51 in 2011

“Home on the Range”

Home on the Range

Image © Disney

“Home on the Range” (2004), Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 45th animated motion picture. An animated musical comedy set in the wild west. Three dairy cows try to capture an outlaw for the reward money which will save their family farm from foreclosure. The bold and stylish production design looks great and is reminiscent of Disney animated films from the 1950s. Unfortunately, the film falls short with its coarse, incongruent humor and its lack of real heart. A serious absence of chemistry and cohesion is also evident with the film’s vocal talent, including Roseanne Barr, Judy Dench, and Jennifer Tilly as the dairy cows and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the sheriff’s overzealous and irritating horse. (Roseanne is especially awful in the film, even if she’s just playing herself.) Randy Quaid as the yodeling cattle thief is one of the film’s few highlights. The songs by Alan Menken and Glen Slater are fun, too.

Speaking of “Home on the Range,” Disney’s then-CEO Michael Eisner announced during the film’s production that it would be Disney Animation’s final animated film done in the traditional hand-drawn, or 2D, style and that all future Disney animated films would be done using 3D computer animation (the animation method made wildly popular worldwide by Pixar Animation Studios). Thankfully, this decision was reversed in 2006 when Bob Iger, Disney’s newly appointed CEO, acquired Pixar and put John Lasseter and Ed Catmull in charge of Disney Animation. In this YouTube clip, John Lasseter describes more about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVnjOqL6n0U.