Disney’s downward spiral of an identity crisis continues with Home on the Range, the story of two dairy cows and a show cow who set out on a western adventure in a bid to save their ranch, Patch of Heaven, from foreclosure.
Rather than focus on the expert storytelling for which Disney had become known during the renaissance, this film was more about playing catch-up to the other animation studios that had burst on the scene in the 1990s — notably Dreamworks and Pixar. There was a lot going on in this film that was clearly about imitating the primary competition, and it proved to be very distracting. Lucky Jack, the rabbit, drew similarities from Ice Age’s Scrat; the slapstick comedy of the farm took a page out of Warner Brothers’ famous Saturday morning cartoons; and the antics of the pigs and goat bore an amazing resemblance to Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes. In this case, though, the story was weak and the opening setup was just plain dull, even confusing. The film never came close to rivalling the films coming out of both Dreamworks and especially Pixar at this time. Disney was being left behind in a bad way.