It’s been said that there’s no place like home. Well, with this latest environmental-documentary release on Blu-ray Disc, it’s safe to say Home is like everyplace else on Earth. There was no shortage of hype prior to the release of Home, as it’s the first film ever to be released simultaneously worldwide on every format as well as in theaters. It’s also the first film to be shot exclusively from the air, and its creative team was comprised of the same individuals who did the outstanding Planet Earth series. The only problem is, now that Home has finally released, and with all the other excellent environmental documentaries already on the market, we’ve simply seen and heard all this stuff before, but in a better way.
Home is not only late to the game, it’s overly melodramatic and remarkably preachy. Whereas An Inconvenient Truth laid out the facts, and The Death of the Electric Car posed solutions and hope to an arguably bleak situation, Home points the finger straight at the people who watch it and delivers a level of guilt that will have home viewers thumbing their nose (or worse) at the filmmakers rather than identify with their message and be inspired to change. Home’s narration by Glenn close includes lots of the word “you” rather than “we” or “humans,” and its tone is incredibly accusatory. Heck the film even opens by saying that Earth (as a planet) has no evil creatures, but by the time you finish watching the entire show, you’ll feel as though YOU are evil.
Truly, after an hour and 40 minutes of watching and hearing how humans are destroying the planet, you’ll feel just about ready to commit suicide. The last 10-15 minutes of “positive talk” is too little, too late, and it isn’t nearly sufficient to leave you feeling as though there’s anything you can do to help the world. And keep in mind, these comments are coming from a reviewer who owns An Inconvenient Truth and recommends The Death of the Electric Car to anyone with a remote interest in environmentalism. Seriously, Home is one depressing flick.
At least the video quality is impeccable. Considering its Planet Earth pedigree, it’s nice to see that that film’s qualities of crisp HD video are intact, with great detail, great contrast and fantastic saturation in every frame. The only downer is that the breathtaking locales aren’t identified, so you’re left wondering what you’re looking at. Of course, this may be due to the filmmaker’s aforementioned accusatory tone. After all, while Planet Earth made you want to visit the places you saw on film, Home makes you somewhat glad you don’t know where they are for fear that you’d somehow destroy it.
The audio doesn’t do the Blu-ray format justice, but there’s nothing to really fault for this. Because the film is so reliant on narration, most of the audio comes from the center channel, so there’s nothing to really work the other channels in a 5.1 setup. There’s some ambient audio that corresponds with the visuals, but since Home was shot entirely in the air, there aren’t many opportunities for surround sound or “immersive” audio.
Nor are there opportunities to really feel good after watching this film, or even remotely educated since most of the content has been covered in previous films. Home is impressive for its simultaneous-release feat, but its content, tone and holier-than-thou themes provide nothing but fodder for detractors who say the environmental movement has gone out of control. If Home were the only thing on which that argument could be based, they could very well be right. Fortunately, we all know of many more — and arguably better — environmental productions on the market today, leaving little for us to actually recommend about this film.
Click here to buy Home on Blu-ray from Amazon.
- Score: 4
- The video quality is the only redeeming quality of this Blu-ray release. The content and tone are tired and abrasive, respectively, and are bound to leave even pro-environment viewers with a sour taste in their mouth.
— Jonas Allen