/water and adequate shelter/clothing are a given.
Sometimes "a picture is worth a thousand words".
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Educational and an Eye-Opener!June 7 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Home is an excellent documentary which aims to familiarize us with our planet while reminding us of our place and responsibilities vis-à-vis our environment. The amount of effort and research put into this project is evident and as a result the documentary helps transport the viewer to different locations allowing one to lay eyes on natural wonders and disasters alike. Glenn Close does an amazing job narrating in a way that brings to mind the Lords of the Rings, while the photography is simply breathtaking! In short, Home is a must-see documentary, strongly recommended to those people that do care about the legacy they leave behind for the generations to come. 5 Stars
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Great documentary, with stunning images and good narrativeJune 5 2009
Fea M. Yen
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a great documentary film! The images and shots were movingly stunning, the colors were amazingly rich and fluid. THe narrative highlighted the problems that we've created with literature-worthy eloquence and with objectivity whilst not forgetting humanity's needs. The mostadmirable part of it was that while it instills a sense of pain and regret for the environment, it focuses on what we still have and what we can still save. But behind every good narrative, there is a good soundtrack and the one for this documentary lives up to its narrative, with music from all corners of the globe, each fitting into its place and each a place where it fits.
One extremely noteworthy aspect of narrative,picture and soundtrack mixing well is that the soundtrack doesn't drown out the narrative, as some documentaries are wont to do. Also, the documentary allows for moments of wordless eloquence to captivate the viewer in sound and image - yet without dragging it to being "verbose".
all in all, the five stars awarded are truly deserved. one for picture, one for mastery of language in narration, one for soundtrack, one for humanity the last one, for message and overall delivery.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Thank you Yann Arthus-Bertrand! This Blu-ray is visually impressive, thought provoking, inspiring and powerful!June 11 2009
[KNDY] Dennis A. Amith
- Published on Amazon.com
It's too late... to be a pessimist.
"HOME" is a film directed by Award-winning aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Yann has been active in covering the world beginning with his Altitude Agency which he formed in 1991, an agency which was the first of its kind to specialize in aerial photography and in 1994 he captured the world from above and its beauty in the book "Earth from Above" which became a best seller in many countries.
But Yann is also known for his involvement with Ecology and he is the founder of GoodPlanet, helping companies and people with reforestation and practicing energy efficiency. He is a well-respected man known for his work on public environmental awareness and most recently, the world became familiar with his work from his film "HOME".
The story of the creation of "HOME" is quite interesting. In 2007, he began his new documentary project originally known as "Boomerang" which then became known a "HOME". Produced by well-known film director/producer Luc Besson and financed by the PPR group, "HOME" was created. In a way, the documentary was Yann's way of showing the world of what kind of state our planet is in. That the beauty that we see, can all be gone within the next decade(s) due to man's needs and rapidly depleting natural resources.
In order to have the film shown worldwide, Yann gave up his rights to the film and it was shown on the video streaming site "YouTube" on June 4, 2009 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 5th.
The film spanned 54 countries and 120 locations covering the most amazing landscapes of the planet. Narrated by actress Glenn Close, the film starts off with showing us the beauty of the planet. From the volcanoes, the rivers, the ice and water that flow through the world. Then the beautiful rain forests and then the animals that reside on the planet.
But unlike other well-done documentaries on nature that focus solely on a planet's beautiful surroundings and the animal interaction and its importance in the food chain, "HOME" shows those things but immediately switches gears to show us the how our planet is in trouble and to best illustrate the trouble, showing various civilizations who are now in trouble or are facing major crisis.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"HOME" is featured in 1080p High Definition (aspect ration of 1:78:1) and is featured on a 25-GB single layer Blu-ray disc (AVC @ 21 MBPS). If you thought "Planet Earth" looked absolutely incredible, "HOME" is magnificent to watch and the imagery is absolutely breathtaking.
Words can not describe the imagery captured on film. From above a volcano, to high above the algae covering the oceans, the farm lands across the world, the deserts, the ice, the people, the animals from high above. But then you see the destruction of trees and areas that were once full of water, now having depleted their water resource. You will be in awe of the cinematography but shocked about how civilizations have depleted their natural resource that lands that were once full of trees are now barren. Nothing has grown back. Just shocking!
As for audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (and also French 5.1 Dolby Digital). Glenn Close narrates the film and can be heard clearly. But there are scenes where you hear water rushing and you can hear your subwoofer being utilized as the rumbles are captured. Also, above many civilizations that are packed with people, you can hear them from way above and those crowd noises are captured quite well. The audio compliments the overall video imagery and is what I expected from a documentary.
As for subtitles, English SDH is offered.
Unfortunately, there are no special features on this Blu-ray release.
I absolutely loved "HOME". I was surprised how the film started out showing us the beauty of the planet. The cinematography was excellent but 30-minutes into the film, I was asking myself...is this all about the beauty of the planet? Having watched "Planet Earth" on Blu-ray and various nature based documentaries, I was thinking that perhaps that "HOME" was no different from the others. Beautiful cinematography but I was hoping for something more.
