Home on the Range and Treasure Planet RELEASED ON Blu-Ray

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney Movies, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on July 06, 2012 at 11:04 pm with 12 Comments

This past week, Disney released two of their animated films on Blu-Ray for the first time, so I thought today’s Disney Review would be a good time to double up and check the both of them out.

HOME ON THE RANGE

There is probably nothing about Home on the Range that I can say that hasn’t been said already. Truth be told, I had never seen this movie before I received my review copy. I remember first seeing previews for it, back when it originally came out, and having absolutely no interest whatsoever in it. The litany of bad reviews and press that followed sure didn’t help either. But seeing the film now, ignoring all the preconceptions I had of it, I actually found it to be quite enjoyable.

Set in the old west, Home on the Range is the story of a mismatched trio of dairy cows – brash, adventurous Maggie, prim, proper Mrs. Calloway and ditzy, happy-go-lucky Grace (voiced by Roseanne Barr, Dame Judi Dench and Jennifer Tilly respectively). Maggie has recently been relocated to Patch of Heaven, an idyllic farm where other barnyard animals live their life peacefully. Her arrival is timed with the foreclosure of the ranch, so the three bovines set out to capture the infamous cattle rustler, Alamida Slim, to collect the bounty on him in order to save the farm. Grace also has a second agenda of revenge, seeing as how it was Alamida’s fault that her original home was foreclosed as well.

While the story itself is pretty one-dimensional, I did find it to be very enjoyable. Like any film, there are certainly slow parts to it, especially around the second act, and when the film comes in at only 72 minutes, it’s at these moments that the film really drags. But the rest of the film is lively and entertaining.

The film is also notorious for being the LAST traditionally animated film that Disney did, until The Princess and the Frog came along in 2009, and for that alone, is well worth looking at. The transfer over to Blu-Ray makes the film stand out, and some of the backgrounds are just breathtaking. There are spots when the traditional animation does seem a little fuzzy on this high-def transfer, but overall, it’s a beautifully animated and brightly colored film.

I pretty much loved the entire voice cast (despite her reputation for being annoying, I most definitely have a soft spot for Jennifer Tilley), aside from Grace herself. I’m not sure what it was, but I just found it very distracting to have Roseanne’s voice coming out of a cow. Though her personality certainly fit the character of Grace, I just didn’t like her performance and found it borderline irritating. Another minor nitpick was Buck. Cuba Gooding Jr. was a good fit for the glory seeking horse, but I sometimes confused him for Chris Rock (seriously, he sounds almost exactly like Rock’s Marty the Zebra in the Madagascar films at certain points). And finally, Steve Buscemi was wonderful in his all too short cameo at the end of the film as a greedy cattle buyer.

The music is billed as being written as the same team from Aladdin, though that’s only true because Alan Menken composed the songs. Glenn Slater aids him for some of the song writing duties. Overall, they did a pretty good job. I found the songs to be catchy and fit into the story quite well. I’m actually kind of surprised that some of them haven’t made it into the mainstream collective like some other Disney films, because they do have a distinctive old west flair that is memorable. Obviously, the stand out among them, both lyrically and visually in the film, is Randy Quaid’s Alamida Slim singing Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo. I went back to watch that sequence a few times, just because I enjoyed it so much!

The special features are all presented in standard definition, and are the usually Disney fluff. The one stand out among them is Trailblazers, the “making of” featurette. This one goes a little more into detail than most Disney films “making-ofs,” and I found it to be a fascinating look behind the scenes of a seriously underrated movie.

If you have seen the movie already and disliked, chances are you won’t be picking it up this time around. But if you’re willing and able, I would definitely give it another shot, especially if you have young kids. For what it was, it was definitely an enjoyable movie, and definitely one I will watch again.

 


Celebrating Epcot’s 30th Anniversary!


