Home on the Range Blu-ray Review
HOME ON THE RANGE follows an eclectic cast of barn yard animals as they work to save their farm from cattle stealers and bank mortgagers. Although it lacks the charm and charisma of Disney movies from the 90s or the Pixar powerhouses, it’s a silly cartoon that has a yodeling bad guy and burping pigs. Translation? The kids will probably love it.
Maggie (Roseanne Barr) is a prize-winning cow who lives on a huge ranch. When her owner’s entire herd is stolen, he’s forced to sell her to a modest diary farm. Maggie’s loud, crass attitude immediately clashes with the prim and proper bovine Mrs. Caloway (Judi Dench). Luckily, there’s Grace (Jennifer Tilly), a whimsical cow who uses her carefree spirit to diffuse the building tension in the barn.
Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid) is the outlaw behind the disappearing herds. Not only does he take the cows, but he buys the land from the farmers and ranchers when they are forced to move because of their missing livestock. Our bovine heroines’ dairy farm is up for auction and the three cows take it upon themselves to hunt down outlaw in order to save the residents of “Little Patch of Heaven” which includes a trio of piglets, a panicky chicken, pessimistic goat and several baby chicks.
Barr made the most of her opportunity to play the wise-cracking Maggie. It was as if her stand-up act from the ‘80s came to life in two diminutional drawings. I found the casting of Dench as a “proper cow” very random. Come on. Dame Judi should be a peacock or a sophisticated feline. A cow? In a floppy purple hat? Inconceivable.
The message was more fun than “lessons learned.” It felt very much like a Disney movie from the ‘70s. There was even a throw back to the psychedelic pink elephants from DUMBO. Alameda Slim’s freaky yodeling somehow alters the mental state of the herd and they all start dancing and changing colors. Seeing Dame Judi Dench trip out was a sight.
HOME ON THE RANGE is a fluffy cartoon, full of easy humor and mild adventure. Adults should certainly be able to tolerate it as the kids quote Barr’s inappropriate jokes for at least few weeks.
Video: The yodeling sequence with the hypnotizing cows was visually brilliant.
Audio: Some pretty big heavy hitters in the music industry contributed to this film. It certainly enhanced the likability of the movie. Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw both offered their voices as Alan Menken penned the score.
Deleted Scenes (14:57): I thought most of the deleted scenes should have ended up on the cutting room floor. The one I thought was particularly fun, was a trio of mariachi butterflies who posed as the movie narrators. They were cut entirely.
Anytime You Need a Friend Music Video (3:21): The video features four young girls singing. It was straight from the Disney Channel. I have no clue who they were, but I’m sure if I watched the channel, I would realize it’s one of the many Hanna Montana clones.
Trailblazers: The Making of HOME ON THE RANGE (16:40): The producers, directors and composers take the viewer on a journey of how the movie was made. They are on a dude ranch. It was cheesy. The most interesting tidbit was that the movie was supposed to be about a ghost town in the Old West. They also talk a lot about how the movie is like Charlie’s Angels…with cows.
Art Review (10:15): Art Director David Cutler and background artist Christy Maltese talk about how they went to Wyoming and roamed around on horseback to get inspired for the artistic features of the movie.
A Dairy Tale: The Three Little Pigs (3:29): Mrs. Caloway tells a story of the Three Little Pigs with random interruptions from the other barn yard animals from the farm. It was actually pretty funny.
YodelMentary (2:43): This is a fun little featurette about the history of yodeling. It actually started in Africa to call elephants.
Joke Corral: Herd of Jokes (4:43): Imagine almost five minutes of Laffy Taffy jokes. “What do you call a pig on a hot day?” Answer: Bacon.