Horse lovers young and old will celebrate this utterly enjoyable and marvelous-looking animated film. The titular stallion runs free in the Cimarron (New Mexico) wilderness until a series of men try to master the proud horse, leading to adventures through a U.S. Cavalry fort, Native American settlements, and a railroad camp. Despite a heavy dose of political correctness and realism (the animals don't talk; we only hear Spirit's internal monologue, voiced by Matt Damon), directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook give their hero many only-in-a-movie moments, including an action sequence rivaling any of Rambo's escapes. The stirring mix of 2-D and 3-D animation is absolutely stunning and aptly fueled by composer Hans Zimmer's synthesized score. The film earns one demerit for '80s rocker Bryan Adams's abundant songs--a different singer could have brought more to the film. Rated G but there is some rough treatment of horses shown, so nix the sensitive preschoolers. --Doug Thomas
The story that I want to tell you cannot be found in a book. They say that the history of the west was written from the saddle of a horse, but it's never been told from the heart of one. Not till now. I was born here, in this place that would come to be called the Old West. But, to my kind, the land was ageless. It had no beginning and no end, no boundary between earth and sky. Like the wind and the buffalo, we belonged here, we would always belong here. They say the mustang is the spirit of the West. Whether that west was won or lost in the end, you'll have to decide for yourself, but the story I want to tell you is true. I was there and I remember. I remember the sun, the sky, and the wind calling my name in a time when we ran free. I'll never forget the sound and the feeling of running together. The hoof beats were many, but our hearts were one."
There are those in Washington who believe the West will never be settled, the Northern Pacific Railroad will never breach Nebraska, a hostile Lakota will never submit to providence. And it is that kind of small-minded thinking that say this horse will never be tamed. Discipline, time, and patience are the three great levelers.
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