HOME ON THE RANGE
Sassy show cow Maggie (voice of Roseanne Barr) is sent to Patches of Heaven dairy farm, when her owner's land is foreclosed. There she meets the fastidious British cow Mrs Caloway (voice of Dame Judi Dench), the gentle young cow Grace (voice of Jennifer Tilly) and the other farm inhabitants, including chicks, ducks, playful pigs, and a gruff goat. But soon they learn their new home is about to be auctioned unless they can come up with $750. The three cows mosey into town and when they hear $750 reward is being offered for the capture of notorious yodeling cattle rustler Alameda Slim (voice of Randy Quaid), they set off in pursuit with the help of Sheriff Brown's hotshot horse Buck (voice of Cuba Gooding Jnr.)
Review by Louise Keller:
At last the humble cow has been recognised for more than simply gracing Gary Larsen cartoons. Udderly delightful, Disney's animated musical adventure Home on the Range is energetic and witty entertainment the whole family will adore. Cows may not usually do much more than stand around and eat, but in this western adventure, they rise to hero status (or should that be heroine?), as they save the day (and the farm).
A story of good versus evil and justice prevailing over greed, the filmmakers have fun playing with the classic western genre, where wide open spaces and rich colours saturate the screen. Dusty browns and earthy colours are married with playful purple, yellows and blues. Using digital and traditional backdrops, the palette is bright, the graphic style is textured. But of course it's the characters that are instrumental in making us care, and the smart voice casting of Roseanne as the bossy, sassy show cow is inspired.
The cows with long, curly lashes are a lovable bunch, and as expected there are numerous lines of the milk (sorry, I mean ilk) 'hope it's not one of those fat-free places', 'what's her speciality - sour cream?' and 'there's no use in crying over spilt milk'. All the voices are recognisable: hearing a conservative cow in a purple hat with Judi Dench's rounded vowels and a breathy, feminine new age cow called Grace sounding like Jennifer Tully, is great fun.
The script is sharp and funny, and the action is fast. We meet a rustler who yodels to hypnotise cattle, a horse with anger management issues, a harebrained lucky rabbit, an eccentric goat, three little pigs, cheeky chicks, a sleepy rooster and a simple chicken who wonders indignantly 'who on earth would eat a chicken?' Vocals from k.d. lang and Bonnie Raitt are a highlight, while the yodelling sequence is a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour and design.
Home on the Range is a sweet and enchanting film for the young and the young at heart. It's short, fun and vibrant. The smile never left my face. 'Wake up and smell the alfalfa.'
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HOME ON THE RANGE (G)
VOICES: Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, Jennifer Tilly, Cuba Gooding Jr, Randy Quaid, Charles Dennis, Steve Buscemi
PRODUCER: Alice Dewey
DIRECTOR: Will Finn, John Sanford
SCRIPT: Will Finn, John Sanford
MUSIC: Alan Menken (songs k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Cutler
RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Tasmania: September 2, 2004; Melbourne, Brisbane: September 15, 2004; Sydney, Melbourne: September 23, 2004; Perth: September 30, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: January 19,2 005