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Racing Stripes
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Reviews & Ratings for
Racing Stripes More at IMDbPro »

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41 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Predictable but enjoyable

Author: illucianlux from United States
8 January 2005

Yes, it's stereotypical, and no, it doesn't reach or even approach the experience of Babe, but it is a fun flick, and one I feel is worth a matinée ticket if you're at all intrigued. I have to give kudos to the filmmakers for using real zebra sounds and vocalizations for Stripes; little details like that can make or break a talking animal film for the viewers who actually know a bit about the animals featured in a film...and hey, is it really too much to ask for a zebra to make zebra noises? There is some amount of potty humor, especially concerning the flies and the Jersey gangster pelican Goose, but it wasn't as much as I had assumed from earlier reviews.

There certainly are better movies out there, but the kids will enjoy this one, and the kid in me did. It was predictable, but comfortingly so, and sometimes it's nice to just sit back, suspend disbelief, and have a non-taxing movie experience where talking, wisecracking animals deliver lessons in life, like how being different isn't a bad thing, real winners are those with the heart to try, and success is often due to the support of those around you. And I do have to admit that one scene near the end brought tears to my eyes, much to my own surprise.

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53 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding Movie, not another Knock-off

Author: yourc21rl8r from United States
9 January 2005

Not sure what those others are seeing or looking for in a movie... This is one of the best movies i have taken my two 12 year old's to in a long time. This movie was hilarious, it had jokes for all ages. At times you would hear the kids start laughing through the theater, but there were several time when the adults would start out the laughing. I laughed through the entire movie. My daughters have seen all of the other movies that this one is supposed to be copying, but (according to them) this is by far the best. This one will definitely be added to our DVD collection as soon as it become available!! Highly recommend this one for the whole family!!!

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32 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Light hearted film that your children will like

4/10
Author: Douglas Young (the-movie-guy) from Memphis, Tennessee
10 January 2005

A baby zebra (voice of Frankie Muniz) is accidentally left behind by a traveling circus and is found by a thoroughbred horse trainer, Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood). Nolan takes the zebra home, and his teenage daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere) wants to keep him as a pet. She names the baby zebra Stripes. The farm is located near the racetrack and the zebra grows up believing that he is a racehorse. Stripes has a dream of racing the other horses at the track, and to get into shape, Stripes races the mailman in his truck. All the farm animals help Stripes and Channing achieve their racing dream. This is a cute movie made in the same framework as the movie 'Babe', where all the animals speak to each other. The horseflies Scuzz and Buzz (voices of David Spade and Steve Harvey) had some of the funniest scenes. This is a light hearted film that your children will like. Don't take the script too seriously or you will miss the fun. (Warner Brothers Pictures, Run time 1:34, Rated PG) (4/10)

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie - if you remember it's fantasy

8/10
Author: KYWes-1 from Louisville, KY
14 January 2005

This is a movie that touches all the right spots. It has Stripes striving for an unattainable goal, Channing striving for her own life, the loyalty and help of friends and the tragedy of a love lost. Just remember this isn't trying to be real life "gritty" drama. It's entertainment and my wife and I were satisfyingly entertained. If I had any complaints it would be with the inclusion of Snoop Dogg's character. It was a waste of screen time and I wish I could have gotten a better feel for the hate of the stallion Trenton. It's a formulaic movie but it follows the formula well with a new twist, likable and hate able characters.

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27 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Excellent!

10/10
Author: lsykes-1 from Texas A&M, Texas
17 January 2005

Don't be swayed by the negative reviews...I don't know what it takes for some folks to enjoy a movie! I took my 8 year old to see this and we both spent most of the movie in laughter. There is something for EVERYONE in this film! On top of a great story and an enjoyable script, there are many, many lessons for children to learn within this film. It was so good to hear children splitting their sides in laughter during the movie. And, in places, adult laughter drowned out the kids! This movie has humor on all levels. It will definitely be added to our DVD collection upon release. This is Rudy and The Little Engine That Could all rolled into one. Don't miss this or you'll be sorry!

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Mister Zed

8/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
5 June 2005

If you strongly dislike films that are predictable, clichéd or derivative, and you're not showing Racing Stripes to kids, you should avoid this movie. Well, at least looking at things somewhat pessimistically. Ideally, you should sort out the conceptual errors you're making and see the movie, because it is a very good film. The Cult of Originality had it wrong. Artworks aren't inherently more valuable just because they're unprecedented, and they're not inherently less valuable just because they're engaging in a well-established form, or "template", to put it in more modern terms.

Stripes is a zebra who is orphaned at the beginning of the film when a traveling circus accidentally leaves him behind during a storm. Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood) finds him and brings him back to his Kentucky farm (actually South Africa doubling as Kentucky). Walsh, a recent widower, has a teenaged daughter, Channing (Hayden Panettiere), who works at the local horse track for a mean, snooty and rich boss lady, Clara Dalrymple (Wendie Malick). The horse track is the heart of the town. The farm next door to the Walsh's breeds racehorses, and in fact, Walsh used to breed and train racehorses, too, for Clara, and it's implied that Walsh's wife, a former champion jockey, died in a horse-racing accident.

Meanwhile, Stripes is trying to adjust to life on the Walsh farm, which means assimilating with a motley crew of animals. All of the animals can talk to each other, "Mister Ed" (1961)-style, but in the more traditional filmic instantiation of talking animals, they can't talk to humans, although it is implied that they can at least slightly understand human speech. Stripes knows he looks different, but he figures he's a horse, like the racehorses next door, because that's what he looks closest to. Their teasing because he looks different merely creates a stronger desire for him to fit in and even best them, which naturally means a growing desire to race.

