Spirit: Stallion Of The... (2002)
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Review Date: May 11, 2002
Director: Kelly Ashbury, Lorna Cook
Writer: John Fusco
Producers: Max Howard, Mireille Soria
Matt Damon as Narrator
James Cromwell as Cavalry Colonel
Daniel Studi as Little Creek
A good looking mustang stallion and leader of his herd, is captured by some nasty humans, who are settling the land in the early 1800s, and tries his best to escape, in order to return to this loved ones. Along his journey, he meets up with a kind-hearted Indian and a nice-looking mare, with whom he ultimately falls in love. Will the horsey save himself, love the mare and return to his freedom in the Old West? Plenty of galloping ensues.
I don't like horses. Never liked them and probably never will. I tell you about my dislike of horses, because perhaps those of you who do like horses (generally women and children) will get a lot more enjoyment out of this movie than I did. All's I saw was a 80-minute flatly animated film, which included a love story between horses no less, almost no plot (capture horse, horse escape, re-capture horse, horse escape, re-capture horse, etc...), many sequences of horses running around or being chased or whipped, and plenty of Bryan Adams tunes set to...well, sequences of horses running around and being chased or whipped. By the way, is it me or would a horse die if he fell off a huge waterfall? What about two horses...would at least one of them die? What about if one of those horses took yet another dive off a huge cliff and into the water? Would he die then? Many questions that I asked myself while watching this extremely generic and Disney-esque picture. I'm not sure what's going on in the animation biz, but it seems as though films are either coming out with original, fast-paced, adult/kids stories a la SHREK or MONSTERS INC, or they're just slapping together some momo characters and having them walk around for an hour and a half with little point to it all, like DINOSAUR or ICE AGE. This film is even worse because it doesn't even feature divergent or interesting characters. It's basically a "day in the life" of this one horse (or a "week in the life", I guess). Dreamworks also seems to have decided to be more authentic to horses, by allowing them to keep their own speaking voices throughout this movie, which is basically...wheezing! (aka neighing or whinnying-- and no subtitles, boys and girls) At first I thought that this was somewhat clever, but after about 38 seconds of it, I realized that it was quickly becoming very annoying (which it remained throughout).

And bad guys, you may ask? Well, if you consider the early settlers of the US of A, you know, the cowboys of the ol' West who built the country as "bad guys" because they tried to built some rail-roads through the horsies' fields (perish the thought), well, then you might be intoxicated by the ho-hum "villains" here. What made them even more uninteresting for me, and seemingly done on purpose, is that every other frontierman appeared to look exactly like the next! The good parts? Some of the action sequences were well-directed, the colors were rich and vibrant, and the chemistry between the Indian dude and the horses was pretty good, but mostly, this movie was plain ol' lame. It didn't help that Matt Damon's voice would boom over the images every now and then, to give us an update on what the horsies were wheezing about. Yawn. But like I said earlier, I don't like horses (and they probably don't like me either-although that's not relevant to this review), so perhaps your love of these animals will allow you to look past the utter generic nature of this project, which doesn't bring anything funny, cool, exciting or original to the forefront. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the film's title is also one of the suckiest that I've heard in some time. SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON--- "oooouuh, how exciting!" More yawns. So if you're a kid or a girl (of which I'm neither, although I do like to dress like a woman on certain weekends), you might get something out of this fluffy fable, otherwise, skip this spirit and use those 80 minutes to catch up on your own spirit instead (i.e. watch TV).
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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