Still, we try to watch with them... and I happen to love animation myself, having some background in cartoon-drawing. Everything Pixar? Fantastic. Old Disney? Sure, serve it up. Along with the Looney Tunes, old Tom & Jerry, etc.
This, though, is a sleepwalk of a feature in so many ways. Not in the animation, which isn't bad (though not much special, in context of what's out there). Nor in the music, which is decent enough.
The writing, however, is horrible. I can't imagine anyone characterizing this dialogue as "funny"... it's an endless stream of clichés. And the story line, while thin at the core, is unnecessarily complicated at the fringes. The twists don't feel like twists. They feel like fumbling shortcuts used to navigate a nest of tangled details.
I find myself astounded at how (a) such a venerable studio as Disney gets behind this kind of project (b) how they manage to attract so much high-profile voice talent and (c) how those actors stomach saying these lines, given that every one of them has acted in much better stuff than this pap. I guess a paycheck helps.
But still, ultimately this is a movie that shouldn't have been made.
P.S. One other thing... one can't help but feel like this is one of those animation movies meant to appeal to a demographic. Like, say, the vast swath of middle America that loves country music. It's worth noting that the other failed animated movies of recent years have all attempted to do the same kind of feel-good, blatant targeting.
Brother Bear... Fox and the Hound 2... there are others I can't think of at the moment. Why does it fail? First, because the movies by nature end up offering stereotypes of the demographic they're targeting. Second, because they end up being style over substance. The plot is just a vehicle to deliver the caricature. And last, because it's ridiculous to assume that great story lines don't transcend the cultural distinctions.
Do the studio marketers really think, for instance, that the Nascar set and Manhattan kids alike can't "get" Monsters Inc or Toy Story on a shared level? The only movie of recent years that seemed to beat that rap was "Cars." And that was because it was a good story, not stuck in being pedantic or playing to any one crowd.