"Home on The Range" is, to be blunt, kind of a disaster. The story about a bunch of cow's who try to catch an outlaw for reward money to save their home is an unoriginal idea, but you can even take an unoriginal idea and still have a good movie...provided you found a way to make it fun. "Aladdin" and "Hercules" were not terribly original movies, but the execution for both of them were excellent, which is why those movies are still loved by many people of all age's years after they were finished. "Home on The Range" is (as you've most likely heard) the final traditionally animated film from Disney, who gave us one of the greatest legacy's of all time.
Unfortunately someone seriously dropped the bomb on this one. The animation for this movie is pretty weak, sometimes looking like a direct-to-video movie...in fact, had Disney not claimed this movie to be one of their main animated features, then I would have thought that this WAS a direct-to-video feature! This movie contains some high celebrity voices like Roseanne Barr and Cuba Gooding Jr., but none of these voices are inspired choices, and they don't leave a lasting impression like Robin Williams or Jody Benson as the Genie and Arial respectively. There was some hope that the music for this movie would be excellent since Alan Menken (who's written some of Disney's best songs) was writing the music, yet even the music disappoints on many levels.
The songs sound like they come from an old 50's western movie, and ultimately the songs aren't very memorable in any way. Even a song by the great Tim McGraw fails to trigger much emotion from the audience. The DVD special features are mostly weak promotional fluff, yet the deleted scene's are interesting. The deleted scene's show several different directions and idea's the film was supposed to have but wasn't working for the director's, yet some of these deleted scene's are funnier then most of the stuff in the actual movie.
What's even more interesting is that all these story board scene's are voiced by the actual actors, and some of the scene's even have some completed animation. I always wondered how a cheap looking movie that is just a little over an hour long managed to cost over $100 million dollars, but from the looks of the deleted scene's and a commentary where the director's bring up several things they started but then cut out, I'm guessing the huge budget was spent mostly on work that didn't even get completed. Considering how much of the movie they changed, and how much actual animation Disney finished that ended up being scrapped because they weren't happy with it, I have to wonder why the film makers didn't take this as a sign that maybe the movie just wasn't working at all.
I'm also going to take a moment to criticize the ridicules PG rating that this film was given to by the MPAA. I don't know what the MPAA has been smoking lately, but to even THINK that "Home on The Range" needs to be previewed by parents before showing this film to kids is pure lunacy, as this movie is about as kid friendly as they come these days. Considering that there is no real violence, the "crude humor" is more silly then crude, and the fact that the story seems geared towards toddlers lead me to believe that this movie would be a good baby sitter then anything. I'm disappointed that this was the final hand drawn animated film from Disney instead of "Brother Bear" (which might not have been a GREAT Disney film but at least a very good Disney film), but who knows, if this is all they could come up with then maybe traditional animation does need a breather. Doesn't mean I can't be disappointed with the results though.
It took me quite awhile to watch "Home On The Range." I bought it for my daughter not long after it came out, and she has watched it a few times, but I never got around to viewing it. For some reason, it just lacked the appeal of other Disney fare. Well, last night my daughter and I sat down to look at this flick together. About thirty minutes into it, my daughter was called off to go to bed. I was also tired, but I was too caught up in this little Disney movie, so I stayed up late. I … more
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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A spiky animation style and cowboy yodelling giveHome on the Rangesome charisma. A trio of cows--Maggie (voiced by Roseanne,She-Devil), Mrs. Calloway (Judi Dench,Iris), and Grace (Jennifer Tilly,Bound)--hit the high prairie to track down a cattle rustler named Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid,Kingpin) in hopes that the reward money will save their farm. With the aid of Buck, a horse with heroic ambitions (Cuba Gooding Jr.,Jerry Maguire), the bovine avengers track the villain to his lair and save the day, to the accompaniment of tunes warbled by k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, and Tim McGraw. These songs--composed by Alan Menken (who wrote the music forThe Little MermaidandBeauty and the Beast)--are the movie's strongest element; the characters are largely trumped up to fit a number of weak jokes that reference current pop culture, thus rupturing the movie's Old West world. Still, it looks nifty.--Bret Fetzer