Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #45: Home on the Range

 

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

"I now call this meeting of the United Foes of the Unshaved Mouse to order. Roll call!"

“I now call this meeting of the United Foes of the Unshaved Mouse to order. Roll call! Comrade Crow!”

"Here."

“Here.”

"Charlie McCarthy."

“Charlie McCarthy.”

"Here."

“Here.”

"The Unscrupulous Mouse."

“The Unscrupulous Mouse.”

"Here."

“Here.”

"Taran_Wanderer_2"

“Taran_Wanderer_2”

"Here."

“Here.”

"Fans of Beauty and the Beast"

“Fans of Beauty and the Beast

"HERE!"

“HERE!”

"Fans of Dinosaur."

“Fans of Dinosaur.”

"....here."

“….here.”

"Chairman Emeritus His Vileness the Horned King."

“Chairman Emeritus His Vileness the Horned King.”

I abide eternally.

I abide eternally.

"And the Avian Avatar of Avarice....THE PENGUIN!"

“And the Avian Avatar of Avarice….THE PENGUIN!”

"Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! Excellent gentlemen! Excellent!"

“Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! Excellent gentlemen! Excellent!”

Gentlemen. Ladies. Assorted vermin. You know why I have summoned you all here.

Gentlemen. Ladies. Assorted vermin. You know why I have summoned you all here.

"I gotta question, Horny. Why are we holding meetings when the Mouse is still breathing? Why don’t we just take him out now?"

“I gotta question, Horny. Why are we holding meetings when the Mouse is still breathing? Why don’t we just take him out now?”

"Silence you over varnished fool! Don’t you understand that an enemy like Batman can’t be defeated by mere brute strength? We have to…I think I might be in the wrong meeting."

“Silence you over-varnished fool! Don’t you understand that an enemy like Batman can’t be defeated by mere brute strength? We have to…I think I might be in the wrong meeting.”

"Yeah. I think you're across the hall."

“Yeah. I think you’re across the hall.”

"Forgive me gentlemen."

“Forgive me gentlemen.”

McCarthy. I would advise you to hold your tongue. Or I shall hold it for you.

McCarthy. I would advise you to hold your tongue. Or I shall hold it for you.

"C'mon! Lets kill the Mouse!"

“C’mon! Lets kill the Mouse!”

Fool. We're not going to kill the Unshaved Mouse.

Fool. We’re not going to kill the Unshaved Mouse.

"We're not?"

“We’re not?”

"Sorry, I think I might be in the wrong meeting too..."

“Sorry, I think I might be in the wrong meeting too…”

Fool. We're not going to kill the Unshaved Mouse.

No. We are not going to kill him. After all, there are things so much worse than death. I have devised a fate so heinous for the Unshaved Mouse that it can scarcely be believed. But it requires finesse, and patience.

"What is the plan, tovarich?"

“What is the plan, tovarich?”

First I will implant a hypnotic suggestion in the Mouse’s subconscious. Disney’s manipulations of him have left him uniquely suceptible to this. I intend to strike when he is at his weakest. His most vulnerable. His most…despairing.

First I will implant a hypnotic suggestion in the Mouse’s subconscious. Disney’s manipulations of him have left him uniquely susceptible to this. I intend to strike when he is at his weakest. His most vulnerable. His most…despairing.

***

AAAAAAARRRRHHHH…
YAAAAAAAAAARGGH…
BLEEEEEEECHHHHHHHH…
Alright, you know what? Before I can even approach this one I have got to rant about the poster. The goddamn poster! That’s how much suck we have to get through here.
poster
“Bust a Moo?”
BUST A MOO?!!!!
WHAT THE FLAGELLATING FINICKY FLIPPING FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!!???
FIND ME WHO CAME UP WITH THAT! I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING! FIND ME WHO WROTE THAT TAGLINE SO THAT I CAN PSYCHICALLY KILL THEM WITH PURE HATRED! DO IT NOW!
"Mouse. Calm down. Your friends are worried about you."

“Mouse. Calm down. Your friends are worried about you.”

"We're worried. Yes."

“We’re worried. Yes.”

Sorry. You’re right. I’m sorry but…oh God that poster. That poster pretty much encapsulates the whole problem with this movie. Just this weird, desperate attempt to be hip and funny that fails so badly you’re not even sure if that’s what they were going for. It’s one thing to come last in a race. It’s another to come last because you were pushing a bobsled on the track. One just means you were bad. The other is being so inept it’s hard for an outside observer to be sure that you were even trying to win. Like all the real turkeys in the Disney canon, details on Home on the Range’s origins are hard to come by. Wikipedia, TV Tropes and IMDb are pretty light on facts and presumably only God and Michael Eisner know where the bodies are buried. I do know that Home on the Range started pre-production all the way back in 1995, that it was once going to be called Sweating Bullets and that the premise was at one point that a young calf named Bullets taking on a gang of ghost cattle rustlers called The Willies. Yeah, so this thing was always going to suck, basically. There is no universe where this movie turned out well.

 How bad is it?

Come. Let us gaze upon the carnage…

***

Alright, so the movie begins with the title song, Home on the Range, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. It’s certainly not bad, in fact it’s a damn good entry in the “tough yet oddly chipper men singing about the frontier” genre of songs but…this is Alan Menken we’re talking about. While none of his songs here are bad, it’s kind of hard not to feel like he didn’t exactly push himself to his full potential. Once the song’s over we get some narration from our main character, Maggie, voiced by Roseanne Barr. Hang on a minute, let me check my Roseanne Barr fact sheet.

Fact sheet

Okay, before we go any further I want to talk about the animation. Now, if you’ve seen this movie you may see my score on the animation and, even if you hate the movie, you will think “Ah c’mon Mouse. It’s not that bad.”