Well, the film suddenly switches gears and then shows us the man-made destruction of the planet. I was immediately captivated by the images of lands that have had their forests eliminated, then to see lands that were once full of water now seeing their water levels much lower than ever. Image after image of civilizations who have depended on their natural resources now having depleted them. From the fish to the water.
I was absolutely in awe. I never knew other countries had it this bad. And to know that because they have used up their natural resources, there is a chance that they will become refugees in their country. But shocking are images of people living amongst their trash, people who are living in poor impoverished areas but built right next to them are these big multi-billion dollar oil corporations.
We learn of Easter Island's Rapa Nui tribe, well known for the Moai (statues) but also well-known for how this tribe destroyed its forests and how habitat destruction has led to soil problems, then water problems and overall collapse on civilization, nearly wiping everyone out. Of course, Easter Island's conflicts have been documented by travelers who have visited the area when it was lush and full of life and now, all life is nearly all gone from that region.
There are many images that I would never have expected to see captured on film and that imagery is all captured in "HOME".
"HOME" is a magnificent documentary that opened my eyes to the world. Director Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the whole crew must be commended for such risky, challenging but also beautiful work of covering 54 countries and 120 locations. It's one thing to capture beauty but to capture the destruction by man. In fact, on the back of the Blu-ray case, you learn that the producers will donate their film's profits back to Goodplanet.org. Even the packaging is ecologically friendly and made with 30% recycled paper and bio-based inks.
Needless to say, after watching "HOME", my eyes have opened up to the world. There are many things we have read or heard about on the news but now we have visual evidence that is made available to the world of how things are getting worse and that we need to change our ways before its too late. Because of technology, we are now rapidly exceeding our planets resources. And already, civilizations are or will soon go through catastrophic situations never seen before. This documentary is indeed an eye-opener.
"HOME" is breathtakingly brilliant on Blu-ray with awesome picture quality but as much as the visuals are impressive and vibrant. It's one of those documentaries that you hope everyone gives it a chance and the time to watch and see for themselves and so they will know what is going on in the world. I don't think many have a clue how our planet has changed within the last 50 years and its pretty sad.
There is literally so much visually to take in but I wouldn't mind watching this documentary repeatedly because the amount of footage and what you are able to see is outstanding. Again, I am very impressed with this release.
If there was one nitpick I have with this Blu-ray release is that with the message delivered from the film, I wish there would be some form of special features included. May it be pointing people to directions of websites that they can get involved in and even a featurette on the making of "HOME". Anything extra would have been nice. But I understand that the focus and the message the filmmakers wanted people to see, is what people will take from the film after watching it. Again, "HOME" is simply magnificent and is truly an eye-opener and this is probably one of the rare occasions where a Blu-release was barebones in special features content but still receive my highest recommendation.
"HOME" is a documentary that I wholeheartedly recommend. I was amazed and now I'm just happy that I had the opportunity to watch this. This Blu-ray is highly recommended!
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Incredible cinematographic detail and style, iffy script!July 29 2009
D. E. Hill
- Published on Amazon.com
The aerial cinematography in this film is terrific to watch, and that is why it rates 5 stars. You will definitely want the blu-ray version, because the detail is astonishing. There are some strange things about the American language script however. First, some poor, yet should-have-been-obvious edits for this audience, for example: 1) Grand Canyon of Arizona, or of the Colorado, not in Colorado, 2) Towns started up more than 6,000 years ago, not 600 years ago. Second, the message often had nothing to do with the images. You notice this right away when we are looking at glacial ice-fields in Iceland, and the narrator is talking about rivers. What was that all about? What does a healthy, swimming whale have to do with the plight of ocean fisheries? It appears that there was a collection of TERRIFIC video, and someone needed a "socially relevant" script to accompany its presentation, but the match was not tight. Third, there is an enormous dichotomy between more than an hour spent in hopeless and dreadful pessimism about the planet, followed by a few minutes of optimism that was kind of unsupported. I mean, if Americans are the worst offenders on the Planet, what does more education and aid to third world countries have to do with the impact of overpopulation and technology? Fourth, core issues like population control and political instability were not addressed at all. I am afraid that valid points like the link between meat consumption and high levels of resource utilization get lost in the message of aid to developed countries, or the lack of a real solution here. After all, if we are all vegetarians consuming 1/10 of the agricultural resources per capita, what happens when there are 10 times as many of us in a few years? What about this urban blight? Can we all go rural, not suburban, but really rural? Aren't we better off when people in third world countries don't drive automobiles? So, I think the messages here do raise a lot of thought, but are short on convincing answers, or convincing video evidence. The "feel good" stuff at the end is just that. My well-to-do neighbors have college educations, and they still eat beef and shrimp from shrimp farms that are destroying mangrove forest,fill their refrigerators with bottled water, and they drive SUVs without remorse! Maybe we need more clear thinking about human nature, not just some comforting blurbs about how good we could be if things were just right! But, such a cinematographic journey this is!