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Spirit Untamed


Stars: Voices: Isabela Merced, Julianne Moore, Mckenna Grace, Elza Gonzalez, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Walton Goggins, Andre Braugher

Director: Elaine Bogan

Pony-loving girls will certainly shed a tear or two over this rather belated sequel about the 'Stallion of the Cimarron'.

Lucky is just a baby when her mother, a bareback rodeo rider, is killed in a fall. Her father (Gyllenhaal) hides himself away with his inventions, while Lucky (Merced) is brought up by her stuffy grandparents and, latterly, her Aunt Cora (Moore).

Journeying back West by train to visit the father she hasn't seen in years, the intrepid Lucky climbs back across the outside of the train to avoid her aunt's eagle eye, and spies a big herd of wild horses challenging the speed of the loco, headed by a black-maned bay with flaring nostrils.

Craning her neck, Lucky's only saved from falling off the train by itinerant horse-wrangler Hendricks (Goggins) who, with his scurvy crew, later proves to have captured the stallion, and is intent on breaking his spirit, to the dismay of Lucky and her two new pals, a black girl and budding rodeo star (a likely story but along for the woke brigade), voiced by Martin, and fair-haired Abi (Grace).

Meanwhile the horse, whom Lucky names Spirit, eventually responds to her offering of apples, and allows her to ride him.

Alas, his entire herd is then captured by the wranglers, who plan to ship them overseas by train, which the girls plan to intercept by a perilous short-cut (really?).

There are touching bits here, exciting bits and cloying bits (a few too many of these). It's not bad, although the animation of Lucky (big head, bigger eyes, tiny body) is all a bit off, and the story seems to have about three endings.

David Quinlan

USA 2021. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Kodak.
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 26 Jul 2021