*** Official "SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, May 23, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
  2. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    Reprint of my screening review I posted back in April:

    I just came back from a screening of "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron". I've been interested in this film since I'm a big animation fan and I'd like to see companies other than Disney succeed at it. While I do think Disney makes fine films, I'd like to see more variety in animated films in this country, and Disney has their own market.

    Spirit is about a stallion who grows up to be leader of his herd. Everything is great until he decides to investigate a group of humans. He then gets captured and goes on a journey that has him meeting soldiers and indians and a beautiful horse named Rain.

    First, the good parts. The horses do not talk, which is a nice touch. Most of the gestures are recognizable and there is usually no problem figuring out what is going on. Blanks are filled in with Matt Damon's narration. Pretty easy to follow. The animation, for the most part, is pretty nice. The CG is pretty obvious, but that's almost always true. The actors playing the humans (There were no credits, so I don't know who played what.) are pretty good for the most part, but there isn't much of them.

    The bad parts. Bryan Adams must die. By the end of the film, you will want to strangle him. It isn't that the songs are bad, but there are way too many of them. It is the same problem I had with "Road To El Dorado". I don't know why Dreamworks insists on making their animated films havens for has-been rock stars. It doesn't add anything and often distracts.

    There isn't a lot of variety with where Spirit goes. We keep going between soldiers and indians, like that was all that was in the west. It leaves a rather bland experience.

    Also, we have a horse here that sometimes acts too human for his own good. For example, he sees in the distance that there is a fire. You'd think a stallion would immediatly take his herd out of the area, since usually fire is a bad thing. No, this stallion is curious...

    This film had a lot of promise. Unfortunatly, it is rather bland. The kids might enjoy it, but it is rather wanting for adults.

  3. Dennis

    Dennis Second Unit

    Feb 4, 1999
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    I enjoyed the film. I thought the animation was excellent, I like computer animated films but I think there should always be room for the classic style.
    The story is maybe not what you expect, the trailer makes it seems like it's this grand scale film, while it does have some great scenery, it's actually a tight little film about a horse who's spirit can't be broken, hence his name.

    This wasn't a by-the-numbers movie even though there are some scenes here and there that are out to satisfy the children but for the most part it's pretty straightforward and not as sentimental as the usual kiddie fare. It may not be The Lion King, but it's not too far from it. This film has quite a few nice touches and well worth a trip to the theater with or without kids. I would recommend it to anyone.
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Oct 26, 1998
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    During the first ever Home Theater Forum National Meet in February 2000, one of the activities held back then was a visit to the DreamWorks animation campus (that’s what the studio people called it then) in Burbank. At the time of our visit, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron was in production and we were able to meet one of the principal animators responsible for Spirit’s look. It was a very fascinating and educational tour as we were walked through the process of making animated films and saw the original drawings for Spirit. This summer’s release of the film culminates a waiting period of almost 2 ½ years.
    The opening shots of the film follows an eagle soaring through the banks of the Grand Canyon and features some very fascinating animation. The film is a product of both traditional hand drawn animation and CGI. The result is simply amazing especially during the chase sequences and shots that encircle an entire character or object.
    The story of a wild mustang stallion journeying through the untamed American frontier and encountering man for the very first time is an interesting one and has its moments.
    In lieu of the animals talking, the creators use a voice-over narration of Matt Damon to represent Spirit. Having read an interview of Jeffrey Katzenberg as to this artistic choice, I would have to say that it works. The musical score by Hans Zimmer was nicely done and Bryan Adams provides the songs for the film some of which are used to describe Spirit’s reactions and advance the film’s narrative. While Mr. Adams does a nice job, there were some tender moments in the film that his voice came off sharp and piercing, and another voice doing the singing would have been a better choice.
    If my memory serves me right, Spirit is the second film in 2002 that should qualify for the Best Animated Film Oscar, the first one being Ice Age. (No, let’s not even go to that sequel released by Disney earlier this year, Return To Neverland. That one should have been a direct to video release to begin with.) With this release, DreamWorks aims for a second and a back-to-back shot at the Oscar. Will they do it? We’ll see. The year is still young for animated films.
    Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a worthwhile addition to the animated film world and shows DreamWorks continued commitment to this genre. It is a significant improvement both in story and in animation to their last traditional animated film, The Road To El Dorado. Spirit rates [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four).

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