Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
leader hero legend DreamWorks combines digital and hand-drawn animation beautifully in this sweeping tale of a high-spirited horse in the Old West. If all the soaring nobility had been toned down even by half, this could have been a classic. It's the story of a mustang (voiced in the narration by Damon) at home on the range with his herd, running wild and free until curiosity gets him captured by the Cavalry, where a tough-minded officer (Cromwell) is determined to break him. He escapes with a Lakota brave (Studi), romances his babe-a-licious mare, and has more adventures while never, of course, giving up his independence.

The animation is breathtakingly beautiful, and the story isn't bad at all. But the film is so infused with its own self-importance that it will annoy adults immediately. Hans Zimmer's score is so like his Lion King music that it makes the entire film feel derivative, while Bryan Adams writes and sings a series of painfully bland and obvious pop tunes. And there are also the usual problems of humanising the horses; fortunately they don't talk beyond Spirit's narration, but their facial expressions, neighs and whinnies are almost comical in the way they convey precise dialog. And the horses act like eager puppies blessed with the straight-arrow decency and natural ingenuity of Native Americans. Yes, it's so PC it hurts: Indians good, white man bad. Still, it looks so good that it's worth seeing. Alongside the preposterous set pieces are some amazingly eye-grabbing scenes that push the animated artistry bar still higher.

cert U themes, suspense 26.May.02

dir Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook
scr John Fusco
voices Matt Damon, James Cromwell, Daniel Studi
release US 24.May.02; UK 5.Jul.02
02/US 1h22

Ride like the wind. Rain, Spirit and Little Creek escape from the bad white men...

damon cromwell studi
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
leader hero legend send your review to Shadows... Al Rodriguez, Whittier, California: "I've got to admit, those horses are the best non-verbal communicators I've ever seen. You know, I should have Matt Damon follow me around and describe, in that awful monotone voice, what I'm thinking; or better yet, have Bryan Adams sing one of those awful songs when someone wants to stick me in a corral with no food or water for three days. Let me leave you with what my sister-in-law told me: 'I've seen horses do it and it's not about love.'" (4.Jun.02)

paege, bucks: 5/5 "i think that film was great bryan adams sang those songs greatly and they are good songs any1 that says he is bad you try and sing them that film took a long time to make and i think it was a great film there was a few mistakes but that doesnt matter the film was real enough and spirit looks great and gourgous." (25.Jun.06)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall