Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Matt Damon voices the narration in DreamWorks’ new animated film that shows the West before the turn of the 1900s, from a horse’s point of view. As an eagle majestically soars through pristine mountains, over beautiful sparkling rivers, and races with buffalo, Spirit, a beautiful, buckskin-colored colt, is born. As he grows, Spirit becomes the leader of the Cimarron herd, bravely protecting the mares and foals. One day, from a great distance, a new smell catches the stallion’s attention. His curiosity wins out and soon, after a wild chase, Spirit finds ropes around his neck. Led captive to a cavalry fort, he meets Little Creek (voiced by Wes Studi), a young Lakota Indian brave. Little Creek helps Spirit make a daring escape, but they do not enjoy their freedom long. Re-captured, Spirit is taken to a railroad camp where he’s forced to help haul a huge locomotive up a steep grade. But remembering his herd, Spirit once again devises a plan to escape. Balanced with a thought-revealing soundtrack, “Spirit” is a treat for ages 6 and up.
Much of the film is primarily visual, with Spirit’s thoughts indicated by gestures or expressed in the limited narration and beautiful music. But the film also touches on some darker elements of white man’s expansion into the West as the soldiers seem somewhat vicious dealing with Spirit and Little Creek’s people. Young viewers especially may be upset when Spirit’s friend Rain is shot and Little Creek tenderly comforts the wounded animal. The action, as the train engine tumbles through buildings and explodes, endangering Spirit, is extremely intense for younger viewers. “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” is a highly entertaining story set in a historical context, that could spark some excellent dialogue between parents and children.