Do you remember when your mom said that age-old phrase, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Well, if I listened to my mom right now, this chapter would be very, very short. In any case, I’ll try by starting with the better. But prepare yourself.
So far, there has only been one other film in this project that I didn’t like: Pinocchio. Unfortunately, for the most part I didn’t even like watching Home on the Range. I know, I know—I’m as surprised as you. But I think expectations have a big role to play here. You may remember, I actually watched HOTR after Three Caballeros and Brother Bear because good ol’ Netflix kept messing up the order. Prior to the Netflix movie mix-up, I wasn’t really looking forward to watching it. I vaguely recalled the trailers for it, and I distinctly remember thinking, well no point in seeing that one. Which sounds mean, I know. And I’ve been proven wrong before by trailers. Heck, I didn’t expect to like Meet the Robinsons, and I’m still making big-head, little arm jokes weeks later. But that’s where expectations come into play. After such a long and arduous process of just getting Home on the Range to my mailbox (okay, PO Box, the USPS doesn’t deliver to our apartment because we live so dang far out of town. Yes, it does stink.)
So thanks, Netflix. You made me look forward to a movie, therefore increasing the chances that I’d dislike it. The more I look forward to something, the more likely I am to be disappointed. Now, before you go calling me a pessimist or saying I cause myself not to like things, hear me out. I have a crazy overactive imagination. So when I look forward to something, I build it up in my head a lot. Way more than is normal or even healthy, for that matter. I know I do this and often I try to avoid it by reminding myself to keep my expectations in check. I was even a little let down by Princess and the Frog the first time I saw it; the return to hand drawn animation made me so excited I was expecting something better than The Lion King (as if that’s possible!). So really, my expectations played at least some role in my dislike of HOTR.
You know I don’t like a movie when I spend paragraphs at a time talking about other movies. Funny how that works.
On a positive note, I love Alan Menken, the composer for the film. I liked about half the songs, mainly “Will the Sun Ever Shine Again” and “Little Patch of Heaven”. I liked the music for the others, but not so much the lyrics. While some of them were great, they weren’t consistently great. Ugh, I hate saying bad things about anything Disney related. I feel guilty for not liking it, I do. It’s terrible how terrible it is. Also yodeling? Really? They’re cattle, not sheep on a Swiss hill. I just didn’t buy it. Though I do love listening to Dame Judi Dench, not enough to make up for the sound of Roseanne Barr’s voice for 100+ minutes.
And what makes it so terrible? For once, they couldn’t get me to suspend my disbelief. I didn’t for a second think that they wouldn’t save the farm, because they weren’t acting like cows. They didn’t move like cows. They did Tae Boe and a horse did karate and their limbs kept bending in the wrong ways. It just didn’t compute. Films like Brother Bear, Bambi and The Lion King (of course, how could I not go there?) kept the animals looking and moving like the actual animals (for the most part). They didn’t want to make the animals too human or else the story would be unbelievable. We’re supposed to be learning through metaphor and seeing human experiences through another species’ eyes. HOTR just didn’t do that. I mean, if a yodeling cattle thief ever steals my cattle, forces me to go bankrupt, subsequently buys my property and….oh, wait. That’s terribly unlikely, isn’t it? So…umm… friendship is good? Yes?
Also, the movie was way too dumbed down. It has Shrek-esque humor right from the beginning (Roseanne Barr saying “yes, they’re real” in reference to her udders), but the plot was way too laid out. There weren’t any surprises or twists. The villain kept explaining to his nephews how clever his plan is, repeating it over and over again. I mean really. Children are smarter than that, and that’s your target audience. Also, burps are only funny so many times. At some point, you’ll need witty dialogue. Just a suggestion.Overall, I was thoroughly disappointed. It pains me to say it. But at least now it’s over. Unfortunately I also didn’t think highly of the Treasure Planet trailers, and that’s the next 2000’s release on the list. Ruh-ro. Good think Make Mine Music is next.