Though advanced in graphic design,
Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron uses traditional,
two-dimensional animation, which isnít used as frequently as it used
to be. The backdrops are quite advanced, and have a nice look to
them, but the rest of the film appears to be old-fashioned. This
isnít bad, just unusual that such a big studio wouldnít take
advantage of modern techniques. Spirit might not be the
best animated feature that has come out this year, but itís a
gorgeous looking film for horse lovers of any age, and children of
The plot is basically
about a wild western horse, that is taken captive by many people,
though he wishes to be free. When it is captured by an organization
of horse tamers, who take in wild horses and train them, it tries to
take revenge on them. As they try to train it, they are continuously
bucked off of its back, and stomped on by its sharp, wild hooves.
After the horse escapes from these people, a Navajo man takes it in.
He treats it a bit better, but not much. The Navajo man allows it to
socialize with another horse, and the two fall in love.
The narration, by Matt
Damon, is similar to that of Sean Penn in Dogtown and
Z-Boys. It is very straight-forward, and in a strong tone. This
fits Dogtown and Z-Boys much better than
Spirit, because animated films need a little more energy than
documentaries. Damon has his moments, but is also repulsive at
times. This does not mean he is bad at it, but rather unsuited for
the genre. This doesnít make a huge impact on the film, since it
takes up such a small portion, but does affect it.
One thing that I
admired in the animation is that they didnít need to make the horses
talk. We see the interaction, and know what each of the animals is
thinking without voice. This is made possible by the detailed
looking drawings and well written narrative dialogue. This is one of
the things that made Disneyís Dinosaur go wrong. Itís
okay for dinosaurs to talk when itís in Land Before Time,
but in a realistic feature, its simply unnecessary and unrealistic.
I guess I can make the same comparison between Spirit
and My Little Ponies.
The variance between
the choices in backgrounds and the choices in foregrounds can be
called ironic. There are beautiful, realistic looking backdrops that
are colorful and visually stunning, but the horses and humans look
textbook. They are interesting, and are exactly what the film
promises, but donít go the extra mile. The structural formulas are
technically correct, but arenít what you would call ďrealĒ looking.
For example: horses donít have whites in their eyes, but in
Spirit they do. This might be used to show more emotional
activity in these creatures, but it looks sloppy and inaccurate to
anyone with knowledge of these animals.
Stallion of the Cimarron is a fairly entertaining experience,
that is worth a viewing, but not a praising. The animation isnít
pure and exact in its appearance, but makes a worthwhile attempt.
Matt Damonís narration isnít the best in the world, but weighs in
above average. The backdrops are beautiful to look at, and are one
of the flicks many qualities. Bottom line: for a nice movie about
horses and the old west that will make you feel good;
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a winner.
-Danny, Bucket Reviews