"Ah! Get out of my head!"

“Ah! Get out of my head!”

So let me clear something up. When I score a movie on “animation”, I’m not simply referring to the technical act of giving still images the illusion of motion and how well or badly that is done. It’s also my score for the character design, backgrounds and basically the entire visual presentation of the movie, because all that ties into how effective the animation is. For example, say you animate a boy running across a field. But the motion is more like someone skating across a frozen pond. That’s bad animation, because you have failed to realistically recreate the human motion that you were trying to portray. But say you switch out the background of the field and slot in a frozen lake. Now, it’s good animation, because the motion and the environment are suited to each other. For the movement to simply be fluid is not enough, the character has to interact believably with the background, and also has to be competently and appealingly designed or else the animation will never look good no matter how fluidly and seamlessly it moves. Which brings me to Home on the Range’s character designs. Good. Fucking. God.

Character desings

Where do I start? The pointy nostrils? The weird ass…things? The fact that judging from the pupils of the cow on the left she’s clearly been abusing amphetamines? The fact that the one on the right is obviously the result of an unholy coupling between a cow and Mr Cheese Strings? The only way you can justify these designs to me is to say they are an intentional homage to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.
Detalle_de_Guernica_Picasso_1937
Well anyway, Maggie explains in voiceover that she once had a home on the range (hey, that’s the name of the movie!) but that she doesn’t have anymore and that she’s being taken to another farm to be sold. Then, as the camera lingers on her massive udders she says “Yeah. They’re real. Stop staring.”
Done. That’s it.
I’m done. I’m serious. I’ve gone as far as I am willing to go. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read and supported the blog over the last two years. We had a good run, but all things must come to an end. So goodbye. Thanks for reading.
I’m serious. That’s it. This is the end. The Unshaved Mouse is no more. Look, I got to forty-five movies in the canon. I’m not ashamed. I can hold my head up high. I gave it my best.
No. I’m not joking. I’m not finishing this review. D.Rose has a great review on That Guy With The Glasses, you should totally check it out. He’s made of sterner stuff than I.
No. No fucking way am I carrying on after that. Think about that joke for a minute. Just one minute. That this bovine refugee from the Spanish Civil War is implying…
a) That she might possibly have breast implants.
b) That she assumes that you thought she did have breast implants.
c) That you were checking out the rack of a cartoon cow.
What the fuck Disney? Why did you think that was funny? What was going through your head? Was it just a painfully unfunny joke or do you actually think we are so perverted that we’d ogle a cow? What kind of freaks do you think we are?
Cleo, you could literally not have picked a worse time to show up.

Cleo, you could literally not have picked a worse time to show up.

I’ll be honest, there is no single joke in this movie as bad as that one but it is indicative of the standard of writing in this thing.
Maggie explains that she lost her home thanks to a castle rustler named Alameda Slim, who swooped down on her farm and stole all the cattle. Except Maggie, who is a multiple prize-winning show cow who’d probably be worth a good chunk of change. This might lead you to suspect that Alameda Slim is kind of a dumbass. Future events will bear that hypothesis out.  It’s not all bad though, Maggie’s being sold to a nice lady farmer named Pearl who runs a farm called Patch O’ Heaven which is introduced via a song by the same name sung by k.d. lang. It’s…okay, I gotta be honest. This song is probably fine but I just can’t warm to it for the simple reason that I can’t stand country music. In fact, I am the only person in Ireland who can’t stand country music.
This Croke Park. It has a capacity

This is Croke Park. It is the fourth largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of over 82,000. Garth Brooks is playing there this summer and at the time of writing he has sold out FIVE NIGHTS.

Alright, so we are introduced to absolutely SCADS of characters at the farm and most of them are totally forgettable so I’ll just focus on the two most important ones, Mrs Calloway voiced by Judi Dench and Grace voiced by Jennifer Tilly. Hmm… let me check my Jennifer Tilly factsheet.

FactsheetMrs Calloway runs a very tight ship because she’s British and voiced by Judi Dench. But oh my! How’s she going to cope with Maggie, who’s a rebel with an in your face attitude? Watch sparks fly in CBS’s new sitcom, I Long For the Sweet Release of Death.
Maggie’s introduction is…weird. She suddenly appears in the gateway accompanied by hard rock music and I’m honestly not sure what the other characters’ reaction is supposed to be? Are they scared of her? In awe? Sexually aroused? Is she supposed to look badass? Cool? Just…what is going on here? Guys, c’mon this is a Disney movie. I should not be this utterly baffled. I feel like I’m watching Twin Peaks. It’s just a complete failure to clearly convey a scenario, a kind of incompetence I have never before seen in a canon Disney movie. Even in the ones I really dislike, I have never been unsure of what was actually going on in a scene. Anyway, while Maggie is settling in the sheriff arrives to serve her a notice from the bank saying that they’re going to take her farm if she can’t pay them in three days. Pearl says she can’t pay (running a dairy farm with only two cows in unprofitable? The devil you say!) and the sheriff suggests that she sells some of her livestock to pay off her debt. Pearl reacts furiously to this and chases the sheriff off her land for daring to suggest such a thing because HER ANIMALS ARE FAMILY!
Uh huh. So tell me Pearl, what are you rearing these pigs for? Pig wool?

Uh huh. So tell me Pearl, what are you rearing these pigs for? Pig wool?

The animals are terrified of being sold but Maggie has the idea of entering the local county fair to win enough prize money to save the farm. Calloway is dead set against this because harrumph, harrumph, most unorthodox! And Maggie leaves with Grace. Mrs Calloway is determined to stay on the farm with Pearl but four of the chicks guilt her into going by staring at her silently. I think it’s supposed to be that they’re so cute that Calloway can’t resist but crappy character design strikes again and instead of seeming cute they look like the dead-eyed demonic spawn of the Red Rooster himself.

"THE TIME OF OUR FATHER'S RISING IS AT HAND."

“THE TIME OF OUR FATHER’S RISING IS AT HAND.”

So, understandably, Calloway gets the heck out of there and chases after Grace and Maggie. Maggie asks her what changed her mind and Mrs Calloway says she doesn’t want to talk about it, and Grace tells Maggie “It’s a chick thing”.

Someone got paid to write that.

The three  cows head into town and meet up with the Sheriff’s horse, Buck, voiced by Cuba Gooding Junior. Oh, poor, poor Cuba Gooding Junior. Little did you know, when you won that Oscar in 1996 that it carried a terrible, terrible curse.

Although, the fact that it kept doing that was probably your first hint.

Although, the fact that it kept doing that was probably your first hint.

Yes, this movie is just one more step on Gooding’s tragic path from Academy Award winning actor to Disney crappy movie man bitch.  Anyway, Buck is obsessed with becoming a crime fighting hero and demonstrates this by randomly doing martial arts moves and screaming “HA! KIYAAAAH!”. This is the second Disney movie in row that I’ve had to review that had a character do that (Koda in Brother Bear did it too) and now I finally understand what murderers call “the red mist”. Anyway, Maggie tries to negotiate with Buck for more time to pay but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Rico, who is hands down my favorite character in all of this, his arrival heralded by the thunder of the heavens themselves. Rico is frickin’ awesome, like a cross between Clint Eastwood and Wolverine so it’s little wonder that he’s in like five minutes of the movie, max.

Best there is at what he does. And what he does...don't take too long, apparently.

Best there is at what he does. And what he does…don’t take too long, apparently.

So Rico rolls up to the Sheriff’s office lookin’ for his next bounty. The Sheriff tells him that Alameda Slim has a bounty of $750 which just so happens to be the exact amount the bank is looking for Pearl’s farm. So Maggie decides that the three cows will bring in Slim themselves, while Rico mounts Buck…that came out wrong. While Rico jumps on Buck’s back and rides him hard (much better) off into the distance. Okay, I’ll be honest, there is one joke here that genuinely made me laugh out loud. The Sheriff finds the three cattle wandering in the street and ties them to the nearest wagon. A Chinese man comes out of a saloon and the Sheriff barks “Hey pardner! Watch your livestock” and the Chinese man happily exclaims in Mandarin…

Free Cows

I don’t even know why it’s so funny. Partially it’s his delighted enthusiasm, and also I think Gary Larson was on to something when he said that cows are just inherently funny. Usually.

Anyway, they arrive at a cattle drive which takes a turn for the creepy because it’s an all male herd and these bulls clearly want to make a double meat patty if you follow me. In fact, I don’t know which is more worrying, the fact that this is a kinda rapey Disney movie or that it’s not even the MOST rapey Disney movie.

"Why should I worry?" indeed.

“Why should I worry?” indeed.

But before things get any worse Alameda Slim and his gang attack the cattle drive. So here’s our villain. I wonder who plays him? Who would possibly agree to appear in this piece of dreck? Only a complete madman, an unhinged psychotic basket case, a total and utter mental defective  would say yes to…oh hi, Randy Quaid. This then, is Alameda Slim.

Harry Knowles has turned on us. I warned you. I WARNED YOU ALL!

Harry Knowles has turned on us. I warned you. I WARNED YOU ALL!

Anyway, Alameda Slim starts in on his villain song, saying that he’s the best rustler in the west. This sequence also reuses some animation from earlier in the movie from a flashback to Maggie’s farm getting rustled. Sigh. It’s dispiriting that Disney is back recycling animation after staying on the wagon for so long, but to reuse animation from the same damn movie? Are you kidding me?

By recycling, we can all do our part! The power is yours!

By recycling, we can all do our part! The power is yours!

Ah, that takes me back. Okay, where was I? Right, so Slim reveals just how he manages to rustle so many cattle. He yodels at them. I repeat. He yodels at the cattle. And then…

And then…

Oh no. Oh no. Ohhhhhhhh God…

Ba...

Ba…

Ba...

Ba…

Ba...

Ba…

BAAAAAAHIAAAAA!!!!!

BAAAAAAHIAAAAA!!!!!

NYAAAAAARARRRRGHHGGHHGGGGG!!!!&%$%£$£$

"Mouse. Mouse, can you hear me?"

“Mouse. Mouse, can you hear me?”

"...Yes."

“…Yes.”

"You are now under my complete control."

“You are now under my complete control.”

"I am under your complete control."

“I am under your complete control.”

"I am going to ask you to review two movies for me."

“I am going to ask you to review two movies for me.”

"As you command."

“As you command.”

"You are going to review Cars and Cars 2""

“You are going to review Cars and Cars 2

"Not a fucking chance."

“Not a fucking chance.”

"But you said you were under my complete control?""

“But you said you were under my complete control?””

"Yeah. But. Y'know, within REASON."

“Yeah. But. Y’know, within REASON.”

"You WILL reviews Cars and Cars2""

“You WILL reviews Cars and Cars 2

"Nope."

“Nope.”

"Bitte..."

MOUSE!

"I will review Cars and Cars 2."

“I will review Cars and Cars 2.”

"Good. And now, when you wake up, you will remember nothing...nothing...nothing..."

“Good. And now, when you wake up, you will remember nothing…nothing…nothing…”

Um, sorry where was I? Wait, what was I even doing? I remember nothing nothing nothing. What was I watching?

Oh Christ.

Oh Christ.

Bust a Moo? BUST A MOO!? WHAT THE FUNKING FICK DOES THAT MEAN?!

