Home on the Range (2004)

Home-on-the-Range“Home on the Range” is a sign post, it’s a sign post up ahead the reads the basic end of Disney. What once was a company that gave us “The Lion King” and “Bambi” now gives us crap like “Lilo and Stitch”, their direct to video sequels of their classic films, and–this. I wanted to like “Home on the Range”, I really did, I was expecting at best an entertaining animated film that was a guilty pleasure, and even that doesn’t pull off my expectations at all. I was so disappointed after liking the pictures of the animated characters that I saw, but, man, this is a lame movie. The animation is very reminiscent of masters such as Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, and Bob McKimson, the era where cartoons were actually good and funny, does anyone remember that?

As for the characters, they are pretty funny, Buck is sometimes really funny with his massive ego and hopes of being a truly heroic horse, and many of the characters bordered on chuckle inducing. What I noticed only fifteen minutes in the film after its forgettable score, and dim scenery was that it’s bland. When main characters start burping loudly for comedy at the beginning, you know the writers have no material to work with at all, and that was a basic bad omen for me that this was not going to be anything like I expected. I can explain the story in one sentence, and that’s not a good thing. Managing to explain a plot in one sentence does not show one’s skill for wording, it’s just a bad sign. And what’s worse it’s a cliché and godly contrived plot line that leaves little room for imagination or innovation. The farm’s ‘a closin’, so the animals team up to save it! See? Story explained in one sentence.

And what’s even more worse is their main plot for achieving the money to fund said farm to stay open is just ridiculous; capture a bandit and land barren. Disney has lost it. Disney has lost its magic, it’s amazement, the elements in its animated tales that made is such a magical experience for viewers adult and young alike, and that’s sad. This movie represents what Disney is doing wrong. Every one of their animated films in years lack magic and wonder, and even in “The Incredibles” which I loved. There’s just nothing to like about this movie. The voice work from it’s “all-star” cast is forgettable, the score is trite and boring, and every single one of the characters are utterly unmemorable or worth mentioning. There’s just not a single one of the character in the group that made me want to remember them. There are the cows and other farm animals, the horse, the human characters whom are rare and I just didn’t remember the name of any of them.

Now while I still insist there’s still a lot that can be done with hand-drawn animation, there’s nothing even worth mentioning about this film, and nothing kept me interested. Halfway through, I went on my computer to do some work and nothing just caught my attention, which is hard to do. The film’s main flaw is that it’s just boring. Within the antics, animation, and gags, not one thing is worth getting into a fuss over because it’s just all done with a lot of lackluster. The plot was uninteresting because there’s just not enough character focus for all to care about them or what they were trying to do. The main farmer who has a special friendship with her animals is supposed to be the emotional centerpiece, but why should we care about her? What makes her worthy of our pity? Then the rest of the animal cast are just forgettable. There’s the grouchy goat, and the Clint Eastwood-like agent, and all of it is so obvious that it was boring.

Not to mention the three main heroines of the movie are just very broad. Why should we care about three characters whom are so vapid and broad in personality and antics? No character in this film is even the least bit interesting or engrossing to watch. There’s no one with a unique personality trait in the group that can help us relate more to them. One cow is a glorified fair winner and the outcast, but why? One cow is a bit ditzy (played by Jennifer Tilly of course), but why? The more distinguished cow is stuck up, but why? There’s no reason for their personality quirks and hardly ever do we get a tidbit of who they are. Some little bones I was able to pick didn’t have anything to do with their personality, like why does the British cow love her hat so much?

Why is it a fowl error to mess with it? Why does it make her mad when you do? There’s just nothing there. And the villain is also a big barrel of snooze because he’s so broadly sketched it’s not even funny. The only unique personality trait I could muster up from him is that he likes to yodel. Other than that he’s a broad stroke of a character I didn’t get to know. The voice cast sounds bored throughout the film as well. Randy Quaid is low-key, Roseanne Barr is boring, Jennifer Tilly is just her usual ditzy self, but in cow form, and Judi Dench can do this role in her sleep. Cuba Gooding Jr. continues to slum it as a self-glorified show horse, and he’s over the top as is expected from him these days. Within the forgettable musical numbers, and the boring climax, I just couldn’t force myself to find one thing positive about this.