The Rancher's New Groove



Ok...I just have to interrupt this love fest and say a discouraging word...

"Home on the Range" should be buried on the lone prairie.

Boring, unmemorable, thin, crass, uninteresting....

As for the "marriage of CGI and traditional animation", I think it ended in divorce after the opening credits. Anyone who WAS paying attention would have noticed the grotesque overly-defined, badly-designed, ill-fitting trees and the backgrounds which didn't complement the interestingly-designed characters.

Nice that the 65 year history of Disney feature animation went out with a whimper. I think they busted their moo long before April 2. I would have rather listened to Julie Andrew's sing a one octave song in that charming "snow plow on cement" style she's got goin on now.

Go see it...but don't expect much...and you'll be pleased.

Rich T.

New Member
I guess every love-fest *has* to have an interruption. :)

I do disagree with you on this Bill. I found the film funny, touching, clever and entertaining. I do agree with you on one thing: I think the character designs are the most interesting we've seen from Disney in quite a while.

I'm just glad you saw it! Thanks for supporting Disney hand-drawn animation! :)


Active Member
I saw it with Bill and we both had similar reactions. Although I think I liked it a little more than he did. I just found something missing...don't know what, but something. It seemed very "small" and "quaint". Not that that's a bad thing, but it almost seemed like a long-ish Saturday morning cartoon or a long Warner Brothers short. The character designs were interesting, but the backgrounds were bland.

I definitely agree with Bill on the melding of CGI and traditional animation in this film. They've had years to perfect the blending, but this film was just as jarring as many of the early films. The runaway mine train scene was very jarring. They managed to do ok with Treasure Planet, but this film really makes it stand out.

I thought the movie was just ok. The only song I really liked and remembered after the movie was "Little Patch of Heaven".


I worked on "The Sweatbox" (meeting after meeting regarding marketing tie-ins and how to change the picture (!) to better sell more crap to the masses) and let me tell you, the Range/New Groove comparison is a particularly apt one.

If "Home On The Range" is the best that the current regime at Disney can offer, then it is time for 2D feature animation to die before it kills again.

Range is a terrible picture and the music is god-awful. A boring, pointless mess... ugly and noisy to the end. Even worse than "Brother Bear" and I had hoped that that wasn't possible.



Active Member
Also, the preview for "Chicken Little" on the "Brother Bear" DVD doesn't give me much hope that they can create successes with CGI either...


Active Member
...although I don't think Disney is the only one here. I think DreamWorks is in the same boat. Just look at the upcoming "SharkTale" website...

Those character designs are awful! And it's so much about WHO is voicing the characters than the characters themselves. I really don't have a desire to see this one either.

I think after several CGI "stinkers" people will fall out of love with it.


Man, do I feel bummed out after reading this thread! :'(

Sounds like there's nothing to look forward to for quite awhile, at least! All of the sudden, It's like I'm hearing "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" being screamed in the back of my head.

Either it's time for my medication, or time to go home and pop in "The Iron Giant" on the dvd player.

X-S Tech

Active Member
You know I realized this the other day: Disney is expecting that when they finally release Chicken Little next year, the sheer fact that it's a computer release should bring in plenty of people. That combined with the Disney name should ensure success. That's their thinking.

What they don't realize is this. Disney has been releasing such mediocre and downright BAD animated films for so many years now. And thanks to the Disney marketing machine, they've effectively blurred the lines of traditional and sequel, further sullying the Disney rep. Thus I predict that when Chicken Little is released, the public will see the name Disney and choose another film.

Good job Mikey


Active Member
I agree, X-S. I think Disney touting this as their "first" CGI picture is a big mistake. I think they do think that because of that and the "brand" name, people will come. What they may not realize is that the general public won't care. Disney and Pixar have been releasing CGI films for years now. And now that Dreamworks and Fox had major hits with Shrek and Ice Age respectively, the public won't buy it. Now if it truly were the "first" CGI film EVER, then that might be a different story. But, at this point, Disney is arriving late in the game as usual, and has to play catch-up to everyone else.

So Disney saying "Gee look, we've got a CGI chicken!" will make the audience do a collective yawn. Unless there is real quality there.

2D, 3D, 4D,'s all the same when you're creatively bankrupt.

