HOME ON THE RANGEPG
In what is rumored to be the final traditional animated feature from Disney, Maggie (Roseanne Barr), a show cow, must save her dairy farm, Patch of Heaven, from the avaricious clutches of greedy rustler Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid). She enlists the entire barnyard to help her out, both musically and mission-wise.
Home on the Range is a brightly amusing romp, which can truly be recommended for the entire family in that time-honored (but somewhat neglected these days) Disney tradition. There's a genuine sweetness and engaging innocence about the whole thing that is a welcome respite from the thuddingly obvious violence and attempted comedy prevalent in most movie fare these days, animated or otherwise. The visuals are often strikingly beautiful, a vivid stylization of all those John Ford Monument Valley landscapes, and the barnyard characters are very endearing (although I wish the cows' nostrils had been drawn a little less pointily, as if they, too, had surgically undergone some Hollywood cosmetic aid).
From her first line regarding her udders--"Yeah, they're real--quit staring!"--Roseanne brings the perfect, dry tone and makes a fit, feisty heroine. Jennifer Tilly (whose voice was made for cartoons) has an amusing ding-a-ling quality as her New Age-y bovine pal, Grace, and Judi Dench's crusty tones make the most of haughty heifer Mrs. Caloway's lines. Cuba Gooding, Jr., delivers his trademark rambunctiousness as Buck, a manic stallion with some major kung-fu moves, who strangely resembles The Rock. Steve Buscemi finds his perfect, bug-eyed animated doppelganger in greasily villainous Wesley. Much more could have been made of Patrick Warburton, whose macho deadpan is always comically welcome, as a skittish horse. Quaid yodels away as Alameda Slim, whose dulcet tones hypnotize cattle into total submission. His extended musical number is the film's only false note, too overproduced and extended. The other songs by Disney stalwart Alan Menken, including the title theme and "Little Patch of Heaven," are adorable, however, sung with cheery warmth and appropriate country tang by k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw.