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*** Official "SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON" Discussion Thread (1 Viewer)

Michael Martin

Screenwriter
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Nov 26, 2000
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1,129
Caught this newest animated offering from Dreamworks on Saturday at an advanced screening. Took my horse-obssessed six year old (girl) and my not-so-horse-obssessed 4 year old, who would have been upset if left at home.

First, the negative: a bit too much anthropomorphizing for me. The horses smiled, rolled their eyes, and generally acted a bit too "human," especially since there was a great deal of interaction WITH humans in the movie. Matt Damon's voiceover work was not annoying, just unnecessary, though it probably helped some of the kids follow along. Probably the worst aspect was the nearly non-stop barrage of Bryan Adams songs...once again, kids will probably like them as they fit nicely with the story, but adults will more than likely be gritting their teeth as ole Bryan starts belting it out for the 4th, 5th, etc, time.

The positive: Animation is very well done. Dreamworks has done a very good job mixing digital animation with hand-drawn cell animation. Some of the skies, and especially the water of a turbulent river, were simply amazing. Horses are drawn very realistically (except for being able to smile and the way they move their eyes) -- not highly stylized or exaggerated. What really impressed me is the two humans we see close-ups of -- the Lieutenant and Little Creek -- both had very individual faces and expressions. It felt like you were watching ACTORS, not drawings. The cavalry officer's looks were obviously modeled on Custer's, though he looked meaner than any portrayal of Custer I've seen.

The film also features one of the best animated fiery explosions I've ever seen....extremely well done.

As a nice counterpoint to Bryan Adams' wailing, the Hans Zimmer score was fantastic...when you could hear it. I really wish Dreamworks had cut BA's involvement either entirely or just down to 1 or 2 songs. What I heard of the score really fit the majestic animation and landscapes, and would have been much more fitting to the time period and story.

And for what it is worth...my 6 year old loved it, and wants to see it again. My 4 year old had her face buried against me for much of the movie. Spirit is captured by the cavalry, and as part of the breaking process, is tied to a post for 3 days without food or water. My 4 year old was VERY upset at Spirit having ropes around his neck and being treated badly by the soldiers. The G-rating was not really pushed, but just know your kids. My 4 year old is very sensitive and easily upset by and cruelty or sad plot turns.
 

Lance Nichols

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 29, 1998
Messages
726
My wife saw a trailer for it, commented that it might be good, guess I may have to take it in. As my wife said, better a story about "Spirit the Stallion then George the Gelding." She had to wait until I was drinking Pepsi for that line....

The other Dreamkworks Animated titles have been very good. In fact, the Mouse should be looking over it's shoulders.
 

cafink

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Joined
Apr 19, 1999
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Real Name
Carl Fink
I caught a sneak preview of "Spirit" this morning. I knew next to nothing about it going in, and came out really impressed!

I think that the mere fact that someone was willing to make a movie about horses where they don't speak English is amazing in and of itself. Beyond that, the story was engrossing. It was really moving and funny in all the right places. Hans Zimmer's score was beautiful, and I actually quite enjoyed most of Bryan Adams' songs.

All in all, there's not much to complain about in "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." I think some of the narration probably should've been dropped, but that might've made the story a bit harder to follow for the younger crowd. A minor quibble at worst.

I highly recommend "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" for audiences of all ages.
 

Martin Fontaine

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 15, 2001
Messages
626
First trailer I saw had a Michelle Branch song in it, just that would have guaranteed a viewing for me (I like female singers) But now you tell me they replaced her with Bryan Adams, then if there are 2 movies I want to see next week, then I'll pass! I don't like male singers so Bryan Adams is not really my kind. Brandy does a better job on Everything I do that the Male To Female effect on my sound card :laugh:
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
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This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
All HTF member film reviews of "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" should be posted to this thread.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Crawdaddy
 

Brian W. Ralston

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 4, 1999
Messages
605
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Los Angeles, CA
Real Name
Brian W. Ralston
As far as I know, Michelle Branch was never involved in the music aspect of the actual movie. I was at a special screening last night for members of the Society of Composers & Lyricysts in Hollywood for SPIRIT. Hans Zimmer was in attendence and spoke before and after the presentation. Originally, Paul Simon wrote a whole bunch of songs for the film. Ultimately they did not work. Then they brought in Don Henley. Those songs did not work out with the feel of the movie (So I guess Henley & Simon have a lot of new material now for new albums).

They were then going to ditch the song idea and have all score. Then somehow Bryan Adams was approached for some reason (I forget).

Bryan Adams was brought on and they felt his voice was right for the picture. He took one of Zimmers themes and created a song out of it in one day without being asked. They liked it a lot and it worked with picture. The song idea was back in the film and the rest is history.

Zimmer basically wrote 3 scores for the film. One all guitar based (which he said didn't work at all because the guitar is too human of an instrument). The there was a score that was all electronic. That didn't work either. So the end product was a mix of live orchestral and electronic (with a little guitar thrown back in in a different way than before).

Zimmer was on the project from the beginning which totaled about 5 years working on this one picture.
 

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