Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
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As a wild stallion travels across the frontiers of the Old West, he befriends a young human and finds true love with a mare.

Title:Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Release Date:May 24, 2002
MPAA Rating:G
Genres:Western, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Production Co.:DreamWorks Animation
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook, Mick De Falco, Harald Kraut, Michael Isaak, Seth Engstrom
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:human being, freedom, mustang, rivalry, wildlife, animation, cavalry, indian war, eyebrow, wild horse
Alternative Titles:
  • Spirit - O Corcel Indomável - [BR]
  • Spirit L'étalon des plaines - [FR]
  • Spirit - Hästen från vildmarken - [SE]
  • Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron - [US]
  • Spirit: De Hengst van het Woeste Westen - [NL]
  • Spirit, el corcel indomable - [ES]
  • Spirit - Hingsten fra Cimarron - [NO]
  • Szilaj a vad völgy paripája - [HU]
  • Simarono žirgas - [LT]
  • スピリット - [JP]
  • Spirit - Hengst van het woeste Westen - [BE]

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Reviews

  • We need more films like this
    by Joe Virgilio on 25 January 2003

    85 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

    In a time when Hollywood is making money by showing our weaknesses, despair, crime, drugs, and war, along comes this film which reminds us the concept of the "Indomitable Spirit". If you are feeling beaten down, this movie will free your mind and set you soaring. We all know how tough life can be, sometime we need to be reminded that persistence and courage will get us through. That's what this film did for me and I hope it will for you.

  • One of the best animated features not to have the Disney name on it
    by Thomas Riordan on 18 July 2004

    85 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

    Looking for a movie with cutesy talking horses that the kiddies will love? Then Spirit is probably not the movie for you, it is instead one of the nicest animated features to come along in a long time to not have Disney written all over it. No, the horses do not talk and they shouldn't as the whole story is told from a horse's point of voice in a wonderful narrative. In fact there's not a lot of pointless dialog to weigh down the movie at all.

    Instead it's filled by a wonderful score by Hans Zimmer and songs by Bryan Adams who admittedly I wasn't a big fan off except for (Everything I Do (I Do It For You) and Star) but the songs he did for this movie especially Here I Am, Get Off Of My Back, Can't Take Me, Brothers Under The Sun and Sound The Bugle made me download the soundtrack from Walmart.com the next day.

    The main reasons I liked this move would have to be the beautiful drawn animation, mixed with an endearing story with some comedy elements and a wonderful soundtrack. Spirit is simply fun and enjoyable for the whole family no matter what their age.

  • An animated movie that is to be commended. One that is up there with the best.
    by Shokalion on 28 August 2003

    73 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

    Spirit is a unique and original look at western life from the point of view of a wild horse, and native Americans. The film focuses on the friendships and perils that a wild horse, Spirit, encounters during his life.

    Very well done in the presentation, using the technology available today to deliver stunning visuals that are breathtaking in their depth and realism.

    The music is fantastic, with songs by Bryan Adams, and music by Hans Zimmer, who also was responsible for the extremely popular music from the 1994 Disney hit, The Lion King.

    The story is not very deep but the fact that it isn't quite as in-depth as some movies doesn't in my opinion detract from the film as a whole.

    An excellent film which I enjoyed immensely, and that is suitable for all the family. Not one to be missed. (10/10)

  • Awesome the kids love it
    by sliver668 on 29 December 2002

    51 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

    I have probably seen this movie over fifty times by now because of the kids they just cant get enough of Spirit. The best thing about the movie I think is that the animals isn't able to talk, this makes the whole movie more honest and makes a better impression on both kids and the adults so 10/10 from the kids and me

  • The first great western of the 21st century!
    by Brian Camp on 18 May 2002

    46 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

    SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON, the new animated feature from Dreamworks, is an honest-to-God western. Some of you may be forgiven for thinking it was just a horse movie, a distinct and definable genre in its own right (e.g. MY FRIEND FLICKA), but I assure you this is a real, bonafide western, complete with cavalry, Indians, Monument Valley and the building of the transcontinental railroad. It's a familiar saga (to western fans) but told here from the point-of-view of a wild horse. It just may be the only western that children in today's audience will get to see on the big screen. (And it's perfectly suitable for even the smallest children.)

