Movie #46 in the Disney Animated Marathon hurts me to my very nonexistent soul, so hard, so hard!
Written By: Will Finn & John Sanford
Directed By: Will Finn & John Sanford
So this is the future of animation according to Michael Eisner? This is what led to him kicking the great directing duos of Ron Clement/John Musker & Gary Trousdale/Kirk Wise to the curb? Having not experienced Home On The Range when the great 2D or not to 2D debate was raging throughout the Disney community I had no real reason to understand all the vitriol towards Michael Eisner. Sure, I understood that his contention that traditional 2D animation was driving people away from animated cinema was complete bunk, but still, movies are movies and whether they are animated in 2D or computer animated in a more 3D sense shouldn’t matter. Still, having now seen Home On The Range for the first time I can finally get all the Eisner hate, I can understand why the man went from the genius behind Disney to a complete moron over night. (As an aside, I understand that Home On The Range isn’t CG animated, but it is the film that marked the end of Disney’s 2D animation and the direction Eisner wanted the company to go in, hence my rant.)
Ugly, that is the best word to describe Home On The Range. From start to finish this is an ugly movie, putting its audience at a distance from its first frame. The animation is the first deterrent, it is as unseemly as animation can get. There’s no detail to be found anywhere, the backgrounds are without any life and the characters are rough looking, about the equivalent of bad flash animation on any number of websites. The choice to cast Roseanne Barr is the lead is the next stop in the ugly express. I’m sorry, but even if you find her particular brand of humor funny, I don’t, her voice does not lend itself to animation in any way whatsoever. These two very important factors, the animation style and the lead character, are ugly, borderline disgusting, and that makes it next to impossible to care about any part of the movie.
I’m not a believer in the fact that you must like a protagonist in order for a film to be something you can get behind, but I do believe that in some way a film needs to make you care. So far in that department Home On The Range is batting a brilliant zero percent. It does present a diverse cast of supporting characters, supporting characters that are never given much to do, because this is the Roseanne Barr and animation show. There is a nice little thirty second or so cameo by Patrick Warburton as a horse, and Cuba Gooding Jr. does have moments when he is funny as Buck, the horse who wants to be a hero. But, Home On The Range lacks any weight behind its supporting cast. They simply exist as cannon fodder within a threadbare narrative, a narrative that is, as has become the running theme for Home On The Range, quite ugly.
To say that Home On The Range broke my heart is neither an understatement or an overstatement. It’s a statement full of truth, because never in their history has the mouse made me want to turn a film off. I have disliked Hercules something fierce, been bored out of my mind by Oliver & Company, and not been a big fan of a few other Disney animated features. But, never has a Disney animated feature made me so angry and actually made me want to turn away from the screen in utter disgust. I don’t know what you thought you were doing with Home On The Range mouse, but I have two final thoughts for you.
1) Whatever you were trying for failed and in doing so you helped to destroy a dream I had where Disney animated films could proudly say they never made one of the worst movies of all time.
2) To steal from one of my favorite comedians and one of my favorite podcasts, as always, Michael Eisner is a shithead.