 

TREASURE PLANET

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, Treasure Planet is another underrated, yet enjoyable, Disney film. It is a science fiction adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel Treasure Island set in space in an attempt to modernize the story for today’s audiences. Though a complete box office bomb (it grossed only $38 million in the US & Canada, but cost $140 million to make), it still has the makings of a wonderful film.

I won’t go into details to rehash the plot, as it is a loose adaptation of one of the greatest adventure novels of all time, but I will say that young Jim Hawkins sets off on a quest to find the infamous Treasure Planet in an attempt to turn his troubled life around.

The film itself, especially on Blu-Ray, looks absolutely stunning. It employs what was a ground breaking technique for its time by using hand-drawn 2D traditional animation set atop 3D computer animation. It makes for a distinct visual flair that isn’t seen in most animated films, and it most definitely adds to the dimension and depth of its look. Though, at times, I found myself distracted by looking more at the background and animations than the story itself (but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

I found the voice cast here to be spot on, with no one seemingly out of place. Brian Murray plays John Silver as a lovable pirate captain, but can easily switch to the menacing scoundrel he needs to be at the drop of a hat. He was the perfect choice to counteract Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Jim. The two seem very natural together, and their developed relationship seemed quite believable, even in this animated form. Much like Home on the Range, there is another stand out role here that doesn’t come into play until the final third of the film, and left me wanting more; Martin Short as B.E.N., the abandoned, whimsical robot who has lost his mind.

Some of the extras here art ported over from the original DVD release, but there are some new ones. For a behind the scenes junkie like me, the visual commentary that you can run alongside the film was a real treat. Hearing and seeing folks talk about the action unfolding on screen added to the experience for me, and definitely well worth sitting through the film’s running time again.

Again, if you haven’t seen this film before, I highly recommend checking it out. Even if you didn’t like it the first time around, it’s been ten years. Give it another shot. The story isn’t perfect, sure, but it’s a great steam punk meets space update of this classic tale.


By Jeff Heimbuch

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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Tickets are now on sale for the

COMMUNICORE WEEKLY 38TH WEEKAVERSARY
&
EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!

Come celebrate EPCOT’s 30th Anniversary in style with a live taping of MiceChat’s Communicore Weekly! Join co-hosts Jeff Heimbuch & George Taylor, along with MiceChat’s Dusty Sage, Kevin Yee, and the Communicore Weekly Orchestra, for a fun-filled night of fandom and frivolity as they tape a special hour long episode of the hit show, Communicore Weekly.

Join us on the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2912 in the Norway Pavilion Special Events Lounge in EPCOT’s World Showcase for this one of a kind event!

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About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at www.communicoreweekly.com Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at www.itskindofacutestory.com

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12 Comments

Comments for Home on the Range and Treasure Planet RELEASED ON Blu-Ray are now closed.

  1. Thank you Jeff! I actually liked both of these films. Particularly Home on the Range, which has some interesting musical numbers.

    Both of these films came at a time that it felt Disney animation was coming to an end. It will be nice to see them again on Blu-Ray.

  2. Got my self some summer weekend fun thanks to you Jeff

  3. I wonder when they’re going to re-release Atlantis, too.

    • I was thinking the same. I enjoy that one as well!

      • Everything will be re-released eventually, the next releases for blu ray are The Rescuers and Rescuers Down Under in a dual set and then Cinderella. If you look at the pattern Disney are re-releasing onto blu ray I would expect this time next year to be Hercules and Atlantis or possibly Hercules and Hunchback of Notre Dame then a dual set of Atlantis and Atlantis 2 Milo’s Return and the classic releases of Aladdin (hopefully both the edited and unedited version.

  4. Excellent article. I have always loved Treasure Planet and felt it never received the recognition it was due. It will be very enjoyable for me to see this on Blu-Ray!!!

    Now all we need are Atlantis and The Black Hole to be re-mastered for Blu-Ray and my Disney Sci-Fi collection will be complete!

