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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Starring: Matt Damon, James Cromwell
Director: Kelly Asbury
Rated: G
RunTime: 78 Minutes
Release Date: May 2002
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Daniel Studi, Bryan Adams

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is a pioneer of unconventional, contemporary animation, combining 2D (traditional hand-drawn artistry) with computer technology and coming up with a seamless hybrid that frees the camera to capture complex action along with intimate close-ups.

"Spirit" is a tale of freedom in the Old West - from a horse's point of view. Since horses can't talk, Spirit's thoughts are either expressed through animation or narrated by Matt Damon, punctuated by Bryan Adams' songs. A playful and curious mustang colt, Spirit is part of a Cimarron herd in a wild, uncharted territory that's filled with magnificent canyons and vistas. He runs free, racing with an eagle, until, one night, he spies a campfire in the distance. When he goes to investigate, he's captured by scouts for the U.S. Cavalry. But not even the cruel Colonel (James Cromwell) can break the indomitable stallion into submission. Defiantly, Spirit escapes from the fort with Little Creek (Daniel Studi), a young Lakota brave. In Little Creek's camp, he becomes enamored with a paint mare named Rain. But, once again, the Cavalry interferes. Rain is gravely injured and Spirit is sent to a railroad work camp, where - in an action-packed sequence - he deliberately causes a locomotive to crash down a steep incline, erupting into an explosion that ignites a forest fire. Directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook keep the tumultuous action flowing, beginning with Spirit's first scary encounter with a hungry wildcat. John Fusco's script is banal, if politically correct, with no barbed humor to amuse adults in the audience. Nevertheless, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" ropes you in with a creatively innovative 7, answering the question: What's good for youngsters to see this weekend?

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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