Oh well, I seem to be mostly through it anyway. Jeez, I haven’t blacked out like that in a while. Maybe I should see Doctor Fiedelman.

Alright well the cows escape from Alameda Slim…somehow…after he had captured them…somehow, and run across Buck who’s been abandoned by Rico for being a dumbass. Buck is desperate to get back in Rico’s good books, and when he hears what the cows are planning he decides to bring in Alameda Slim himself. The cows chase him across the desert but then get caught in a flash flood. Mrs Calloway saves Maggie from drowning but tells her that this stupid idea of hers is stupid and that basically she’s the worst thing to happen to Patch O’Heaven since that time all the chickens caught fire. The cows decide to go their separate ways and this leads us into the next song, a sad country ballad called Will the Sun Ever Shine Again sung by Bonnie Rait. Ain’t that lovely? But first, give it up y’all for Mister Conway Twitty!

Anyway, the next morning Maggie is about to head off when the three cows meet Lucky Jack, a one-legged desert rabbit. I actually haven’t even mentioned most of the extraneous comedy relief characters like the farm animals, Alameda’s gang or Buck’s little dog friend because I want to finish this review sometime before Jewish new year. Lucky Jack offers them breakfast but Mrs Calloway says that they have to get going back to their farm before it’s gone forever. Luck Jack sympathises, saying that he recently lost his home too, to a land-grabbing rustler named Alameda Slim oh what are the odds? Maggie makes a deal with Mrs Calloway, if she and Grace help her catch Slim, they’ll get the money and Maggie will leave the farm and never trouble them again. Mrs Calloway says “fuck yeah!” but in a prim and proper British way and three cows and Lucky Jack head off to the mine where Slim is hiding out. Meanwhile Slim is awaiting the arrival of his buyer, who he greets as “Mr Weasly” only to be angrily told “It’s “Wesley“!”

From Weselton. Not Weasel Town.

From Weselton. Not Weasel Town.

Wesley is voiced by Steve Buscemi and is yet another totally superfluous comedy relief character because if this movie can’t have quality it can still have quantity by God. Outside, the cattle find Buck trying to get past Slim’s pet buffalo Junior.

"More characters! More comic relief! More I say! Hang those who talk of less! There's still some space over here, ho!"

“More characters! More comic relief! More I say! Hang those who talk of less! There’s still some space over here, ho!”

Junior lets the cows once they tell him they were separated from the herd but Buck has to find another way in. He sees Rico and his new horse nearby. He goes and talks to the other horse and OH MY GOD THAT HORSE IS VOICED BY PATRICK WARBURTON! Oh thank God, sweet mercy at last. Okay, things are looking up. C’mon Patrick, you can save this movie. You can save us all! So Buck tells the Warburton Horse that as soon as he catches Slim he’ll be riding like the wind back into town and using his horse whip every step of the way. This freaks the Warbuton Horse out who makes a break for the border, never to be seen in the movie again.

Noooooooooo!!! TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!

Noooooooooo!!! TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!

I was a fool. I was a fool to hope.

The three cows manages to knock Slim unconscious and almost escape with him in a mining cart but they run into Wesley’s personal train as it’s leaving the mine and get captured by Slim. Slim then introduces his partner, the most treacherous lawman in the West; Rico!

dramatic chipmunk

Buck is devastated to learn that his hero is actually a bad guy and frees the cows. Rico is about to shoot Buck but Mrs Calloway leaps through the air as Rico looks up and whispers to himself “Mother of mercy. Is this the end of Rico?”

It is. And we are all the poorer for it. Sigh, let’s just get to the end of this thing. The cows have to get back to Patch O’Heaven because Alameda Slim has gone to buy it at the auction. Mrs Calloway suggests they drive the train because the track goes right past the farm but Maggie asks how they’re supposed to work a train. Mrs Calloway gives an inspirational speech about how they can do anything because blah blah blah believe in yourself.

"We can do it because we have faith! Because we believe in each other! Because I AM TRIPPING BALLS RIGHT NOW."

“We can do it because we have faith! Because we believe in each other! Because I AM TRIPPING BALLS RIGHT NOW.”

They get the train working and make it back to the farm. Maggie knocks out Slim, the Sheriff gives Pearl the money, Pearl saves the farm, the two cows who thought that no means yes show up along with Junior, everyone dances, cows go moo, ducks go quack, Mouse goes “Ugh”. THE END.

***

Like many Disney fans, for a long time I simply thought of Michael Eisner as The Enemy, the man who had callously and heartlessly killed the Walt Disney company’s historic tradition of feature length cel animation. That changed as I began writing this blog and started to research the canon in depth. It was probably watching the excellent documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty that my opinion of Michael Eisner turned around. I liked this guy. I liked that he didn’t have a business degree when he took over at Disney (he was an Arts major, like me). I liked the fact that he clearly took the immense responsibility of safeguarding Walt’s legacy seriously. There’s one scene where he’s being interviewed by Diane Sawyer, and they’re sitting in a screening room watching a rough version of Oliver and Company. “Can you afford to keep making these movies?” she asks him. “No.” he answers “But we’re going to anyway.”
Because back then Eisner believed in these movies. He believed that regardless of cost, or lukewarm critical reception or the sheer amount of effort they require, these movies matter. That they are important. That Disney has to make them because there’s no one else out there who can.
This is the movie that finally convinced him that he was wrong. And honestly? I can’t blame him. I’ve reviewed movies for this blog that have made me angrier (Song of the South, Aristocats, Pocahontas, Brother Bear and my God yes Dinosaur). Home on the Range is so slight, so pointless, so utterly irrelevant that it can’t raise any emotion stronger than mild irritation. Watching it, an uncomfortable guilt starts to steal over you. What am I doing? Why am I watching this? It’s just a cartoon. Just a silly little cartoon. Kid’s stuff. I never thought a Disney movie would make me feel that.
Following the release of Home on the Range in 2004 and its total financial failure, Eisner made the call. There would be no more traditionally animated Disney movies. The line stretching from Snow White in 1938 to the present day was now dead.

