Reviews: Home On The Range
Home On the Range: the sad, sad child of the Animated Cannon
"Home on the Range. I once had a home, but not anymore." With these words, Disney's Home on the Range begins the tale of 3 cows, a rabbit and a horse in their fight against a yodeling cattle rustler. Much has been said about this movie, and in my humble view, the movie is less So Bad Its Horrible, and more So Okay Its Average. There has of course been many complaints about the characters, the villains, and the tone, but as an overly forgiving patron of Disney, I declare this a decent movie. The main character is a show cow named Maggie, who moves into the dirt farm Patch of Heaven, only to find out that the farm has fallen behind in payments, and is $750 in debt. (which considering this was the old west is a lot of money) To pay off this debt, Maggie convinces the two other cows on the farm: the uptight Mrs. Calloway and the ditzy Grace to help them capture the worst cattle rustler ever: Alameda Slim. Slim certainly has a degree of menace in his being, but due to his, shall we say, unique method of control (yodeling), a lot of people can find him hard to take seriously. Personally, despite his absurdity, I find him at the very least effective in his capture of cattle. He's accompanied by his posse, the goofy willy brothers and by another character, Rico who I wont go into detail about now. Despite the wide range of emotions conveyed by the leading lady cows, my favorite characters have to be Buck and Lucky Jack. Buck is a horse who longs to be a hero and will do almost anything to get there. He perhaps develops the most of anyone in his quest against Slim, and his ultimate change and battle is awesome to witness. Lucky Jack is a jackrabbit with a pegleg. Perhaps the most obvious Butt Monkey of the cast, and watching his antics is perhaps the funniest part of the movie. Of the songs, they definitely try to get a western vibe across, and it has perhaps one of the most beautiful "heroic pain" songs in the canon with "Will the Sun ever shine again?" Overall though, despite their good mood setting vibe, I'm afraid most of them are pretty forgettable. I suppose with this different tone but still trying to be dramatic in places was what ultimately made this movie so despised. Yet I still say that it isn't a bad movie, just a poorly timed one after a string of mediocre films before it. I give it at least 3 of 5 stars.
Not THAT bad
This and Chicken Little are the Black Sheep of the Disney Animated Canon. Looking at the reviews and box office number, it's easy to see why this was Disney's last traditional animated film until 2009. Even this very wiki has little to say about it other than snarky comments. So, what's my opinion of it? This may be a surprise, but I do not hate this movie to the extent of the rest of the Disney fandom. I agree it's not the best, but it doesn't have to be Oscar Bait like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King to be enjoyable. So, what do I like about it? Let's take a look. First of all, there's the characters. We have Maggie, the slightly annoying but still enjoyable protagonist. (Though she does get a couple of painful jokes like "Yeah, they're real. Quit staring" and "Stallion of the Cimmoron".) Then we have the adorably ditzy Grace, and the serious and uptuck Mrs. Calloway. We also have our two comic reliefs, Buck and Lucky Jack. They're definitely fun and enjoyable. (Plus, Lucky Jack's design is reminiscent of older Disney rabbits like Rabbit and the March Hare.) But my all-time favorite character has got to be Alameda Slim. A lot of people complain about him being "too silly" and "not menacing enough", but maybe he's not supposed to be menacing. Maybe he's supposed to be funny, like Captain Hook, Ratigan, and Hades. Plus, he has probably the most hilarious villain song ever in the name of "Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo". Finally, there's the music. Done by our good friend Alan Menken, besides the aforementioned Villain Song, we have the light-hearted "Little Patch of Heaven", and the emotional "Will the Sun Ever Shine Again". Once again, it's far from a masterpiece. But if you're a fan of light-hearted fare such as The Sword in the Stone and The Aristocats, then I would recommend this one.