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Worth A Look40%
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Pretty Bad40%
Total Crap: 4%

2 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Home on the Range
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by DrChumley

"Another lackluster Disney Flop"
2 stars

With the much publicized closure of the Disney animation studios around the world, the lackluster box office revenues, and recent ouster of Michael Eisner from the Presidency of the Disney Corporation, the death knell has sounded for the Disney hand-drawn animation tradition.

And, if Disney's last scheduled offering into the hand-drawn animation venue is any indication, it's probably for the best. Long gone are the story-driven epics of the early nineties. Gone are the well-crafted movie musicals and quality storytelling. What's left is a cross between an early Warner Brothers cartoon sans the humor and "Oliver and Company."

Home on the Range is the story of Maggie (Roseanne Barr), a cow who is sold off when her owner has to give up his farm after having all his cattle abducted. Maggie ends up on a idyllic piece of land named Patch of Heaven, where her brash, headstrong manner is quickly idolized by all the farmyard creatures except the reigning queen of Patch of Heaven, Ms. Calloway (Judi Dench).

The financial situation of Patch of Heaven is little better than that of Maggie's previous home, however, and before long, Patch of Heaven and all its animal inhabitants will be placed up for auction unless the money can be raised to pay off the bank. The cows set off to raise the money by capturing the yodeling cattle rustler, Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid). Then, S.H.E. (Standard Hijinx Ensue.)

Home on the Range is a mildly entertaining diversion, yet holds little that is memorable, exciting, new, different, or even very good. The story is hackneyed and cliched. The characters are one-dimensional and undeveloped. The resolution is unsatisfying. All in all, it's the epitome of the reasons why Disney's hand-drawn animation department has gone down the toilet.

The visual style of Home on the Range is an interesting cross of traditional Disney figure style and a more angular, contemporary character design. Instead of creating an interesting new style, much in the way the unique character design of Hercules added to the fantastic nature of the story, the animation comes across as disjointed and uneven. The merging of CGI and traditional animation is awkward, and sometimes jarring. Visually, the color palette is the best thing going for the film.

The script, like the story, is pretty standard underdog (or is that undercow?) fare. The writers had a difficult time determining whether they wanted to turn the film into a self-commenting farce like "The Emperor's New Groove" or a more straightforward tale, and so it too feels jumpy and disjointed.

Even the much touted "music" of the film was apropos, but hardly memorable.

Perhaps the only thing saving this movie from complete and total failure is the voice talent casting--one thing in which Disney still managed to excel. The matching of actors and actresses to character is nearly perfect. The only unusual casting to me was Randy Quaid as the voice of the traditional baddie, but he did an excellent job with the role. The performers were able to imbue their lackluster lines and strained dialogue with life, and help the snail's pace of the film moving forward at least a little.

All in all, Home on the Range is just another in a long line of lackluster films produced by Disney's animation department. Undoubtedly, Disney will pull it from the shelves in a few months after its release, and re-release it seven years from now as a "Golden Classic." But there's nothing either golden or classic about this film. It is a sad example on which the Disney corporation ends its run of quality hand-drawn animation.

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originally posted: 05/04/04 22:33:30
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User Comments

10/20/11 Magic Considering this was meant to be Disney's last animated hurrah, it's not that bad. 3 stars
1/08/10 Jeff Wilder A sad example of how low Disney sunk. 2 stars
3/17/09 Dominic SLIM reminds me of PROFESSOR RATIGAN in THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE. 5 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Disney went out of their way to kill hand-drawn animation. 1000 curses on them! 2 stars
8/11/05 ES worse than Mulan, now that's bad 1 stars
9/17/04 tatum The funniest I have ever found Roseanne or Cuba Gooding Jr.! 4 stars
5/20/04 John I guess we don't expect much from Disney uhh Eisner anymore 2 stars
4/15/04 gordon purcell Underrated, with a sharp 50's look to the design--lively with decent music 4 stars
4/13/04 Chris Thought it was good disney. I love all the cute animals. Just good olde fun. 4 stars
4/07/04 Siamese Toga Princess i like cows...the pigs were the best! 5 stars
4/07/04 Cameron Slick Bad music, unfunny jokes, banal animation, annoying Roseanne deter this to mediocre. 2 stars
4/04/04 re a good family film 4 stars
3/28/04 Ray It isnt that good, or that bad 3 stars
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  02-Apr-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Sep-2004



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