Home on the Range
Home on the Range is a 2004 American animated western musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 45th Disney animated feature film, it was the last 2D animated Disney film released until The Princess and the Frog in 2009. Named after the popular country song of the same name, Home on the Range features the voices of Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, Jennifer Tilly, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Randy Quaid, and Steve Buscemi.
When an eviction notice shows up at the gates of the Patch of Heaven dairy farm, three cows, Maggie, Grace and Mrs. Calloway, take it upon themselves to prevent their home from being taken away. To do so, they set out on a quest, along with the Sheriff's horse, to collect the ransom on outlaw Alameda Slim, a infamous wanted cattle rustler.
- The main protagonists are pretty weak and cliché, such as Maggie, Grace, and Mrs. Calloway.
- Alameda Slim is a dull antagonist who comes across as more unfunny than evil. In fact, his motives are very stupid and lame, as he wants to take over the United States of America by purchasing every single land...just to obviously take over the country.
- Kitsch and weak voice acting especially for Disney standards, with overused hillbilly accents, like Roseanne Barr.
- Many jokes are very weak, stale, repetitive and unfunny, with bad puns and one-liners (e.g. "What's her specialty? Sour cream?") and western stereotypes.
- While the animation is rather decent for Disney standards, the CGI backdrops are very artificial and fake, and many character models are recycled, such as Slim's henchmen.
- Laughable and poor dialogue, such as Maggie's "What is this, the frozen food section?" and "Well, if isn't the three maids of milking."
- Pitifully standard and unoriginal story with an overuse of every western cliché in the book that gets boring pretty quickly.
- The film often rips off many elements from other better animated films such as An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
- Forgettable and irritating musical songs, such as the titular theme song and Slim's villain song "Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo".
- Parts of the film outright stop to talk down to its audience.
- Despite the film being set in the western times, there are various anachronisms, such as Wesley mentioning "ASAP", slang that was not around during that time.
- The "Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo" song musical scene where Slim hypnotizes cows is implied to be a reference to drugs.
- Unfitting dark comedy aspects in a PG-rated Disney movie, such as a fly staring at Maggie's udders/butt, a couple of bulls sexually harassing the protagonists and a bandit carrying a knife to deal with enemies.
- Many of the characters are often annoying and unlikable, such as Buck, who often becomes grating, and the tone deaf Grace.
- The writing is a mixed bag and could be only appreciated by those who can't count past two on their fingers.
- Decent animation.
- Even if the songs are forgettable, there are at least two good ones, Little Patch of Heaven and Will the Sun Ever Shine Again?.
- Passable actresses and actors like Jennifer Tilly as Grace, Steve Buscemi as Wesley, Judi Dench as Mrs. Calloway, and a few others.
- Even if the jokes are weak, there are at least some funny moments here and there.
- The action scenes are enjoyable and exciting.
- Lucky Jack is a likable and funny character.
- The plot twist of Rico actually being a minion of Alameda Slim is played out perfectly and helps Buck to realize the errors of his ways and aid the cows at the end.
Home on the Range received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and audiences, with criticism towards it's songs, humor, characters, and story, although voice acting, Alan Menken's score, and action scenes are praised. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 53% of critics gave positive reviews based on 128 reviews, with an average rating of 5.72/10. The site's general consensus is: "Though Home on the Range is likeable and may keep young children diverted, it's one of Disney's more middling titles, with garish visuals and a dull plot.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 50 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. It is often (to this day) coincided the low point of the animated Disney canon next to Chicken Little a year later.
- This was originally going to be the last 2D animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios (known at the time as Walt Disney Feature Animation), but Walt Disney Animation Studios later released another 2D animated film, The Princess and the Frog, in 2009, five years after Home on the Range. The last 2D animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios ended up being Winnie the Pooh in 2011.
- The original pitch for the film was titled Sweating Bullets and was a supernatural western about a timid cowboy who visits a ghost town and confronts an undead cattle hustler named Slim. The character was later changed to a bull named Bullets.
- Originally Alameda Slim and his trio of henchmen were going to be ghost rustlers after being killed in a stampede. The one legged rabbit whose leg Slim stole was going to be a protagonist.
- The deleted scenes on the DVD revealed an alternate opening with three singing/narrating fly creatures, an alternate meeting with Lucky Jack, a coyote chase scene, and a different goal by Slim to use his hypnotized cows to storm the White House and be president. The producers realized all these scenes worked well on their own, but not in the context of the overall film, so they cut them all out.
- The main character was supposed to be a human boy at first, then a male calf, then Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, and Grace.