Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron Movie Review

Man, are we mean to horses. At least, that's what I got out of DreamWorks' Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron, an old west campfire tale told from the perspective of a wild horse that paints an unflattering portrait of American pioneers, using traditional animated techniques.

The horse in question we come to know as Spirit, leader of the Cimmaron herd and a victim of his own curiosity. An unnecessary trip down to a cowboy campground earns Spirit a pair of lassos around his neck for his troubles, and the rough riders turn the reluctant buck over to the Army for labor.

The Army's immediate reaction is to starve, dehydrate, and mentally deconstruct the horse. They must've mistaken him for a cadet. Apparently the cavalry's leader (voice of James Cromwell) has but one play in his guidebook, for he also orders that a captured Indian be tied to a post with Spirit and detained with no food or water for three days. Bad idea. These two caged rats join forces and escape, galloping across the prairie with the cavalry troops eating their dust.

It's Spirit's co-captor, Little Creek (voice of Daniel Studi), who recognizes the free spirit yearning to break free in this stubborn animal. Bestowing the name Spirit on his new friend, Creek teaches the stallion the value of compromise and the strength of love. Not with a man, but with another horse. Bestiality is merely hinted at here, but never broached.

Too bad Spirit's journey couldn't wrap up with these tidy morals. Instead, government laborers continue to pillage our natural resources in order to build the transcontinental railroad, and the cavalry finally catches up with the two fugitives. The troops plow through Little Creek's village and leave Spirit's new girl for dead, which means it's payback time, Schwarzenegger style. If you think I'm joking, watch Spirit dodge a fireball, disarm a platoon of soldiers and outrun a toppling locomotive. Ah-nold wishes he could move that quickly.

Prior to this nonsense, Spirit weaves an emotional tale. Directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook utilize a lyrical style of storytelling, employing music and sparse narration by Matt Damon to drive the plot. Damon's quips often reiterate what the visuals already show, but it's still a welcome plot device over a smart-ass crab or a singing cricket. I just wish Spirit listened to cooler music than retro-sounding Bryan Adams.

Spirit just doesn't know when to call it quits and ride off into the sunset. The film traps its hero in a repetitive cycle of playing either the great emancipator or the amazing escape artist, constantly breaking free of traps and pausing only to set other shackled horses free. Let's just hope DreamWorks stops horsing around with sappy family fare of this nature and ponies up that promised Shrek sequel before we all saddle up to another, more enjoyable franchise.

Spirit's DVD features quite a few horsey extras, from a "how to draw Spirit" tutorial to various kiddie fun features (click "DWK").

Awfully horsy.

Cast & Crew


Comments

notneps's picture

notneps

you are an asshole. the soundtrack was beautiful! the main reason i remembered the movie was because of the soundtrack!

6 years 5 months ago
Report
View Comments

Lemmy00's picture

Lemmy00

"Bestiality is merely hinted at here.."WTF? Because the boy loves his horse? I've watched this movie literally dozens of times with my kids, and bought the soundtrack too, which is fantastic. You are indeed an asshole.

6 years 1 month ago
Report
View Comments

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron Rating

" Grim "

Rating: G, 2002

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations