Today, I woke up with nothing to do. This usually means it's movie time for me. Unfortunately, Home on the Range was my only viable option, since I'm a guy and had no desire to see The Prince and Me or Ella Enchanted. After seeing Home on the Range, I just should've just stayed at home and watched DVD's...
One of the only things the movie is good for, is if you want to see a movie, but only have an hour and 15 minutes to spare. All animated kids movies are incredibly short, most likely to compensate for the minute attention spans of young kids. Maybe it's just an excuse to make up for poor storytelling by telling a short story. Who knows. But at least it doesn't drag out, and you're in and out of the theater fairly quickly, which, in this movie's case, is definitely a good thing. I don't think I could've sat in the theater much longer here.
There are a few laughs to be had here, with the interesting cast of voices. Roseanne, who according to IMDB, is pulling a Cher and dropping her last name, is pretty funny as the cow Maggie. Cuba Gooding Jr. is pretty funny as well, as the feisty horse, Buck. And I was pleasantly surprised to hear Steve Buscemi's voice, although in a very small role. It also surprised me to hear Dame Judi Dench's voice here, because this sort of thing just doesn't seem up her alley, although she's not too bad here as the stubborn cow Mrs. Calloway. I wish they used Estelle Harris' voice more, as a chicken, because her voice is just hilarious as is. She was George Costanza's mother in Seinfeld, in case you were wondering. While the voices were all pretty decent, what they had to say usually wasn't.
The script, written by Will Finn and John Sanford who also directed, uses some corny jokes and dialogue, and, unlike Pixar flicks, they don't even try to cater to anyone over 8 years old. I think that's why Pixar movies are more successful than other Disney animated movies because they appeal to everyone, not to mention being superior in storytelling. The few laughs that there are, mainly come from Cuba Gooding Jr. as Buck, and the goons under the main villain Alameda Slim are pretty funny as well. But almost all of the other jokes just fall flat. And they try to add a mushy part here, with Maggie not "belonging" to the herd that is just dull.
Finn and Sanford don't really direct very well here. I just cringed when they made one of the cows do a slow-motion flying roundhouse kick to a cowbell. Wow. It's just dumb comedy that makes no attempt to be smarter at all. Just not my cup of tea, I guess. Thank God I don't have kids.
Home on the Range is a movie about talking animals looking for justice. It's not too original, not too funny, and definitely not too long, which is probably its saving grace, of sorts. This is just mindless fluff that reminded me of my disdain for non-Pixar animated fare, and proved, by me seeing this, just how bored I was today...
Home On The Range is out April 2, 2004.