The early 2000s weren't very kind to Disney's animated films. Although I liked many of the movies they released at the time, they didn't seem to resonate with audiences and gain that "instant" classic badge of honor that many of the studios works like Aladdin and The Lion King earned in the 1990s. Disney decided it was time to release a couple of those movies from the 2000s on Blu-ray and Home on the Range is one of them.
In the movie, three cows from different walks of life embark on a journey to capture an outlaw and collect the reward. The reward is exactly the amount of money they need to save the farm they live on from a greedy land grabber intent on buying up all the property in that area. They partner up with different animals along the way and battle others to keep their home.
Home on the Range isn't a bad film. It's just not memorable. Nothing about it screams classic. There are no princesses, knights in shining armor, or magical dragons. It's just boring old talking animals and people. Where's the fun in that? Of course there's the message of: "Home is where the heart is." It just doesn't seem to have the same impact as seeing the good guy slay a dragon for his sweetheart to prove: "Love conquers all."
One reason most animated Disney films gain popularity is because of their musical numbers. All the greats which come to mind had songs you left humming after seeing them. Think about all the movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, and decades of others. Home on the Range really doesn't have a single memorable tune in it. The only reason I even remember the villain's song is because he yodeled funny in it. Academy Award winner Alan Menken dropped the ball on this one. I guess every song you compose can't be a hit, though.
The audio and video quality for the film looks better than it ever has before thanks to its high definition transfer. The picture is clean for the most part and the 5.1 surround is utilized through the soundtrack, background noises, and sound effects like whistling trains, gunshots, and such. Viewers will be happy with the format upgrade to Blu-ray.
I'll give credit to Disney for packing the release with enough special features to keep consumers happy. There's a bonus short entitled Dairy Tales: The Three Little Pigs. Four deleted scenes are introduced by the filmmaker. There are three featurettes including "Trailblazers: The Making of 'Home on the Range, Art Review, and one about the history of yodeling called Yodelmentary. Feature commentary is provided by co-writers/co-directors Will Finn and John Sanford and producer Alice Dewey. Deleted jokes and a music video round out the bonus material.
Home on the Range isn't a bad movie. It's just not up to par with a lot of the films Disney releases that so many people cherish. The new Blu-ray + DVD Combo pack will definitely be attractive to collectors of any and everything the Mouse House has put out. This will please you if you're looking for the definitive high definition version of the film.