Animation 5/20
Ugly, ugly designs. Intrusive, poorly integrated CGI backgrounds. It’s pretty awful.
Leads 4/20
These cows are not well done. Little beef humour for ya there. You’re welcome.
Villain 5/20
Mr Quaid? In the words of your generation, up yours.
Supporting Characters 6/20
There are actually some likeable bit players but that’s just through the law of averages. You fling this many characters at the wall, on or two will stick. Overall though, the character bloat in this movie is the worst I’ve ever seen.
Music 08/20
Ladies and gentlemen. A moment’s silence for the once great Alan Mencken.
FINAL SCORE: 28%
NEXT UPDATE:  27 February 2014
NEXT TIME: It’s time for another reader requested review as we take a look at the greatest Batman movie you’ve never seen: Batman: Under the Red Hood is next.

 

103 comments

  1. There are a few Disney movies I love, many that I like, a few that I dislike, and one that I hate with every fiber of my being. That would be Home on the Range. It feels like Disney throwing their arms up and saying “We give up.” They knew what their legacy was, but instead of honoring it, they made this boring, unfunny, kiddy tripe. If I had seen this back when it came out, I probably would have sworn off Disney forever. Thank God I didn’t.

  2. I’ve never watched this thing and never plan to, but I still remember seeing THAT poster and thinking, “Seriously, Disney? SERIOUSLY? THAT was the best you could come up with?!” I was just 13 years old then, and even a preteen like me could tell that this movie had be completely pointless crap. That was also the year I stopped my tradition of checking out the annual Disney movie, until 2009.

  3. Oh, Mouse. I warned you! I warned you in Caps. And yet, I don’t think I gave you the right warning. The despair, the disappointment, the brief excursion into Bahia . . . Unexpected this is. And unfortunate.

    But it will be ok! Make a good pot of tea and go rewatch Sleeping Beauty. Bask in the beauty. And later, maybe it’ll be a consolation to remember that this wasn’t Disney’s very last traditionally animated movie. The Princess and the Frog was a good, maybe even great, movie so at least Disney ended on a high(er) note. And though there may not be any more new traditionally animated movies from Disney, they can never take away the ones that already exist.

    (Incidentally, did you know that even under hypnosis, a person will not do something that he/she would refuse to do when not under hypnosis? That would take something like demonic forces. And on a totally, completely unrelated note, Tea and Beauty therapy is a heck of a lot cheaper than appointments with Doctor Fiedelman. Just sayin’ . . . )

    1. He actually proved you right. He didn’t want to review Cars and Cars 2, until he forced by the Horned King’s demonic powers, anyway.

      1. Yep! 😀 I thought that was a nice, realistic touch on Neil’s part (unless it was just done for comedy — that he thinks so poorly of those movies that “not even” hypnosis will make him review them.)

        (I did a presentation on hypnosis for some class way back when. I ended up using an episode of “Murder She Wrote” as an example of hypnosis done wrong — a non-murderous person will NOT murder someone under hypnosis, and normal people under hypnosis will not just sit by passively while a murder takes place.)

    2. I tried Beauty therapy but they just threw up their arms and said “who can add to perfection?” I don’t think we’ve seen the last of cel animation. I’d be very surprised if the didn’t do one for Snow White’s centenary.

      1. altho its forgotten, its a classic. its critically successful, so….

        and in case u read this, animation commendation, yes, I know u hate it. so don’t bash this. its my opinion.

  4. Yeah, this film is a mess and everything that is not Disney. I thought you would blow your top at here. It gets worse with Chicken Little (thought it would be impossible; good luck when you get there in a month).

      1. Nope…he isn’t….

        Home of the Range…well, it is not a good Disney movie by any stretch because, well, it is addressing the wrong audience. It looks and works like it was made for kids. And if you see if from that perspective (like you would see a Care Bear movie) than it is actually fairly good (and then the animation fits too – a simple design for a simple story). But it is not what you would expect from Disney. And I will never excuse Eisner for even considering that THIS should be the last traditionally animated movie Disney ever made – especially since the CGI entries which followed aren’t that good either. It wasn’t until Tangled came around that Disney found it’s footing again.

        The problem with Disney during this period was that it was trying to follow trends set by other people instead of setting its own trends. And no movie shows this that obvious as Chicken Little.

        Either way, I don’t like Home of the Range…but at least it is a coherent movie with some nice surprises along the way (full disclosure: I enjoy the heck out of the hypnotic cows scenes). It’s not the worst in the Disney Canon in my eyes…bottom ten, though.

      2. I think Swanpride spoke for me. Chicken Little is so unlikable and has so many abandoned plot points. Not only that, but it has ugly characters and animation. This is rock bottom.

  5. Good review, as always! Not much for me to say except that I probably won’t be seeing this unless I want to see every canon movie, or am forced to watch it while babysitting (if I ever DO babysit, that is.)
    Two things though:
    1. Minor spelling error at the end (Menken, not Mencken) but screw it. It ain’t major.
    2. I’m under the impression that you have at last seen “Frozen,” since you mentioned that guy. (If you haven’t, sorry if I’m nagging you.)

      1. Well, way to spoil the review when you get to it. (JK) I actually wasn’t very enthusiastic about it after seeing it, but I’d probably give it a re watch.
        (My sister is ALWAYS singing at least one song from the movie frequently.)

