Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Home on the Range ★

    There is something definably overpowering in Disney's 2004 animated film entitled "Home on the Range." If you have ever seen the sitcom, aptly named, "Roseanne," then you surely can recall the coarse, and utterly domineering voice of its leading actress, Roseanne Barr, whose vocalization is an ill-mannered concoction of an opera singer, and a garbage disposal.

    Although this is not the sole inadequacy to grace our presence, I could not help but to fixate on this error of judgment, which consistently places this film in a position of failure. Unlike Tim Allen, whose voice acting is quite compatible with the animated persona of Buzz Lightyear, Barr can never thrive in the realm of sincerity, and her performance is essentially a depiction of what she was compensated to do: read from a script, while being recorded.

    Despite this unflattering shortcoming, "Home on the Range" discovers other, rather precarious ways, to ensure that it will never be locked in the Disney vault, so that someday, it could be re-released in an effort to expose a new generation of children to the magic, and amusement, of a quality picture. A lackluster story, along with an uninspired display of hand drawn animation, helps to appoint this classic as--forgettable.

   Maggie, a robust and spirited dairy cow, is begrudgingly sold to a humble farm (fittingly called: Patch of Heaven), after her owner was completely ransacked of all his steer, which subsequently, forced him to shut down his ranch. After the expected introductions, in which Maggie rouses her new companions, a Sheriff stops by to issue a debt collection for $750.

   Instead of limiting the antagonist role to that of bank collectors (they have been scrutinized enough, haven't they?), we learn of an evildoer, Alameda Slim, whose ransom is (can you guess?) exactly $750. Accordingly, Maggie and her patrons shove off into the unknown, as they will attempt to save their home, and restore justice to the Wild West.                      

   It is certainly true that the West is always a fascinating setting for any picture; even the simplest of Westerns have a symbolic conflict (mostly good versus evil or law versus lawlessness), accompanied by picturesque landscapes and memorable characterizations. "Home on the Range" has none of these qualities, unless, of course, you find a yodeling crazed outlaw as charming as Disney apparently does.

   Even the heroes of the film are tedious and do not have enough personality to engage us. I mean, they're cows. Buck, a side character who comes in the form of an erratic and brazen horse, is as appealing as any lone individual here. (There is a point in the film where Buck's arrogance and confidence are sorely dashed, and it requires him to tackle the same exact complication, in order to restore his dignity.) A storyline centered on Buck would have at least been more amusing.

   As understandable as it may be--that every production is not going to represent your finest work--when products of this stature are created, there has to be some level of accountability present. Of course, there are fellow critics who find solace in just about anything, as proved by Leonard Maltin, who wrote, "Good fun for the whole family," with regard to this picture. Only if you find cows to be an idolizing figure, or of any interest, would you find any joy in this dreadful excuse for seventy-six minutes.

1 comment:

  1. i like the image and explanation so interesting.