X-S Tech

Active Member
An interesting animation historical note: Disney spent many years developing the story of Chanticleer as an animated film (mostly Marc Davis designs). What was ultimately decided was that birds, and specifically Chickens and Roosters are just plain unattractive to look at. Thier design was almost the exact opposite of all the Disney formulas for cute and appealing: long scaly legs with claws, beaks which make it hard to imitate human speach, those nasty red things on their heads (ok that's one of my personal peeves). Needless to say, it was decided that an audience wouldn't warm to a film about chickens.

I would also like to bring to the courts attention exhibit 4-B, the film "Rock-A-Doodle". I rest my case.

X-S Tech

Active Member
The book, "The Disney that never was" mentions that Chanticleer was first suggested as an animated film in the 30's. It talks about Marc Davis and Ken Anderson doing a lot of work on it in the 60's. The stuff looks like abandoned concepts for America Sings! Then it was considered again in the early 80's when (like today) Disney animation was floundering. Walt himself said that the problem is getting an appealing character out of a rooster. Dogs make great characters cause they are inherently appealing. "You don't feel like picking a rooster up and petting it".

David S.

Regarding the negative comments about Home On The Range, I certainly respect everyone's right to voice their opinion - I've certainly voiced my own negative opinions on many things ranging from "Under New Management" to Disney's management itself (ie Eisner)

So, this is not meant as an argument with the above opinions, just to express my own opinion on the matter.

For what it's worth, I liked both Home On The Range and Brother Bear better than...

Hercules, Mulan, The Emperor's New Groove, Lilo and Stitch, Atlantis, and Treasure Planet, to name a few.

And I liked all of those films, at least on some level (well, ok, maybe Hercules is a stretch ;)

Atlantis and Treasure Planet in particular I felt were very underated, solid fantasy films that were much better than their box office indicated.

I will even go as far as to say I liked Brother Bear and Home On The Range better than The Lion King.

I know that may sound shocking, but, while I like The Lion King on some levels, it's never been a favorite. Parts of it feel preachy to me and the underlying theme just never totally clicked with me on the deep, subconsious level that most Disney films do.

Maybe it's because it seems to be one of the few Disney films where the "outsider" seems to be frowned upon rather than championed.

When we first see Scar, for instance, he is minding his own business, doing his own thing, and suddenly finds himself being sermonized at by Mufasa for not participating in a ceremony with the rest of society.

If this scene is supposed to vilianize Scar, it made me sympathize with him instead. Only when we see that he has murderous intentions do I dislike him.

And then when Simba sets out to live his own life, hanging out with his new friends, he is reprimanded for not "being who he is born to be".

As an individualist, I don't believe we are born obligated to be anything other than what we choose. I mean, if Prince William decided to abdicate the throne and spend the rest of his days "slumming" in a small Parisian apartment, frequenting intellectual cafes whilst discussing the merits of Satre and Camus and the essense of the human condition as discussed in their writing, I'd say, "good for him, if that's what he wants!"

Also, the "circle of life" aspect of the theme seemed to have already been done with more sublimity and grace 50 year earlier - in Bambi.

At any rate, I think what I'm getting at is, as admittedly BEAUTIFUL as Lion King is to look at, as good as the score and songs are, it's not one of my favorites primarily because the story just didn't resonate with me as much as many other Disney stories.

Conversely, Brother Bear and Home On The Range had stories that entertained me both on the surface level, but more importantly, moved me on the deeper subconsious level. The fact that I'm an animal lover and that animals played a major role in these two films was icing on the cake. ("Home" was especially endearing to me on that level because the protagonists are herbavores, which I am partial to).

So, whatever flaws these films may or may not have visually or musically (yes, the songs in Brother Bear could have been better, although a few are fairly catchy, but I enjoyed the score. I enjoyed both the songs and the score of Range), the reason I loved both of them is STORY, STORY, STORY.

Just as Charlotte's Web is one of my all time favorite animated films because I LOVE the story so much. Same for Babe in the live action category. (Although, admittedly, Home didn't seem quite at the Babe level, but then again, few films are IMO)

The story and the theme of Disney's two most recent animated features worked and resonated for me. Other viewers' mileage will vary.

And BTW, I went with HIGH expectations - I expected to find characters to sympathise and identify with, I expected to be entertained, to laugh, to cry, and to be moved - and BOTH Brother Bear and Home On The Range delivered all of this for me.



Here is my 2 cents worth:

I took my 6 yr old nephew to this movie. I am a Disney fan. I was not particularly jazzed about seeing this movie. My nephew LOVED it. I enjoyed it alot more than I thought I would. Cute and Entertaining are the words I would use to discribe it. Words I wouldnt use to describe it: Epic, Deep, Moving. I didnt walk out humming the songs although, surprisingly enough, I probably will get the CD. Not as good as some Disney movies and better than most recent Disney films.

