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HOME (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 7, 2009 by  



“If you thought ‘PLANET EARTH’ was stunning to look at, you have to give ‘HOME’ a chance.  Absolutely awesome visuals but also one of the first documentaries to show not only beauty of the planet but also the man-made destruction.  Absolutely wonderful cinematography and an eye-opener to what is happening in the world!  Highly recommended!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 – EUROPA CORP-ELZEVIR FILMS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: HOME

DURATION: 118 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 1:78:1), AVC@21 MBPS, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  English SDH Subtitles.

COMPANY: Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2009

Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Written by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Isabelle Delannoy

Produced by Luc Besson and Denise Carot

Edited by Yen Le Van

Production Management: Emmanuel Sajot, Sidonie Waserman

Sound Department – Olivier Walczak

Co-Produced by Greg O’Connor

Visual Effects by Anita Lech Bedez and Lohengrin Braconnier

Aerial Camera work by Michael Brennan, Richard Brooks Burton and Peter Thompson

Starring:

Glenn Close (Narrator)

Experience the wonderment of our world in a way that will enthrall, captivate and inspire you! Award-winning aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and narrator Glenn Close take you on a spectacular voyage around the world in Home, a unique film with such breathtaking imagery, you’ll want to enjoy it time and time again.

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.   A remarkable achievement in filmmaking, HOME is for anyone who’s ever wanted to explore, discover and soar in a way that puts our world – and our place in it – into true perspective.

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.

The world gets its oxygen from algae and trees but in many areas, civilization has been destroyed in various areas due to deforestation.  Of course, many of these civilizations never knew the repercussions.  In a way, many had high hopes that the trees and the plants will regrow.  But those trees never came back.

Areas which have made their money and their livelihood on seafood have learned that they have nearly eliminated all the fish in their area.  Countries that have depended on fossil water (that has accumulated since the beginning of the planet) are now having to deal with their wells carrying less water.  Where are they going to get their water?  These civilizations have no money or currency.   There are countries with villages of people living next to their filth and trash.  The food chain is being disrupted all over the planet.

For those of us in areas where water and trees are aplenty, these people from poor areas or areas that have not had any plans to repopulate the areas with tress are in much worse shape.  These people are going to face the same crisis like tribes of the past who have since disappeared to the crisis they faced at their time.  And these areas where those people have come from, those trees that they cut down hundreds of years ago have not come back.

Within the last five decades on this planet, humanity has changed the face of the planet more than ever.  Humanity has depleted its once abundant treasures and now civilizations in different parts of the world are now losing the main fundamental of what has kept us alive… water.

We know of the challenges when we find our oil shortened but what happens when our water supplies are shortened.  Can you imagine?

“HOME” is a documentary that doesn’t pose the question and we think these are hypothetical questions that have nothing to do with us.  These are questions that have importance and what better way to get a message across than to show people visually how bad things are in other countries.  Their situation can be our situation in the next few decades.

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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!






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