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Home on the Range

Home on the Range on DVD

by Johnny Bray

At a place in which the deer and antelope play, things are going awry.

The Patch of Heaven dairy farm is at risk of being taken over by a ruthless outlaw. The animals are sure to be eaten, and the whole place will become a run down piece of open space perfect for tumbleweeds to roam free. But not if the cows have anything to say about it…

Maggie is from a farm down the way, which has just recently been bought out and overrun by Alameda Slim. Now, as the newest member of the Patch of Heaven, she doesn’t want to see the same thing happen again. So she does her darndest to get the rest of the farm to help her kick Slim’s bum. Reluctantly, Grace and Mrs. Caloway agree, not because they believe in Maggie, but because they don’t want to become cow pies.

Can the bevy of bovine babes thwart the evil plot of Slim and his gang? Of course they can, and it’ll only take them 76 minutes.

Home on the Range is a fun little Disney adventure, with everything you love about their classic animated fare and, surprisingly, few of the hindrances of their less popular films. It features the typical kid-and-adult-friendly humor, a fairly standard story, fun characters, and some song-and-dance routines written by Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast).

Lately, Disney has been heading into dreaded PC territory, and Home on the Range certainly could have gone that way. But Alameda Slim is not an evil capitalist, he’s just evil. The movie never does the whole “money is bad and anybody with money is bad” thing; in fact, even the heroes are trying to raise enough money to buy their farm back.

It’s pretty forgettable, but the latest animated Disney movie is still fun enough to be worth watching at least once. It also shows that traditional animation hasn’t yet run completely out of steam. It’s no Aladdin, Lion King, or any of the other greats, but it’s still fun.

Disney has provided a pretty decent DVD for the home video release. Presented in “family-friendly” 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality is great. There are plenty of bright colors that shine nicely, and detail is very good as well. There are no traces of dust or grain, and while the animation isn’t on par with some higher profile cartoons, it’s still pretty darn good.

We also get the typical Dolby Digital 5.1, which is pretty good, too. As usual, most of the dialogue primarily uses the center speaker, but the musical numbers fill the room from all the channels, and there’s plenty of action that uses the surrounds very nicely. The subwoofer is pretty tame, but there’s enough going on that you probably won’t notice.

Included on the disc is Disney’s usual dose of extras. “Trailblazers: The Making of Home on the Range” is a pretty standard featurette. It doesn’t really have a lot to say about the actual production, but it lets us know the movie exists. And we guess that’s important, especially after we’ve already seen it. Four deleted scenes run for almost 15 minutes, and even though they could have made the film a decent length, we can understand why they were cut. There’s also an audio commentary by the filmmakers, a cute but not great animated short, plenty of interactive games, an art review, and a music video.


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