Obviously Disney has left a bad taste in our mouths.... but Im wondering how much our attitude that we bring INTO the theater, affects our opinion coming out of the theater?

X-S Tech

Active Member
I really liked the Emporers New Groove, though intellectually I can see why it didn't do very well. In animation, you have to be the absolute best. Cute doesn't cut it. Cute will get you an audience of kids but not any that will return. Lion King was at it's time "amazing" not because it was a better film than Fantasia or the Jungle Book, but because of how it didn't take peoples expectations for granted. People would go into an animated film at that time and expect either something cute (like Classic films) or some broadway showstoppers (like Beauty and the Beast) and were completely surprised by what they got instead. Lion King is far from my favorite film but it's definately well made and a good example of a film that the audience embraced.

X-S Tech

Active Member
Rosanne and Jennifer Tilly. Nuff Said.

On that note, more than a year ago I went to the Studio as Home was being worked on. They were well into production, close to wrapping up I'd say and I was told that Roseanne had just been cast to replace the previous voice of her particular cow. Most of the animation was finished and essentially Roseanne had to come in and just dub over the previous performance. Does anyone know who the previous voice of this character was? It seems like they said it was Queen Latifah but I'm not sure.


Not to beat a dead horse, I did not care for Home on the Range at all. I did enjoy the music, and some of the characters were funny, but the story didn't seem very realistic to me. Okay, how much realism can you GET out of a talking barnyard? Well, usually these stories are realistic, and then put around an unexpected ensemble of characters, furthering their interesting plot. I didn't find that with Home. It looked like an excuse to use some of these barn animal jokes they have been sitting on for a while, and there was enough belching to make me think I might have been watching a Nickelodeon movie. (Rugrats 18: Rigrats Go to South Compton anyone?)

In contrast, I have enjoyed many of the more recent Disney films released, and not because they were Disney films. I think that becomes a problem in the Disney fan community that we expect way too much from the films, and I for one and totally guilty of this as well. Disney has made some incredible films, but they have also made some bad ones as well. Disney is not an immortal company, nor do I think they ever were. Even with Walt around the company had some good and bad films. I do think they hit the mark with films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and even Mulan. I think Atlantis and Treasure Planet were released too close to each other. The only reason for Lilo and Stitch's success was the very marketable character of Stitch. The Emperor's New Groove was too cute for the adults to get into, but had humor well above that of the audience that warmed to it.

I too am upset that Disney Animation is abandoning the one form of art that they pioneered and will always be ultimately famous for. I feel that after a few years (either after Eisner leaves or after a few CGI flops) that the studio will realize what they have done, and will pour a little bit of heart and soul back into this division... maybe see another golden age of Disney films.

Just to let you know, I am in no way defending the cheapquels in this post. I hate them all. Let Television Animation stick to making Kim Possible, a much better piece of entertainment, than Dumbo II. Ugh.
.......Tough crowd!

Is it a Groove-y movie, as Bill suggests--probably so. Is it a Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, or even Brother Bear--definitely not. Does that make it dumpster material--of course not.

I suppose I'm a sucker for a western. HOTR has a familiar Wild West storyline, but with a classic Disney animal take that works. And there are plenty of color-drenched painted deserts, which I'll take any time over the currently fashionable CGI--hey, if I want a photographic lone prairie, there's always The Magnificent Seven. For that matter, I wonder if the stylized trees Bill refers to reflect the Eyvind Earle/Sleeping Beauty look that was an apparent influence, according to the HOTR book that just came out, full of concept sketches/paintings worth taking a look at.

Yeah, there's some Groove-y contempoary crassiness which detracts, but doesn't overwhelm: the standard belching routines(which never fail to get the kids laughing; at least we're spared Shrek-ish flatulence), a title song(which I otherwise like) referring to urinary incontinence, and tiresome kung fu fighting--enough with the martial arts already!

Musically, I'm stuck on K. D. Lang's bouncing "Little Patch of Heaven", but I also like Bonnie Raitt's more melancholy tune--both songs stand out for me. And hey, we even get a villain who actually sings his song(most of it, anyway).

As far as Alan Menken's Elmer Bernstein-esque score, I would have liked it better if I could have heard it; it seemed muffled at times, lost in the distant, background canyons.

HOTR--not a classsic, but certainly not dumpster material.