I have to admit: when I saw the trailers for Home on the Range, they didn’t excite me. Unfortunately, despite a couple high spots here and there, the film lived up to the trailers.
The story follows Maggie, voiced by Roseanne Barr, a cow who finds a new home at the small Patch of Heaven farm after her previous owner went bankrupt due to all his cattle being rustled. When the owner of Patch of Heaven is served notice that she will lose the farm if she doesn’t pay $750 within 3 days, the future looks grim again. Maggie and her new friends have to find some way of raising the money in time to save their home.
The animation was generally good, with a few fun effects thrown in during the cattle rustling scenes. This was the last hand-animated film for five years from Disney Animation until the 2009 release of The Princess and the Frog. The scenery was gorgeous as well, and I loved the stylistic qualities used for the animation of the various characters.
The music by Alan Menken was decent, though mostly unmemorable. The one song which really stood out was “Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo”, sung by Randy Quaid. This song was toe-tapping fun to experience, and was the highlight of Home on the Range for me. I also enjoyed “Will The Sun Ever Shine Again” by Bonnie Raitt, and I thought it captured the mood of that scene perfectly.
There were a few issues which really interfered with my enjoying the film. The story didn’t seem to be on the same level as most Disney animated features before or since. While the characters were fun, they weren’t really endearing, so I didn’t really care about any of them.
I also got frustrated with Maggie’s personality and voice. Roseanne Barr has never been one of my favorite actors, though I will admit that I watched her self-titled sitcom somewhat regularly when I was younger. I chalk it up to a recurring, but momentary, weakness on my part. Regardless, Barr made Maggie more of an “irritagonist” than a protagonist for me, and I wanted to carve her up into steaks and hamburger by the time Home on the Range was over.
Unless you have really young kids who will watch anything, and unless you have few other choices, I don’t recommend Home on the Range. It is my least favorite Disney animated feature, and it will be hard to dislodge it from that place of dubious honor. I hope that never happens.
Release Date: April 2, 2004 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Sexuality: 1 (some innuendo and udderly awful jokes)
Violence: 1 (slapstick violence)