Monday, May 31, 2004

Spirit – Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)


by Nicholas Stix

Spirit claims to tell its story from the horse's ("Spirit's") point of view. Instead,
it tells a story from an all-too-familiar, all-too-human perspective: That of a cross between radical multiculturalism and animal rights fanaticism. And so, we have morally superior horses, and evil humans who seek to break the horses' spirits. But not all humans are evil: The Indian is one with nature, loves horses, and frolics with Spirit, as if he too were a horse. It is the Evil White Male, who hates horses, imprisons them, and is a danger to nature. (And yet, Spirit's voice is done by Evil White Male, Matt Damon!) The movie makers' desire to impugn white men (or their flat-out ignorance) goes so far as to depict a cowboy roping Spirit's leg. Wranglers don't try to rope a horse's leg. If a wrangler even COULD rope a horse's leg without the rope slipping to the ground, it would break the horse's leg, requiring that the horse be shot.

And the animation is as one-dimensional as the storytelling. Look at the water, when Spirit is in the river. Blank. Compare that to the water in Walt Disney's 1940 Pinocchio; it's full of reflected images. Note too the crude animation when the horses are running together. This ain't Pixar. This is just racist, propagandistic dreck, that didn't fool my three-year-old for a second! Whereas, he wanted to see Pinocchio again and again, he never asked to see this a second time. In the days of the original Pinocchio, many children's movies were characterized by intelligence, moral weight, and yes, spirit. Today, we get this.

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