    The movie has three selling points for people who are appalled at how childish and inane animated features in the U.S. have been over the last decade or so:

    1) It's got a serious story. 2) The horses don't talk. 3) The horses don't sing.

    The latter two functions are served by Spirit's first-person narration, voiced by Matt Damon and told in the past tense as a reminiscence, and several songs on the soundtrack written and performed by Bryan Adams. Neither of these elements were particularly necessary and the movie would have been better without them, although they aren't fatal. Hans Zimmer's excellent music score does a far more effective job in conveying, in dramatic and emotional terms, what the songs belabor. But, thankfully, aside from Damon, there are no other celebrity voices.

    The other big selling point is the artwork. The background art and western landscapes are stunning and offer a mix of painted scenes and computer-created scenery, although everything seems computer enhanced in one way or another. Most importantly, the film gives us a chance to savor the backgrounds. The characters don't zip around in constant frenetic motion the way they do in Disney movies. Although there are several chase scenes, the characters are just as likely to pause and connect with each other in movements reflecting naturalistic behavior. There are moments of gentleness, tenderness, curiosity, and discovery, so we get to see the space the characters are in and get to connect with it ourselves. There's a real palpable sense of environment and geography, of time and place, something rarely found in American animated features.

    The character design is also well-done. The human characters all have solid, expressive, recognizable faces, strongly differentiated from each other. The horses are well designed also, looking like horses, but anthropomorphised enough to give them recognizable emotional responses. No character, human or animal, is exaggerated for cartoon effect.

    I normally have problems with digital animation and computer created imagery and SPIRIT is, for the most part, computer created, although it replicates the look of traditional 2-D animation. Still, if this is the wave of the future, then SPIRIT shows us how it should be done. This is digital animation at the best I've ever seen it (including the Japanese anime features I've seen in the last few years). And combined with a good story and clean concept that doesn't patronize its audience, it's created what I think is the finest American animated feature since BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991). If there is any significant flaw in SPIRIT, aside from the songs, it's that the story falls short of greatness, undercut by the lack of a sufficiently emotional payoff. Still, it's a better story than any I've seen in an American animated production since at least THE LION KING. Some viewers may quibble about the politically correct aspects of the story (cavalry=bad, Indians=good), but there is a moment near the end that balances things out in an intelligent, dramatic way.

    SPIRIT may suffer at the boxoffice because it doesn't have the all-important lowest-common-denominator touches that have so cheapened the animated genre but attracted audiences looking for easy laughs (e.g. celebrity voices doing hyperactive genies, show-tune-singing meerkats and jive-talking jackasses). But it should give a measure of hope to that small, passionate segment of the audience that cares about animation as a medium capable in its own right of great storytelling and cinematic artistry.

  • Important themes
    by Pat Gear (pgear83) on 26 January 2003

    48 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

    I liked this movie a lot. The animation was well done and the romance was cute. I liked most of Bryan Adams' songs and the Hans Zimmer score was excellent. What a lot of people don't realize is how well it relates to the Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now themes (what happens when so-called "civilization" invades someone elses home, what does it mean to be "civilized" etc.). The opening scenery and music were very stirring. The film is a lament to an America that was once beautiful.

  • A fine piece of animation.
    by what3v3r on 31 January 2005

    40 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

    The horse is indeed a fine animal. Picturesque depictions of wild horses and their grace could never have been more majestic in an animation flick.

    The animation is simply stupendous. The fine animation forms the backbone of the beauty that the horses embolden across the flick. More so when the stallion traverses diverse terrain, jumps across cliffs and braves waters.

    Soundtrack too is very impressive. The wonderful instrumental music lures you to appreciate the movie.

    "They say the story of the west was written from the saddle of a horse . " huh? Well ,The story of a fine horse sure was written from the saddle of the west .

    All in all, this movie is clearly up there with the best .It is one of the best animation flicks i have watched. Would be a very fine choice on a lonely night. An easy 9/10.

  • Not bad, not bad at all...
    by Tud0r on 5 July 2004

    42 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

    Well, what can I say, this movie really got to me, it's not so bad, as many say, I really loved it, although the idea seems so simple, and rather boring, it isn't. First of all I enjoyed the soundtrack (Bryan Adams), it really goes with the movie. Second the simple story, and the drama of Spirit gets your attention. One thing I like the most is that they didn't give the stallion a human voice to interact with the other horses, it makes the movie more realistic, not many animations seem realistic now do they ?, but... I don't know, making animals talk is just so... lame.

