Wednesday, June 2, 2021

This "Spirit' need to be more untamed

 Middle-of-the-road live-action movies seldom delight. Same goes for middle-of-the-road animated features,  and that's the category in which the new movie Spirit Untamed landsA predecessor movie -- Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron -- debuted in 2002. Now comes another helping that tries to touch as many bases as possible, mixing a multicultural cast of characters with lots of action and a girl-power pep talk. A wild horse befriends Lucky Prescott, (voice by Isabela Merced), a 12-year-old girl who travels west with her aunt (Julianne Moore). Lucky is supposed-to visit her father (Jake Gyllenhaal), a decent but broken man who hasn't recovered from the loss of Lucky's mom,   a trick-rider who was killed in an accident. Lucky quickly makes friends with two girls (Mckenna Grace and Marsai Martin) in the small town where she lands. She also defies her dad, who warns her to avoid Spirit, a wild horse that winds up in the town corral. Lucky's mastery of riding goes from zero to highly skilled within an improbable few minutes. The plot takes an adventure turn when Lucky sets out to rescue Spirit from a rustler (Walton Goggins) and his dastardly gang.  Little about the animation feels particularly special. Even with some mild ecological concerns, Spirit Untamed feels like multiplex filler. In the absence of any other kid-fare, Spirit might suffice, but it's mostly a negligible hunk of family oriented entertainment.

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