Home (Elzevir Films: Nonfiction DVD) c.2009

Summary: “Spanning 54 countries and 120 locations, Home captures the Earth’s most amazing landscapes in a new and astonishing light, showcasing its incomparable beauty and acknowledging its vulnerability to change” — From Box. Photos and video by the world-famous Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Review: Visually, Home provides a rolling montage of terrain around the world that is flat out stunning. The narrative, however, is intended to terrorize the viewer. It starts with a 15-20 minute review of life on Earth, getting to the discovery of agriculture. And then, after agriculture, man discovers…oil. And it’s all down hill from there (they may have missed a bit of history in the jump there, folks). The music after this point is ominous, the dialogue a litany of woe and destruction. No suggestions are offered for how the tide of environmental annihilation can be stemmed, and the science and history felt a bit lazy and simplistic. Beautiful pictures aside, it’s depressing enough to make a viewer long for a documentary on drowning polar bears. This viewers overall impression was that the audio was a secondary consideration well behind the video montage, and was not given the necessary forethought: the result is catastrophic for this films watchability. I would recommend this for fans of Arthus-Bertrand’s stunning visual work, though they may want to mute the audio. Otherwise, only the most nihilistic environmentalist would probably be interested.

View-a-likes: There have been a slew of environmental documentaries out recently, the highest profile of which being Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. The 11th Hour, though, is also generally well done and even includes suggestions for addressing the problems raised! Both of these are harder hitting, without sinking the viewer into a state of abject depression. Those that truly believe the end is nigh might consider The Day After Tomorrow or 2012.

Availability: Home is available at Lake Bluff Public Library as a DVD. Click here to check on the availability!

Review by Eric.

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