    One of the most beautiful animations of 2002 in my opinion, I recommend it to everyone, not just the kids :), because it is very relaxing.

  • Full of Heart, a great story.
    by NickSDV on 22 December 2002

    37 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

    If only ALL animation was this great. This film is classic because it is strong is two simple aspects: Story and Character. The characters in this film are beautifully personified. I felt for all of the characters, and human-animal relationship in the movie works perfectly. The beautiful animation and 3-D computer animation hasn't worked better in any other film. This is a great movie for kids, and for adults who want a classic hero's journey. 8 of 10.

  • Excellent fare for younger viewers
    by FilmFlaneur on 2 January 2003

    32 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

    It's said that when Disney first contemplated Dinosaur (2000), the idea was to have the giant lizards play out non-speaking roles and that this was eventually abandoned, principally through a fear of alienating a junior audience. Asbury and Cook's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron reverses that decision, takes the braver choice and leaves the equine main characters mute - though still subject to some restrained first person narration by Matt Damon. `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' he says and, right from the start, it is clear that this will be a Western with a different perspective. Animated Westerns are rare enough (the last one I can easily recall is Fievel Goes West (1991)) and those told from an animal's viewpoint even scarcer. Spirit is refreshing in that it carries off a combination of these two challenges effectively, if inevitably somewhat simplistically.

    The stallion Spirit's indomitable nature is what shapes the narrative, and is his most defining characteristic. His craving for freedom and independence remain uppermost, even when eventually tempered by the relationships eventually established with the mare Rain and the Indian Little Creek. Strictly speaking, one might argue that Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is less of a Western than a nature film, in which pastoral ideals loom more important than the rigours of life at the frontier. As such, it plays more like a cross between the pony paean of Champion the Wonder Horse, and the pantheism of The Indian Fighter, than as a regular film of the genre. The traditional Western often centres around the establishment of civilisation, the drive West, the homestead movement, and so on. The scene in which Spirit wrecks the locomotive, checking the advance of the railroad, is at odds with a genre world view which, typically, has seen the iron way's coming as a tremendous advance.

    Spirit seeks to keep the wilderness pristine, a place apart from the footfall of white men, where foals can be brought up in peace and security. Of course, his halt of railroad expansion can only be a temporary one, but it is good enough in the meantime. It is as well that he acts when and how he does too, for his friends the Indians are blissfully unaware of events, and seem unable to act with similar determination. A far cry from the marauding savages frequently presented by the Western in its heyday, the tribe here are a peaceful people, somewhat enervated by the need to have a strong animal lead and presumably the claims of political correctness. Little Creek is the exception (although still open-mouthed at the stallion's continued rebelliousness at the fort), even if his amazingly timely and successful trudge to find Spirit down the tracks strains belief.

    First time co directors Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook have had some involvement with successful animated projects in the past, such as Prince of Egypt, Toy Story, and Little Mermaid. They've clearly learned from their experience. Hans Zimmer's stirring score (which echoes his triumphant Gladiator music at times) and Byan Adam's throaty warbling helps them along, and the story of Spirit runs like clockwork, displaying none of the cutesy parochialism which mars some of Disney's work. With no horse dialogue to slow matters down, much is conveyed through meaningful neighs and equine expressions, surprisingly effective in communication.

    Some viewers have praised the quality of the animation, and while it is done effectively enough much of the figure drawing has a stripped-down quality which leads to a certain TV blandness (more noticeable in the pan-and-scan video version). The most effective animation occurs during the dramatic destruction of the railroad, but even here there's a suspicion that, had a little more care been spent on light and shade (for instance), the results would have been even more impressive. Least effective of all is the scene on the train, when the despondent Spirit sees his family and friends imagined in falling snowflakes, as the graphic visualisation is disappointingly unsubtle. It's at times like this that the soundtrack proves its worth, carrying the reader over such less effective patches with some emotional charge.

    When all is said and done of course, it's the target audience which matters the most. The two junior ladies in my household have watched Spirit repeatedly since it arrived at Christmas and would give the film a big four thumbs up. No doubt the successful reception of the feature on the big screen may encourage a sequel (the antipathy between Spirit and The Colonel has been left unresolved, for instance) and in my home, at least, the result of Spirit and Rain beginning a family would be eagerly awaited.

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