Film & TV

Film Review: Spirit Untamed

The next chapter in this beloved franchise reaches cinemas in time for the school holidays

All you need is the 3 C’s… Calm, Confidence & CARROTS!!

There was much excitement when my nieces and nephew heard we were going to see Spirit Untamed.  Spirit is one of Ms5’s favourite films but I’m the only one that hasn’t seen the original.  As it turned out, you don’t need to have seen the first one to appreciate this one.

Lucky, real name Fortuna, is a headstrong girl thrown into a new world.  She never knew her mother, as she passed away when she was very young, and she grew up cared for by her Aunt Cora, both living with Lucky’s grandfather.  Lucky’s father sent her to live there due to his grief but also to protect her – as she finds out later on.

The film starts with Lucky causing mayhem right in the middle of her grandfather running for governor, so it is decided that Aunt Cora and Lucky will move back to Miradero with Lucky’s father, Jim.

On the train to Miradero, Lucky spots a wild mustang with his family, and a spark of kindred understanding flames between them as Lucky watches them race the train, and she names him Spirit.

Later on, she meets Spirit again as he has been captured by evil horse wranglers who are determined to break him, come hell or high water.  With the patience and help from two local girls who become fast friends, Abigail and Pru, Lucky learns how to be patient, how to work with horses and how to be trustworthy – “All you need is the 3 C’s… Calm, Confidence & CARROTS!!”

Unfortunately, the evil wranglers have another plan and they take Spirit’s family with the idea of selling them for a profit.  Naturally, Lucky, Abigail and Pru, with Spirit, have other ideas and they make a plan to save Spirit and his family, travelling alone across the wild frontier.

There is a scary part in part of that wild ride, as they ride through the dark, scary mountains, and Ms5, who is usually pretty unfazed by most seemingly scary things, did have an eyes-shut-and-hiding moment.

There is an excellent cast of voices behind the cartoon, with Jake Gyllenhaal as Lucky’s dada Jim and Julianne Moore as Lucky’s aunt Cora.  Isabela Merced shines as Lucky as do Mckenna Grace and Marsai Martin as Lucky’s friends.

The music is also really enjoyable, with Auntie Michelle dancing around at one stage and being told off by nieces and nephew (apparently one should not dance in one’s seat at the movies), and the animation is also very good.

There are a few deep themes – the relationship between fathers and daughters, especially as the daughter grows up and the seeking to find common understanding and trust; and the relationship with animals, how learning to relate to animals and demonstrate trustworthiness non-verbally helps us be more empathetic.

While it may be a simple cartoon Western, and may seem to play towards younger female horse-loving girls, it does have a bit more to it, with great graphics, fun songs, and the themes as above. Ms12 commented that it may seem like it should be only a little kids’ film but there was more in there for everyone.

It may not be up to the standard of the first Spirit film but it’s still a lot of fun and an enjoyable family film for the school holidays.  We all highly recommend it!

family fun 4 stars

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