Insert Cow Pie or “Udderly Bad” Joke Here
Originally Released: 2004
Ahh, we finally come to week 45 (although technically we are in week 91, but never mind that). This is the moment I had been dreading the entire time of my little project (although really it is last Christmas break when the moment happened, but never mind that, either). You see, I had heard the stories about the film that proved to be the final nail in the coffin to Disney 2D animation (until John Lasseter came around and brought us The Princess and the Frog, but never mind that…), and I vowed to avoid it. So avoid it is just what I did, and I was successful for years – that is, until I decided to do a project and watch every last Disney canon film, which kind of forced my hand on the issue. So when the time came, with much trepidation, I inserted that disc and feared the worst.
But before I get into my experience with this film, let me get something out of the way. The 2000’s decade is generally considered to be the worst decade for Disney, in terms of its animated films. I think I’ve even referred to it as the “decade of death,” or something like that. The truth is, most of the films to come out during this decade aren’t that bad. I actually quite enjoy a majority of them. So while the 2000’s still may contain the overall worst output from Disney, I can’t say it was really that bad a decade of film from the Mouse. I guess people were just so enamored with Pixar and Shrek that they just forgot to watch the movies, and Disney ended up losing a lot of money and reputation.
Anyway, back to Week (weak?) 45. This post is about Home on the Range. And it is bad.
On the top of my list of gripes is the insane voice casting choice pairing up Roseanne Barr and Judi Dench. Wow, what a horrible combination! I’m not sure how the the creators thought that pairing up those two would end well, but it didn’t. While Jennifer Tilly does her best to smooth things over, I thought it was a wreck overall.
Plot-wise, I couldn’t help but think things like “Really?? They are actually using the ‘rich tycoon setting out to own the whole west’ story? That’s the best they could do here?” Then we get to the mine cart chase. “Really?? They’re really using a scene straight out of ‘Indiana Jones?‘ That’s the best they could do here?” Then they move into the “colliding train” scenario shortly after that, and well, you get the picture. There is a great sense of tired storytelling in Home on the Range (of course, to be fair, I had never seen a yodeling Pied-Piper of cows, but after seeing one in action, I hope I never see another one again. Mercy. But nevermind that…).
Musically, although Disney once again enlisted the extremely talented Alan Menkin, the film really has no standout songs. Even Tim McGraw’s talents go wasted here.
Disney could have had a great thing in its hands by choosing to make an animated western, but the at-times-lazy, at-times-oddball choices by its creators make the overall end product something that unfortunately never comes close to reaching its potential. It’s possible that I’m being a little harsh on Home on the Range, but I feel like this is one film that actually deserves its reputation. Besides little kids and a few others out there, it’s hard for me to recommend this one.