  6. What Disney needs to understand is that the reason these movies didn’t do so well as not because of the animation. It was because of the bad stories they were telling.

      1. I know, but I mean the fact that it was 2-D animation in and of itself. The animation they had done since Snow White.

  7. This movie is just… So… MEH. Although the line “this is my comphy spot!” Has caught on with my family. We forgot what it was from until a while back when I was watching my younger cousins and thought: Hey, Disney movie, that should be good. I had forgotten all about it. For good reason. :\

      1. I actually did like the scene where Buck is trying to get past the buffalo guard. Mostly because the buffalo had such a stick up his ass about not letting Buck in that I somehow found it hilarious.

  8. I laughed at your curse. It was folly. The scorpions didn’t get me, but the march flies sure did. I have lumps on my legs ranging from the size of peas to the size of golf balls, and they’re itchy as hell.

    Clearly the barrier between our world and Bahia is weakening by the moment. Despite everything you’ve been through, I have great confidence that you will survive. How, I don’t know, but National Geographic tells me that a salt-grain-sized piece of a mouse’s brain contains more information than 25,000 HD movies.

    Are you sure this is the worst farm-based movie ever? Because I think Back to the Barnyard (male cattle with udders) and Spider’s Web: A Pig’s Tale (a mockbuster made by five people, all of them insane) could give this a half-arsed (triangle-arsed?) run for its money.
    That said, those cows look like they were designed by someone who has only ever seen other cartoon cows.

  9. FUCK YOU PABLO PICASSO.

    Sorry. Ol’ PP is probably one of my least favorite historical figures (aside from everyone’s top picks like Hitler, etc) and the mere mention of his name inspires me to towering heights of rage. Step the fuck off Velazquez, asshole; you only wish you could be half the man or artist he was. Or in your case, “artist”.

    “In fact, I am the only person in Ireland who can’t stand country music.”
    So do we have a definitive answer on whether country music does in fact descend directly from Celtic music, via immigrants? Because I’ve heard “Yeah, duh, listen to all those string instruments” and “No, stupid, stop believing everything you hear.”

    I wonder if the Chinese guy with the free cows is a reference to Romeo Must Die? Y’know, when Han jacks an SUV and mumbles “Great country. Free cars.”

    Also, pigs are adorable, if very smelly, so she might be raising them for the sheer joy of it.

    1. It’s rarely that simple. Country Music is a stew of Irish, German, Scots-Irish and African American musical styles. The Irish is a pretty big chunk in that stew which is probably why it’s so popular here. Also you have Irish Country which is a local genre inspired by country Music which in turn has influenced country in the states so it’s a constant back and forth.

      1. So Irish Country is basically the result of musical inbreeding?

        “Country Music is a stew of Irish, German, Scots-Irish and African American musical styles.”
        Hey, I’m all those things! (well only technically on that last one; I have Algerian ancestors but I don’t think that’s relevant w/r/t this discussion XD). Explains why my dad loves it, I guess. I loved country music up until…maybe…the early 2000s, before it became almost exclusively “MURRIKA MURRIKA MURRIKA”.

      2. Modern popular country music is going downhill fast. It was great for a while, but with the rise of Taylor Swift it’s gotten far too poppy. There’s only a handful of successful modern country artists that are still real “country” in that they sing about country topics and actually use country instruments. Chief among these is the Zac Brown Band, they’re the best in the business now

  10. This film infuriates me. Why? Because not only does this film suck, but it had to pull a reverse Great Mouse Detective, and convinced Eisner to cut the cord on TD (traditional animation). And yet while this was the film that killed TD period, it would be Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel that finished the job. (the film responsible for The Princess and the Frog’s no-so-great box office sales).

    GAHHHHH WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE TD!? WHYYYYYY!!!

    *Blacks out*

    (…wait…where am I…what disney film did you just review?)

  11. I feel that if this film was released by an independent company, it wouldn’t be so bad. I personally don’t think the film is that bad, but compared to Disney’s reputation, it is a bad film.

    And I can’t help…..liking this film?

    (Turns around and flees before Unshavedmouse sends out his minions)

    1. Yeah, I know….I mean, it’s not something I would want to watch, but if I had little kids (really little ones), that would be my choice to keep them busy without terrifying them too much. At least this time every piece fits together.

    2. I think if you put it into the context of “I know it’s terrible but Guilty Pleasure!” then it’s more acceptable.

      (Besides, I love Atlantis: The Lost Empire so I’m not exactly in a position to judge.)

    3. Mark, I honestly don’t think it would make much of a difference if it was released by another company. It is not the worst in the canon, but you have to admit that it is a thin film.

      1. Apparently they do, considering how many of those shows get life adaptations nowadays…and I admit, I do love “Charlotte’s net” – despite the shitty animation.

  12. See, Mouse? Didn’t I tell you that this movie would be an “udder” failure? (Yeah, I know. Bad joke, but I made it anyway). Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet. You still have one more awful movie to review in the Disney canon (Chicken Little) before you get to the “eh” movie that is Meet the Robinsons. Then it will pick up a bit with Bolt and Princess and the Frog, then it should be smooth sailing from there on.

    You mentioned in another post (I believe it was the “Things I’d Rather do than Review “Planes”) that you would rather admit that traditional animation is dead and a thing of the past than review Planes. You obviously are a fan of traditional animation and I would like to hear your take on why you prefer it over CG animation. You touched on it very briefly in your scoring of Dinosaur. Maybe you could elaborate on it further in your review of Chicken Little? It’s up to you though.

    I look forward to your review of Batman: Under the Red Hood. I heard that it’s really good and I’ll have to check it out myself before you post your review.

  13. It actually took me a while to realize and believe that this was a Disney film. I saw the poster when it came to the theaters and I remember thinking, yet another stupid kids film. Somehow that distinctive little D escaped my attention, and when I was finally told that it was in fact a Disney production… Well, it still took me a while to believe, but only because I didn’t want to face the truth.

    Nevertheless, a fine review. Can’t wait for you to get to Tangled or Frozen.

  14. love the reviews! tho I disagree at some parts:
    1. I like the character designs and the animation style. it gives off a western look and I like that. the colors r vibrant too.
    2. I actually really like some songs in here. the opening is alan menken in his best in my opinion. its so cheerful, yet still have the western feel. plus, I love the lyrics. the rest r mediocre imo.
    and I agree with the rest. horrible. terrible. stupid.
    and fun fact: it was originally inspired by “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. but in the midst of the production, Eisner said: “who wants to watch a film about children getting killed?” so they changed it into a cow movie…..
    ugh. what a waste of fairy tales. it could’ve been a great fairy tale adaptation DX and I really doubt if Eisner actually watched the Disney classic. Pinocchio had children in situations worse than death.
    and if u pay attention closely, u can see the influence of the fairy tale: a man making music to lure a certain group of animal away from their home.

    1. honestly, I thought that Disney wouldn’t go wrong with fairy tales………… and then home on the range and chicken little came in…… if this isn’t worst than the black cauldron, I don’t no what is.

  15. “Batman: Under the Red Hood is next”

    Hooray, your first PG-13 movie! You can finally start swearing and… … …
    Oh.

    My keyboard is kinda broken (using the OSK. Such pain) so…you know the drill: “Bad movie! Ruined Disney! Make The Lion King 2– wait nonono. NO!!”

    1. Hope springs eternal, and all that. Besides, based on the trailers and posters alone, even Frozen looked pretty darn idiotic. Olaf especially. Luckily, with that movie the exact opposite happened compared to this one.

      1. That is very true. Frozen’s trailers made it seem that the film’s main focus was on who Anna chose as a boyfriend at the end of the movie intertwined with bad slapstick from a funny looking snowman. In fact, if it wasn’t for me having a day off and twenty bucks to spend, I probably wouldn’t of even seen it until it became available for rental. Thankfully, I did watch it and have gone to see it three times now. I need a life…

      2. Eeeexcept that marketing campaign was genius. It caught absolutely EVERYONE off-guard.
        And really, it only helped the movie…which recently crossed the $900mil mark! Makes me wonder why I have only seen it once.

  16. (I feel like I should ask this on another post…but Big Hero 6 is Disney’s 2014 movie. It’s relevant!)

    Neil, real talk: In your opinion who should be cast as Matt Murdock/Daredevil for the Netflix series? Honestly, I can only see Michael C. Hall as DD…I would say he’s too old if it wasn’t for RDJ, Ruffalo, L. Jackson…andidunnomichaelpymdouglas

      1. He’s absolutely perfect…perhaps a LITTLE too perfect. I remember everyone went apeshit when the Depp/Strange casting thing was leaked a few months ago, simply because the “safest option”.
        Same thing could happen with Hall.

  17. Sidebar: THANK YOU, for acknowledging that “Roseanne” was one of the “all time great shows”!!! -I’ve met too many people (in my opinion lol), who judge the show (superficially) and dismiss it for the worst reasons: lack of surface glamour, basically. And the polarizing nature of the show’s style and content. 🙂

  18. Cool. It was groundbreaking; sidebar again: if you realize that it aired in the LATE 1980s/EARLY 1990s!!–with ALL these serious, taboo issues in it, at that time!

  19. As most people have alluded to, this one seems to get a ton of hate because it’s more kid oriented than probably any other movie in the cannon. With the others, people can enjoy the movies even as adults. Heck, some we may even enjoy more as adults than we ever did as kids. Home on the Range doesn’t seem like a very bad movie, just something that has more of a chance of entertaining kindergartners moreso than an older audience. Then again, I’ve never seen it myself, so who knows, it may very well be a steaming cauldron of bile.

    Well, Mouse, I have to say that I’m very glad you’ve decided to take requests. From here on out, I care very little about the Disney canon, so I’ll at least have other film reviews to look forward to. Honestly, I will never be a fan of CGI films (no, not even Pixar) and the Frog Princess does nothing for me. I salute thee, brave soul, for trekking on.

    (Ok, I have to admit, the masochist in me can’t wait til the Chicken Little review. Bwahahaha!)

  20. We are slightly dreading having to review this film. Still can’t believe that Alan Menken did the music for it. It just looks so non-Disney in every possible way. And next Chicken Little … gah … Chicken Little was one of the worst things ever … and not just in cinema.

  21. I didn’t truly revel in hatred for this movie until I got to the screenshot of the three pigs. The top two are the same pig with slight colouring differences it is like they were not even trying why have I let you rope me into this madness alongside you-

  22. Hi.

    Are you gonna eventually review the subsequent films in the canon…?? (i.e. The Princess and the Frog, Tangled… and oh yeah, their “CGI” films too, ugh. Ha.)

  23. Honestly, those designs were so damn weird that I actually really enjoyed them (even Steve Buscemi as Steve Buscemi).

    The rest, though? I saw this when it came out, and I don’t remember a single joke, line, scene, song, plot point…anything. While the design is not on the same level of something like Atlantis in terms of risky departures, it was definitely weird enough that it was the only thing I took away from the movie.

  24. I remember when this movie came out. It was back when I was still watching Disney Channel in high school. Thing was, I just dismissed it or changed the channel. It’s one of those movies where anyone over 10 is going to think, “Eww, what the hell is that?” *click*

    It’s movies like these that makes mom tell me, “It’s just Hollywood making money, doesn’t matter with whom,” or “Looks like Disney got desperate again.” To say they did a piss-poor, turd-worthy, sack-o-dogshit, brainless, unimaginative, utter moronic, cliched, jaded, nightmarish, retarded, hopeless, disgusting, revolting, sexually inappropriate, pointless, plot-hole-filled job would be generous, based on what you said in your review.

