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2 items from 2004


Home on the Range

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 2

NEW YORK -- This amiable, Western-themed animated effort from the Walt Disney Co. is a clear attempt to return to the more lighthearted cartoon style that was so prevalent before its onslaught of stately musical epics. The tale of a group of animals determined to save their owner's dairy farm from the clutches of an evil outlaw, "Home on the Range" also boasts the return of composer Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin") to the creative team.

While not destined to assume a place in the Disney animation pantheon, the film should reasonably entertain the Small Fry during the current holiday season, though it is not likely to attract the adult crossover audience that can make for a breakout animated hit. It may also suffer from the competition, judging by the plaintive cry "When is it going to be Scooby-Doo?" heard from one tyke during the screening.

Featuring the sort of disparate voice-over cast emblematic of Disney cartoons, the film stars, among others, Roseanne Barr and Judi Dench, representing the most unusual screen pairing since, well, Barr and Meryl Streep in "She Devil". They voice the characters of cows Maggie and Mrs. Caloway, who, along with fellow cow Grace (Jennifer Tilly), fight to rescue their kindly owner Pearl (Carole Cook) from having her farm taken over by the dastardly Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid). Joining forces with a variety of other animals from the farm -- including horse Buck (Cuba Gooding Jr.), ace can-kicking goat Jeb (Joe Flaherty) and a variety of pigs, chickens, etc. -- they set out to capture Slim in the hope of garnering the reward for his head. Besides the expected dangers, they also must contend with competition from bounty hunter Rico (Charles Dennis, doing a Clint Eastwood homage).

The screenplay by co-directors Will Finn and John Sanford is a genial, jokey affair, filled with the requisite juvenile humor (belching pigs, etc.) and sprinkled with enough adult-oriented asides, like bulls leering after dairy cows ("Let me guess, you're a Taurus", one of the former comments), to qualify the film for a PG rating. While there are indeed some funny moments -- "We don't eat meat

it's like a professional courtesy," Barr's cow explains -- the humor generally lacks the manic hilarity of the Pixar efforts. And some of the gags, like Rico quoting a line from "Little Caesar" or a brief switch to widescreen that may be an in-joke reference to the company's own "Horse Whisperer", are likely to go over the heads of even the adult audience members.

The film's conventional, old-fashioned animation style generally gets the job done, with the anthropomorphic animal qualities rendered with the proper cute appeal. The voice talents do well by their characters. Barr scores consistent laughs as the sassy Maggie. Dench uses her elegant tones to good effect as the refined Mrs. Caloway. Gooding, as the vain horse, and Tilly, as plucky cow Grace, also are very enjoyable, no doubt because they seem so much like cartoon characters even in real life. Also very funny is Steve Buscemi, whose sleazy human character amusingly bears more than a slight resemblance to him.

Menken, besides his score, also has contributed several pleasant new songs (lyrics by Glenn Slater), none destined to be standards. They're sung by such stars as k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw.

Home on the Range

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Directors-screenwriters: Will Finn, John Sanford

Producer: Alice Dewey Goldstone

Original score: Alan Menken

Original songs: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater

Story: Will Finn, John Sanford, Michael LaBash, Sam Levine, Mark Kennedy, Robert Lence

Associate producer: David J. Steinberg

Editor: H. Lee Peterson

Art director: David Cutler

Voices:

Maggie: Roseanne Barr

Mrs. Caloway: Judi Dench

Grace: Jennifer Tilly

Buck: Cuba Gooding Jr.

Slim: Randy Quaid

Pearl: Carole Cook

Sheriff Brown: Richard Riehle

Rico: Charles Dennis

Rusty: G.W. Baily

Lucky Jack: Charles Haid

Audrey: Estelle Harris

Jeb: Joe Flaherty

Ollie: Charlie Dell

Wesley: Steve Buscemi

Patrick: Patrick Warburton

Annie: Ann Richards

Phil, Bill & Gil Willie: Sam Levine

Running time 74 minutes

MPAA rating: PG »

Permalink | Report a problem


Home on the Range

2 April 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Opens

Friday, April 2

NEW YORK -- This amiable, Western-themed animated effort from the Walt Disney Co. is a clear attempt to return to the more lighthearted cartoon style that was so prevalent before its onslaught of stately musical epics. The tale of a group of animals determined to save their owner's dairy farm from the clutches of an evil outlaw, "Home on the Range" also boasts the return of composer Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin") to the creative team.

