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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.23%
Worth A Look36.92%
Just Average: 6.15%
Pretty Crappy: 9.23%
Sucks: 18.46%

4 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
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by Cochise

"This is an inspiring movie to watch."
4 stars

This is a brilliant animated story about a horse in the Old West who wonít quit and the Native American who lives him.

The animation in this film is breathtaking. From the opening scene where the eagle takes us on a tour of the American West to the beautiful animation in the final shot, you know you are seeing something special.

The combination of 2D and 3D was beautiful to watch. (Especially the 180 degree shot at the end of the movie.) The water scenes were also beautifully done, and, for the most part, extremely realistic.

The drawings of the horses were excellent. They were somewhat anthropomorphic (the horses had eyebrows), but this didnít bother me as the animators were able to get a wealth of meaning into the horseís expressions. This made the animalsí thoughts easy to understand, even though they didnít talk. (Thank goodness they didnít. Who wants to see a whole bunch of Mr. Eds in an animated feature?)

One particular bit of character animation which really impressed me was the trouble taken to age the eyes of Spiritís mother.

The animation looked fantastic due to the wonderful backgrounds. They look like famous paintings of western landscapes rendered by well-known western artists of the early 20th century.

This film was not heavy on character development, but there were three characters who did change. Spirit fought back admirably in the beginning, but hit a low point on the train. He then had a vision and his fighting determination came back.

The officer in pursuit of Spirit came to respect Spirit for that animalís determination Ė this was evident when the officer stopped the soldier from shooting Spirit.

The Native American came to respect Spiritís wild nature and let the horse (and the mare Spirit had fallen in love with) return to the wild. Letting the mare go as well showed the Native Americanís magnanimous nature, a characteristic of his personality which was not as strong in the beginning of the story as it was in the end.

There were some mistakes in the plot that pulled me out of the movie.

The first one was the horse handling. After the men roped Spirit and he finished struggling, they were able to lead him away to the fort. However, horses need to be trained to lead. If you put a rope on an unbroken horse and try to make him follow you without any training, he wonít follow, but will fight against the rope even if it kills him. He will kick and rear and throw himself around going totally crazy.

The second mistake was the partial breaking of Spirit. This was too fast to be realistic.

The third mistake was the Indian trying to ride spirit. The man just threw the blanket on the horse. With almost any unbroken horse, you have to slowly introduce him to the blanket. Touch him with a small bit of the blanket at a time until he gets used to the whole thing. However, I will give the director credit for being accurate in the section where the Native American tried to get Spirit used to a rider. The Indian first put his hands on the horse, then stopped, then leaned on him, then stopped, then put a bit of weight on him, then stopped, then put a bit more weight, then stopped, etc. (Continuing with this method will allow a horse to gradually become accustomed to more and more weight on his back, until the rider is fully mounted. If the director could be correct here, I do not understand why he could not be correct with the other sections of the horse training.)

I think the film needed a horse whisperer for a technical adviser. I feel such a person could have made the horseís and the menís behaviour more realistic without sacrificing the quality of the story.

The fourth mistake was the hauling of the locomotive over the hill. I saw no sign of a braking system for use when the locomotive started down the other side of the hill. It appeared that, if the locomotive had started going down the hill in the direction the men wanted, it would have crushed the horses, and no one would have been able to control its descent.

The fifth mistake that bothered me was the fight with the mountain lion. The lion scratched Spirit, but there was no blood. Ė A bit more realism would not have hurt.

The sixth mistake was the scene where the Native American stroked his mareís wet mane. It looked like he was touching a smooth surface because no individual clumps of hair moved.

Another important note: One should not come away from the film assuming that white men were terrible rough horse breakers and the Indians were gentle. Some Indians used rough methods. For example one man would rope the horse and hold him while another man would get on and ride the horse until the animal stopped bucking.

Regardless of all the problems I found with the move I still loved it. I mean, hey, it is a movie, and artistic license should be allowed.

The soundtrack in the film is excellent, especially when the locomotive came crashing down the hill. On a surround sound system all speakers are used to maximum effect.

