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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

A movie directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook

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Only for the very young

  • Sep 20, 2003
  • by
Most modern animation understands that the audience consists of a range, from the four-year-old to the forty. Unfortunately, Spirit doesn't. While the animation is professional, the plot and especially the music is excrutiatingly contrived and summarily uninspired. As soon as I heard the voiceover by Matt Damon, with its portrayal of an idyllic (and unrealistic) West, I knew we were in trouble, but it was the raspy singing of Brian Adams accompanying the playful antics of the young Spirit that moved this film from the category of being not just a bad idea, but simply bad.

Perhaps a young child might be enthralled by this movie, able to ignore the inane lyrics and the predictable story. The animators did their anatomical and behavioral research, and the horses actually act like their live counterparts, for the most part. They rely a little too much on the eyes (portrayed slightly enlarged and with much more white around the eye, which is simply wrong) and the mouth (seeing the colt smile grated on me as much as Adams' voice), rather than trusting the body language. And, sure, they don't have the animals speak, but there's that narration that undercuts the whole point of not ascribing human communication to the horses.

We had successfully avoided this at the theater, but Jill received it as a gift and we thought, "well, how bad can it be?" It's that bad. Go get Shrek, or The Prince of Egypt, by the same studio instead of this stinker.

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More Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarr... reviews
review by . March 22, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
If you really love horses, "Spirit" is a fair movie to watch. However, I like horses and couldn't sit through this agonizing movie. Neither could my two year old. It's boring, uneventful and the animation is no better than any other Dreamworks flick out as of right now. The characters aren't likeable and there are very few fun moments in the movie. I will have to say that the attempts at breaking "Spirit" were funny, but that's about where it ends.  The story moves at an agonizing pace. …
About the reviewer
Glen Engel-Cox ()
Ranked #321
Glen is a forty-something communications professional living near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He grew up in Texas and has also lived inLos Angeles, Colorado, Washington State, and Washington, DC. Glen also … more
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Horse lovers young and old will celebrate this utterly enjoyable and marvelous-looking animated film. The titular stallion runs free in the Cimarron (New Mexico) wilderness until a series of men try to master the proud horse, leading to adventures through a U.S. Cavalry fort, Native American settlements, and a railroad camp. Despite a heavy dose of political correctness and realism (the animals don't talk; we only hear Spirit's internal monologue, voiced by Matt Damon), directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook give their hero many only-in-a-movie moments, including an action sequence rivaling any of Rambo's escapes. The stirring mix of 2-D and 3-D animation is absolutely stunning and aptly fueled by composer Hans Zimmer's synthesized score. The film earns one demerit for '80s rocker Bryan Adams's abundant songs--a different singer could have brought more to the film. Rated G but there is some rough treatment of horses shown, so nix the sensitive preschoolers.--Doug Thomas
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