  5. I do consider both these movies under rated and severely under appreciated You do point out many of the highs and lows of the movies but would add emphasize just a few things. In “Home on the Range” The villains name is spelled “Alameda Slim” not “Alamida Slim”. And I too would emphasize that the colors used throughout the movie are some of the best Disney has ever done. I especially enjoyed the opening number and humorous lyrics with Lucky Jack, the Rabbit., It’s just too bad that they didn’t use Lucky Jack throughout more of the movie..

    Even though I am not a country music fan, the soundtrack, songs and variety of artists who performed them were ALL top notch. Unfortunatey, this is one of the most overlooked features of this film.

    As for the main Villain, Alameda Slim, who goes about rustling cattle with his special art of yodelling, and subsequently disguises himself as Y. O’Dell, who purchases the foreclosed farm land, When it does dome time for Alameda to show off his “art”. it is my favorite part of the movie. And what villain isn’t complete without a sidekick or three? The Wiley Brothers are the perfect compliment to Alameda. They are to Alameda what Kronk is to Yzma.

    Overall, it is a very fun movie to watch. And, yes, if they could have recast two of the voices in the movie, the top two to go would be Roseanne and Jennifer. But don’t that keep you from watching and enjoying all the other animals in this Disney Classic Animated movie, along with the beatiful animation and colors used, some fantastic songs and one of Disney’s best and most entertaining Villains of all times!

    For Treasure Planet, yes I really enjoyed this movie as well, and it does combine computer animation with tradtional animation better than in any other animated movie I have seen.And it was interesting to see Disney do a movie with very few human looking characters, and the majority of characters that look like a weird human/animal comibination, not unlike many of the extras in a Goofy Cartoon short. It is also interesting to see the way they way the animators combined a futuristic space travel movie, but made the journey more old fashioned with sailing ships rather than rocket ships. And it is interesting that they used a 3D map technoology, years before Tony Stark did!

  6. Great Review, I did see both and I didn’t realize that Alan Menken did the music for Home on the Range. I really liked Treasure Planet too.

    Timekeeper

    • I didn’t realize it either until I saw the big ol’ sticker on the front of it. And he was in the special features talking about the process quite a bit, so it was interesting to see his choices

  7. We love Treasure Planet, but sadly, I still have never seen Home on the Range.

    I need to remedy this…

  8. I love Home on The Range, I have both of these films on DVD I was not really interested in upgrading them to blu ray and after this review saying Home on The Range is fuzzy in places I am still not worried about upgrading, however, the description of Treasure Planet’s transfer sounds amazing and now I really want to upgrade it afterall.

    ” Randy Quaid’s Alamida Slim singing Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo. I went back to watch that sequence a few times, just because I enjoyed it so much! ” I have watched this scene so much myself, I sometimes slip the disc in and just watch this one scene then move on to another film.

    Thank you for your reviews they are often very helpful, although I know all the films really well I like hearing an honest opinion on the transfer to make the decision as to whether to upgrade from DVD or not.

  9. I’ve never seen home on the range…or not that i can remember…I’m going to have to check it out BUT I’ve never bought into 72 minutes equaling a film. It’s even sadder when something is only around that long and it drags on…and on..and on….In my history of watching movies…anything under around 89 minutes is GENERALLY the kiss of death and inevitably I watch it anyway so I can reinforce my theorem that it will be awful (((there’s about 5 cases where something managed to rise above it’s brevity…but that’s probably a ratio that leaves about 97% of those short “films” complete piles)))

    I remember seeing trailers for treasure planet and thinking…wow that looks amazing….I remember watching it and….I think I enjoyed the animation and continued thinking wow it LOOKS amazing..but I seem to remember the story severely lacking….BUT, and that’s a huge but (?), I DO also remember liking the robot. So I think I agree with you; if someone hasn’t seen it they should probably check it out…it’s not an amazing movie all around by any means but it does have its moments (((I think..lol…I remember, as I already said, loving the animation more than anything else about it….Atlantis is in that same league of probably under appreciated for what it accomplishes visually…but I enjoy every aspect of it)