    I could tell just from the commercials this movie was garbage & easily forgettable. For one thing, I’m not a big fan of cows. I don’t mind real ones, I don’t mind eating beef or ingesting dairy products, and I’ve seen pastures with them grazing many times. It’s actually a very serene thing to look at. But as ugly, poorly-drawn cartoon protagonists, the movie has failed already in that respect. You just can’t empathize with them, nor can most people even stand to look at them, much less watch the yellow one do unrealistic karate. (A COW doing karate? Good God!)

    Speaking of cows, it’s just so appropriate that Roseanne does the voice of the biggest, fattest, most in-your-face one in the group. She has the kind of voice they should use to torture prisoners of war. Just five minutes of her horrid, nasal voice doing a pointless monologue over the PA system, and they’ll tell you everything you wanted (and DIDN’T really need) to know. My family NEVER liked her show on Fox back in the day. Just the very SIGHT of Roseanne disgusted us, and we’d do pretend, over-the-top screams and change the channel. (We lived in the American Midwest at the time, so we had to see women like her every day–the horrors!–and the last thing we wanted was to have our eyes & ears assaulted by her on the TV).

    Poor Cuba Gooding Jr. The last good Disney movie I saw him in was “Snow Dogs.” (We’ve owned a Malamute and a husky/German Shepherd mix, so we love sled dogs :D). And you’re right, his career has taken a nosedive in recent years.

    Randy Quaid must have REALLY needed the money desperately to do voice-work in this movie. The only role he’s ever played in any movie was a silly deadbeat (cue the Vacation movies & Independence Day). But then again, his handsomer brother, Dennis hasn’t done much in recent years either. Sad.

    Actually, one reason I read this review was b/c I knew about the…….torture—I mean yodeling…..and wanted to see if you’d mention Bahia. You did! rofl I don’t like it any more than you do. I mute the TV or turn it off if I hear that horrible warbling coming out. That doesn’t make ANY sense, whatsoever that yodeling can make cattle do whatever the hell you want. In fact, I think it would irritate them more so than get them moving. Herding dogs are more effective than some guy murdering the name of vocal music with yodeling.

    I hope you got that shipment of Brain Bleach I sent. You’re gonna need it to forget this monstrosity of a movie.

  25. My parents took my sisters and I to the theater see this as kids. Though all of us have varying tastes in cinema, we unanimously agree that this film is an unfunny, ugly abomination.

  26. Ok, so you may or may not have noticed I had absolutely zero comment on Orange Octopi’s liking Brother Bear… Perhaps that was likely assumed to be due to my courteous Canadian demeanour, which I like to think was part of the reason, but I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that I actually didn’t hate Home on the Range, so I kind of figured we were somewhat even on that front…

    Yeah, I actually thought this one was kind of fun. Certainly far from a masterpiece, but at least it could make me laugh, and the rural atmosphere was appreciable enough. Though it’s been a while since I actually saw this one, as my sister refused to agree to rent it again after the first viewing, so maybe I won’t like it so much now.

    And yes, even back then, I did think this was a terrible note to end Disney’s traditional career on, but I can’t hold that against it now that The Princess and the Frog’s come along and revoked that title from it. Who knows, maybe I’m just easily impressed, this is coming from someone who liked Aristocats.

  27. Oh no, the nemeses have united! And that dastardly brother of yours appears to have joined their ranks! And so have all the fans of Beauty and the Beast and Dinosaur (his sad, solitary existence cracked me up) Everyone except Panchito, who’s likely busy tending to his Diablo business, John Tenniel, who I suppose has probably been sacrificed by the Horned King at some point, and the Coachman, who, let me guess, is right behind me, isn’t he?

    But yikes, this has to be a new low. You had to actually come up with an expletive beyond “what the close up mouth whore fuck”. Now *that* is foreboding. Also, the brick joke with Cleo had me in peals. I think you’d get along fine around where I live. Just about nobody I know likes country music. I can handle it in very minute doses, but I tend to mind less if it’s a thematic soundtrack, so I don’t remember minding Home on the Range’s music.

  28. Funny story about the Children of the Crimson Cockerel. One thing I seem to remember from the behind the scenes commentary is that a moment where the chicks silently congratulate each other after Calloway leaves was put in because they came off too creepy without it. And oy, I remember having to describe this one moment in a story involving a game in which players had to ride piggyback. I didn’t hear any giggling when I pointed out one character “mounting” his friend, but I take it that was because it was too silent.

    That prairie dog basically sums up my reaction to Fiedelman’s hypnotizing you. By the looks of it, he’s having to work for it, just like Jafar when he tried to convince the Sultan to betroth him to Jasmine. Well, this was a sad end to Disney’s traditionally animated legacy, not a bang, but a whimper, but at least we get one final moment of Bahia for the books.

  29. I remember that I came to this blog (and am now obsessed and wait for every second Thursday like a madwoman yadda yadda yadda) through searching ‘Mulan Review’ (not the funniest search term, I know) and after reading the excellent Mulan review, came to this one. I was utterly confused by the ‘Foes of the Unshaved Mouse’ thing, but I get it now!

  30. While this isn’t an objectively *good* movie, I’ve always found it to be charmingly So Bad It’s Good in its un-pretentiousness, and at least for me, rather rewatchable– which is more than what I can say for Pocahontas or Chicken Little. It’s an awful movie to try and end your glorious 2D legacy (thank God for The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh), but I honestly think a 28% is being too harsh.

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