Home on the Range (2004)

2016 #32
Will Finn & John Sanford | 73 mins | streaming (HD) | 1.78:1 | USA / English | U / PG

I have many goals within my film viewing, quite apart from trying to watch 100 films every year. Some I’ve completed (the Rathbone Holmes series), others are almost done (every Spielberg film), others not so much (every Hitchcock film), and others I’ve barely begun (the Zatoichi series). One of these goals is to watch every Disney Animated Classic, their canon of feature animations that currently sits at 55 titles (with another scheduled for later this year, in the US at least). I did a pretty good job on the real classics while growing up, and have since filled the gaps of the modern classics, so I’m left ploughing through their lesser periods: the content they pumped out in the war-affected ’40s, and the post-Renaissance pre-Lasseter clusterfrack that was their ’00s produce. My best hope is to uncover a hidden gem while I mop up this dross.

Home on the Range is not a hidden gem.

The plot, such as it is, locates us in the Old West, where a trio of singing cows hunt for an outlaw in order to save the farm they live on. The early ’00s box office was not a great place for musicals, Westerns, or traditional animations, so one does have to wonder what inspired Disney to make their 45th Animated Classic a traditionally-animated musical Western.

Still, box office failure does not equate to a lack of quality. No, the film achieves that all by itself. There’s a plodding, familiar, poorly-structured story, with dull characters, who spout flat dialogue, which does nothing to help their unoriginal relationships. The voice acting is irritating, with the exception of one or two over-qualified performers (Dame Judi Dench?!) The songs are weedy, repetitious, and unmemorable. The villain’s number is the best of a bad bunch, but only because it has a moderately amusing reveal in the middle of it. The animation is unremarkable, besides some terrible CG intrusions. It seems to be under the impression that “hog” is a word for “cow”, based on the number of puns. A couple of gags do land — I even laughed out loud once, though I’ve forgotten why — but the majority is resolutely uninspired.

It’s actually not the worst of Disney’s canon (as I mentioned, there’s the odd flash of enjoyment, which is more than can be said for Chicken Little), but it’s still one for aficionados — or completists — only.

2 out of 5

The Value-for-Money Monthly Update for February 2016

It’s only words, and words are all I have to introduce this post.

So let’s get on with it.


The Martian#21 Predestination (2014)
#22 Prisoners (2013)
#23 Macbeth (2015)
#24 Daybreakers (2009)
#25 The Martian (2015)
#26 Ex Machina (2015)
#27 Quigley Down Under (1990)
#28 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)Ex Machina
#29 SuperBob (2015)
#30 The East (2013)
#31 Pillow Talk (1959)
#32 Home on the Range (2004)
#33 Crimson Peak (2015)
#34 Grand Piano (2013)
#35 Home (2015)
Crimson Peak#36 Noah (2014)
#37 The Equalizer (2014)
#38 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
#39 Big Eyes (2014)
#40 The Hangover (2009)
#41 Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
#42 Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo. (2012/2013)
#43 Cinderella (2015)
#44 Lucy (2014)


  • Value For Money Assessment, Part 1: before I cancelled Netflix last month, I watched 10 films on there. That’s £0.79 per film.
  • Value For Money Assessment, Part 2: after joining Now TV this month, I snuffled out 230+ films that interested me. Of those, I watched 10, plus the Oscars. That’s £0.91 per film/awards ceremony. (That subscription’s not over, so I’ll get more value out of it next month.)
  • Value For Money Assessment, Part 3: I bought and instantly watched four new-release Blu-rays this month. That was £11.87 per film. Picture quality and special features were lovely, though.
  • No WDYMYHS film this month, for reasons I’ll come to in a minute. I did watch two last month, though, so it’s OK.


This month, I watched 24 new films. Yeah, that whole “watch fewer films so I can do other stuff” thing isn’t going so well. (“Moan when you’re not watching enough films, moan when you are watching plenty of films — what’s wrong with you?!” Yes, I do feel a bit Shinji-ish.)

The reason? The Oscars. Not watching the nominated films, but paying £9.99 for a month of Now TV so I can watch them. Are the Oscars worth £9.99? No, of course they’re not — hence catching up on lots of other films while I have it. That’ll continue until the middle of next month… when I’ll get Netflix so I can watch Daredevil season two, and also attempt to extract maximum value for money by watching a load more films. So in the middle of April I may finally stop watching so many movies…

Of course, watching so many films brings with it a number of personal ‘achievements’: it easily surpasses the February average (9.63) and crushes the February record (13, jointly held by four previous Februarys); it’s the 21st month in a row where I’ve watched over 10 films; it’s only the fifth month ever with over 20 films; oh, and it’s a new third best month ever. (“Best” in this sense just meaning “most prolific”, of course. Volume does not equal quality. Unless you’re Mad Max: Fury Road, in which case winning the most Oscars means you are the Academy’s best film of the year. Yes it does. Yes it does.)

Quick inaccurate future predictions: following the relatively-huge January and February, and as I intend to maintain my ten-per-month minimum, this year’s looking at a final tally of at least 144 films. That would make it easily my second most prolific year ever. Which is nice. If by some failure of purpose I continued to achieve my current 2016 average of 22 films per month, I’d be looking at ending around #264. Sounds utterly ridiculous, but in January 2015 I laughed at the statistics suggesting I might make it to #192, and I ended up reaching #200.


This month, I’ve all but finished posting my 2015 reviews. Just The Story of Film remains, joining Veronica Mars in the eternally-unreviewed club. Maybe I’ll fix them both next month. Plus, the debut of my monthly TV review.


Superheroes, Disney, history, and noir — both classic and futuristic. Alphabetisation leaves the structure of this series to the whims of fate, but I think it’s a nicely varied month.



The 9th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Any month with 24 films is likely to have more than its fair share of highs and lows, and so it was with February. Shortlisting contenders for both this and the next award showed more of the former than the latter (nine vs. three), thankfully, but I think this one boils down to a three-way five-star sci-fi stand-off. Of those, I think the best marriage of idea and execution may have come from Predestination.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Two animations with “home” in the title are the frontrunners (rear-runners?) here. However, I expected Home on the Range to be terrible (and only watched it in aid of seeing all the Disney Animated Classics), whereas I only watched Home because I thought the trailer looked entertaining, so was thoroughly disappointed.

Best Apocalypse of the Month
Plenty of movies have shown us the end of the world now, but very few have done it in a story set millennia ago. For doing it so convincingly (if not plausibly), congratulations to Noah.

Most Disappointing Shakespeare Cut of the Month
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” Why did they excise one of the best lines from Macbeth?!

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
Maybe it was the broad range of series covered, maybe it was just because it was something new and different, but my most-viewed new post in February was The Past Month on TV #1. (For the sake of keeping things on topic, I’ll add that the most-viewed film-related review was my Oscars-centric take on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.)


Halfway.