A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Home (2009)

July 29, 2010


It’s Wil Wheaton’s birthday today, and NASA’s birthday, so we wracked our brains and searched our collection for something cool and space-themed. What we came up with was this: an introspective and mesmerizing documentary about the planet we find ourselves inhabiting. I hadn’t watched it yet, so I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but judging from the cover I took it to be a film in the vein of the Planet Earth documentary by the Discovery Channel. But it’s not quite that.

What it is is, in a word, preachy. Sanctimonious. I think it’s intended to be a wake-up call, but the narration is an almost monotonous laundry list of the ails of the world as brought upon the planet by man. We’re inundated with statistics like “One in ten natural rivers now no longer reach the sea in the dry months.” “Since nineteen-fifty the population of the Earth has tripled.” The repeating refrain drums into our heads the headlong acceleration of human expansion. “Faster and faster.” And my problem is not that I disagree with the central thesis of the film – that the current expansion of the human race is unsustainable – but that the way the message is ceaselessly drummed home is so self righteous and irritating.

I have to wonder what audience this narration was intended for. If to my ears, those of somebody who largely agrees with the bleak message being conveyed, this writing seems overbearing and irritating, then how must it sound to anybody who disagrees with the message? It would be simply unbearable. They’d turn the movie off in the first five minutes. So this self-righteous ranting must be aimed at other people like myself with environmental leanings. So the movie is unlikely to have any real impact, since the people likely to be able to bear to watch the whole thing are already making efforts to live in a more sustainable manner.

Luckily, the film is not irredeemably unwatchable. This is because it is filled with a never-ending sequence of jaw-dropping images captured by writer/director Yann Arthus-Bertrand. There’s also a great orchestral score. For much of the movie I simply wanted to turn the narration off and take in the amazing visuals. These are, for the most part, great wide areal tracking shots. Both of unbelievable natural beauty and of human excess and destruction. In one way it does live up to my expectations before I put it in: it shows a vast variety of different locations throughout the entire world. Every continent is represented and many, many countries. I could just get lost in these pictures.

So I don’t feel like I completely wasted the last two hours, even if I did have Glenn Close preaching on and on at me about how we’re destroying the only home we have and everything’s going completely down the crapper. At least it was accompanied by an amazing array of pretty pictures.

July 29, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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