Universal Studios and Dreamworks Animation released their new feature, Spirit: Untamed this past weekend. It offered a great option for those with smaller children to return to the movies and not see one of the three horror films that are out. Even Disney's Cruella dabbles in the dark side of things and this is the perfect alternative.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean this movie is very good. I will, however, admit that my five and three year olds loved the movie, but this was also their first time back in a theater in a long time, so the experience of going maybe a factor. So I'll give two scores, one for kids and one for adults.
Now the wild horse named "Spirit" has been around for a while and has its own franchise since the first movie came out in 2002. The animators actually used a real horse to model for the character, and the real "Spirit" now resides in the Return to Freedom horse sanctuary located here on the Central Coast. You can read all about his journey to the Santa Ynez Valley here. But this story goes away from that.
This movie is about a young girl whose mother dies tragically riding horses in a show. In his grief, the father sends the young girl off to live with her grandfather and aunt for the next ten years only to have them come back when the girl becomes a liability for the grandfather's gubernatorial campaign and then she is sent back out to her father in the frontier. Yep, that's the opening of the movie. Then the typical tropes begin to set in and things are predictable to the letter. The film is nicely animated and has some nice shots to look at, but it couldn't help the writing... even for a kids movie.
For my score, I'll give this a 2/5 stars and was very "ho-hum" for me. My kids really liked it and would probably give it a 3.5/5 stars for them. As a parent, it is not all bad to be back in a theater and in the air conditioning during the summer. Just don't pay more than matinee prices for it. Or just wait... it's bound to be streaming soon.