From Arelor@VERT/PALANT to All on Saturday, June 05, 2021 05:12:44
Hello once again, movie lovers!
I am here to talk you about Spirit, an animation film which tells the story of a wild horse who was fool enough to be dragged into the human's world, and the adventures he had to go through to regain his freedom.
I remember that, when this movie was released, critics shunned it because it was antiamerican. Mind you, this was 19 years ago, in a day and age in which
a film that was politically loaded was to be rejected rather than celebrated. After having watched Spirit multiple times, I want to assure you that this one is as apolitical as it gets.
With that out of the way, let's see what this movie has to offer.
At its core, Spirit is an Animation Western. Sure, it is told from the point of view of a wild mustang, but it has the main hallmarks of a Western. It has the US calvary fighting indians, the advance of the railroad through the wild
lands and, most important, the relentless conquest of the West by civilitation. At that, it is probably the last Western movie I know off that I could consider an actual piece of art.
The animation is quite good for this one. The film features actually hand drafted animation with some computer aids, as opposed to the recent trend of CGI-only animated films. They did a great job with the horses' expressions and body language. Although the CGI aids stick out a bit at times, overall the work is quite solid.
This ties with one of the big wins this film scores, and it is that horses don't talk. If you were expecting anthropomophized animals in this movie, you are going to be disappointed. The horse communicate with each other via body language and "horse noises," which is exactly the reason why animation was so important. Matt Damon gives voice to Spirit's thoughts and ideas, so the audience gets to know what is in his mind, but for the most part you could turn Matt's voice down and undertsand what is going on with no issue.
Music is top quality, at least in the original version. Hans Zimmer and Bryan Adams team up to ensure the drama hits home. It loses quite a bit in the Spanish version, since Adams is replaced by a Spanish singer who does ok, but does not maintain the same level. Suffices to say I bought the CD with the official soundtrack.
Character development is quite ok for a short kids movie. Spirit is the sort of hero I miss from films of old: adventurous, corageful and resolutive, but reckless enough to get himself into trouble. The main antagonist is an US Army officer who is bent in taming the Wild West. While you can immediately tell that he is relentless, tough and definetively not nice, he lacks the actual evilness to be considered an actual villian - as it turns out, he has a sense of honor. The Lakotas play a bit of an ambivalent role in the film, in that they treat horses much more nicely than the US Army, yet it is made clear that, from Spirits' point of view, being in the hands of the Lakota is still worse than being truly free. The thing that makes imprisonment in Lakota's camp bearable is Rain, Spirit's love interest, who can only be described as an equine action heroine.
I find it commendable that Dreamworks managed to take so simple a premise - wild horse is captured by humans and must regain his freedom - and turn it into such a great, memorable drama. This is one of the oonly three movies that has ever gotten me to cry.
I know you are disappointed because you were expecting a bad movie review. I am deeply sorry, but sometimes, one has to make sacrifices and watch a good movie every now and then. I certainly think this movie should be included in one of those Top 10 films of all times lists.
Bonus points because it was made by Dreamworks, a company created out of spite against Disney. Disney, watch and learn!