The DVD version of this film comes with some excellent extras and a commentary worth watching.

Spirit was one of the best animated features Iíve ever seen. It was so good that I became almost totally absorbed in the action, even though the other half of my mind was analysing the film.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5916&reviewer=228
originally posted: 07/28/03 10:25:44
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User Comments

10/18/15 WALTER The best animated film since The Lion King. 5 stars
8/03/12 Brittany Davis This animated movie lands squarely in the "strictly for kids" animated film 2 stars
11/18/07 Tiffany Losco I loved it. Great 5 stars
2/16/07 Tomara Cook I love it soo soo much it rocks 5 stars
12/16/06 David Cohen Dull and overly enamored with its own pretennsions 2 stars
3/11/06 Shaun Wallner Good Movie 3 stars
6/06/05 Kieran One of the greatest movies ever made. Bryan Adams soundtrack was special. Spirit rules. 5 stars
11/23/04 Ashley I love it 5 stars
9/21/04 Helen Bradley Brilliant 5 stars
8/13/04 N.P.D. Technically good. But has a lack of character and plot is cliched. Only for kids (girls). 2 stars
7/14/04 amit show animation 5 stars
6/21/04 horse crazed gurl if they wanted the movie to be more real they wouldn't have spirit lap up water like a dog 4 stars
5/31/04 Sean Scanlan Well 3 stars
5/14/04 derfroy best animatiom ever, gripping story with music to tell the tail of a horse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/24/04 Carla cartoons arent always boring and kid-y, this was good 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 i dont really like cartoons but was pleasantly surprised 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Good 4 stars
2/08/04 kay kay i tough it was the best 5 stars
1/19/04 Crystal One of the BEST movies 5 stars
1/15/04 Sana it was a really great movie with a great moral that some ppl are too shallow to see. 5 stars
12/22/03 Chris It was terrfic to see a film define the genre but it got boring after a while. 3 stars
11/23/03 Sihuhe Everybody who don't like this film is stupid. This film is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/29/03 Briana Dunne I totally am in LOVE with this movie, every horse lover needs to see it! It's awsome! 5 stars
8/29/03 Kristin C. this movie rocks. im 13 and love it. it makes me feel spirited, and it's soudtrack rocks 5 stars
7/29/03 Jon Lyrik Annoyingly PC, overused 3D animation, terrible music, flatly written, dull. 2 stars
7/07/03 Alice Very nice. 4 stars
6/05/03 Gray not ONE of the soldiers was an ok guy?!! BS! 1 stars
4/18/03 Ubu the Ripper Even my kids hated this mindless excuse to squander talent. 1 stars
10/13/02 Katharina Merkel Spirit is a great movie which is touching and funny at one time! You'll love it!!! :) 5 stars
9/26/02 Charlotte McSweeney Spirit is fantastic 5 stars
9/07/02 Carla Metzger So squeakily politically correct, even horse-lovers should revolt! 1 stars
9/06/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite So politically correct that title character has to fart out wrong end; 1 stars
8/15/02 Gary Woodhouse Kids loved it, nice mix of animation & CGI. You get involved with characters, I even cried! 4 stars
7/08/02 orpy naaaaayyyyyy, whiiinnnnyyyyy 3 stars
6/24/02 Black Beauty Drivel - Bryan Adams is Elton John 1 stars
6/14/02 spaceworm I dunno, that soaring eagle looked like a comic sidekick to me... 4 stars
5/27/02 devon White I agree with Vidmar for once. Enough is enough 1 stars
5/26/02 Alex Furrow beautiful animation with bland songs and a boring, uninspired and predictable story. 2 stars
5/24/02 J I'm suprisingly going with Bob Atkins on this one. 5 stars
5/23/02 Bob Atkins beautiful American grandeur 5 stars
5/22/02 Veronica Foxx I detest those fourlegged creations of Satan. All that naying & shit got f'n annoying fast 2 stars
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Directed by
  Kelly Asbury

Written by
  John Fusco

  Matt Damon
  Bryan Adams
  James Cromwell
  Daniel Studi

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