While not destined to assume a place in the Disney animation pantheon, the film should reasonably entertain the Small Fry during the current holiday season, though it is not likely to attract the adult crossover audience that can make for a breakout animated hit. It may also suffer from the competition, judging by the plaintive cry "When is it going to be Scooby-Doo?" heard from one tyke during the screening.

Featuring the sort of disparate voice-over cast emblematic of Disney cartoons, the film stars, among others, Roseanne Barr and Judi Dench, representing the most unusual screen pairing since, well, Barr and Meryl Streep in "She Devil". They voice the characters of cows Maggie and Mrs. Caloway, who, along with fellow cow Grace (Jennifer Tilly), fight to rescue their kindly owner Pearl (Carole Cook) from having her farm taken over by the dastardly Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid). Joining forces with a variety of other animals from the farm -- including horse Buck (Cuba Gooding Jr.), ace can-kicking goat Jeb (Joe Flaherty) and a variety of pigs, chickens, etc. -- they set out to capture Slim in the hope of garnering the reward for his head. Besides the expected dangers, they also must contend with competition from bounty hunter Rico (Charles Dennis, doing a Clint Eastwood homage).

The screenplay by co-directors Will Finn and John Sanford is a genial, jokey affair, filled with the requisite juvenile humor (belching pigs, etc.) and sprinkled with enough adult-oriented asides, like bulls leering after dairy cows ("Let me guess, you're a Taurus", one of the former comments), to qualify the film for a PG rating. While there are indeed some funny moments -- "We don't eat meat

it's like a professional courtesy," Barr's cow explains -- the humor generally lacks the manic hilarity of the Pixar efforts. And some of the gags, like Rico quoting a line from "Little Caesar" or a brief switch to widescreen that may be an in-joke reference to the company's own "Horse Whisperer", are likely to go over the heads of even the adult audience members.

The film's conventional, old-fashioned animation style generally gets the job done, with the anthropomorphic animal qualities rendered with the proper cute appeal. The voice talents do well by their characters. Barr scores consistent laughs as the sassy Maggie. Dench uses her elegant tones to good effect as the refined Mrs. Caloway. Gooding, as the vain horse, and Tilly, as plucky cow Grace, also are very enjoyable, no doubt because they seem so much like cartoon characters even in real life. Also very funny is Steve Buscemi, whose sleazy human character amusingly bears more than a slight resemblance to him.

Menken, besides his score, also has contributed several pleasant new songs (lyrics by Glenn Slater), none destined to be standards. They're sung by such stars as k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw.

Home on the Range

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Directors-screenwriters: Will Finn, John Sanford

Producer: Alice Dewey Goldstone

Original score: Alan Menken

Original songs: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater

Story: Will Finn, John Sanford, Michael LaBash, Sam Levine, Mark Kennedy, Robert Lence

Associate producer: David J. Steinberg

Editor: H. Lee Peterson

Art director: David Cutler

Voices:

Maggie: Roseanne Barr

Mrs. Caloway: Judi Dench

Grace: Jennifer Tilly

Buck: Cuba Gooding Jr.

Slim: Randy Quaid

Pearl: Carole Cook

Sheriff Brown: Richard Riehle

Rico: Charles Dennis

Rusty: G.W. Baily

Lucky Jack: Charles Haid

Audrey: Estelle Harris

Jeb: Joe Flaherty

Ollie: Charlie Dell

Wesley: Steve Buscemi

Patrick: Patrick Warburton

Annie: Ann Richards

Phil, Bill & Gil Willie: Sam Levine

Running time 74 minutes

MPAA rating: PG »

Permalink | Report a problem


2 items from 2004


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