Any older cinephile could probably fill in the basic developments of the plot, up to and including the ending, given the premises above. The important consideration is not whether Racing Stripes is unprecedented, but how well it does what it sets out to do. The formulaic aspects of the plot, as with all artworks that engage with some traditional "formula", enhance Racing Stripes rather than detracting from it by (a) filling in a deep milieu of shared meaning, signifiers and so on, and (b) underscoring the ways in which Racing Stripes makes its variations on the form. It's a good film both because it executes the basics of the form so well and because the variations are well done, creative and entertaining. That's if you're an adult, at least. For younger audiences, it's a great film because it's establishing the form in their minds. The form exists as a template because it's a very effective, classic plot rooted in a particular kind of cultural mythology. But this instantiation is simply a funny, inspirational story featuring a talking zebra.

Filmic visual manipulation has come a long way in the 40 years since "Mister Ed". Mister Ed, the original talking horse, was made to "speak" by putting something in his mouth that he would then try to remove. In Racing Stripes, the animal speech is all done through cgi--actually computer animation/manipulation of cinematographic images of the animals' mouths, and it looks incredibly realistic. Like most movies of this sort, Racing Stripes is a pleasure to watch simply for its animal stunts. I suppose one can never get too old or intellectual to enjoy a dancing monkey, so to speak. There are a few instances of animal "stunts" being too dangerous for the animals--such as Stripes' wipeout, so these are animated with cgi, too, and they're integrated very well.

There are also two completely cgi-animated characters--flies named Buzz and Scuzz. These are the most consistently comic characters, although as flies, a lot of their visual humor, at least, hinges on jokes about things like garbage, discarded food, manure, and so on.

The animals are voiced by an all-star cast. Director Frederik Du Chau, in his first live-action film (and only his second film), does an excellent job creating performances from the animals that match the public personalities of the voices. Stripes is Frankie Muniz, and has his innocent precociousness. Dustin Hoffman is an older, small horse named Tucker who provides advice and inspiration, a bit like a cynical Buddha. Snoop Dogg is the family hound, naturally enough, and tends to lie on the porch, chilling out and making sarcastic remarks. Joe Pantoliano is Goose--he made a wrong turn in New Jersey and is now comically trying to pass himself off as a gangster. The flies are David Spade and Steve Harvey, with Spade doing his infamous manic-but-mellow naivety. The human cast is good, too, but they're really ancillary to the animals. Older cinephiles will especially delight in seeing M. Emmet Walsh as a rumpled "track-rat".

As a film primarily targeted at kids and younger teens (although it's certainly not enjoyable only to them--I'm middle-aged and have no kids), Racing Stripes has a couple "moral of the story" subtexts, and as usual, they're themes that not only kids can benefit from internalizing. The primary theme is acceptance of difference. Stripes is unlike any being the other animals have encountered, and naturally he is teased, made fun of, ostracized and even physically abused because of it. The gist of the plot is a demonstration that difference isn't negative. This is often interpreted as a racial theme, but it's really more general than that, applying to all kinds of differences. The other main theme, acceptance of loss and confrontation of the resultant depression, fear and anger, arrives via Walsh.

Cute, funny, heartwarming and a subtly surreal fantasy, Racing Stripes is a great example of why predictability just doesn't matter when it comes to making a good film.

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36 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly good

10/10
Author: ddsw
10 January 2005

This started in Australia early, so my partner and I went to see it for a change of pace. Expectations weren't what you would call high (this is the home of Babe after all), but we both enjoyed it quite a bit.

The film is well put together, visually it's attractive, earthy, and the horses used are stunning -- any horse lovers will adore the movie, despite the main character being a Zebra.

Actually, Stripes himself is overshadowed by some of the excellent supports, including Hoffman's unappreciated pony and Pantoliano's gangster Pelican called "Goose" (a very funny role). One exception is Snoop Dogg's Basset Hound -- a waste of time, really. Then there are the horseflies, Spade and Harvey -- some of their jokes are dated (an M.C. Hammer gag in 2005???), but they're usually a high point.

The human characters were well cast -- Bruce Greenwood gives a very down to earth performance and is totally believable as a mourning farmer. Hayden Panettiere is a standout, look for big things from her in the future. I remember her as Will Patton's mini-coach daughter in Remember The Titans -- she's grown up with a great look and fine acting.

Direction is fine, the effects of animals talking, etc are all well done. Story is basic, but I guess that's what you want in a family film. Funny animals, good values/morals -- definitely worth watching.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Fun movie which foreshadows Hayden Panettiere's greatness

10/10
Author: ray-280 from Philadelphia
24 November 2005

Give a great actress a great script, and you can't miss. Give her a mediocre script like Racing Stripes (a fun, one-dimensional underdog story about a zebra that wants to race against horses), and she'll usually find a way to shine through the mud. Hayden Panettiere, who I last saw in Remember The Titans as the cute-but-obnoxious coach's daughter, isn't all grown up yet, but at sixteen, looks ready to conquer the world in a way that few actresses ever will.

I'm sure every teenage boy in America knows who Hayden is by now, and in a few years, the entire male population is going to be spellbound by this charming, multidimensional beauty. Remember The Titans was a great script where she could have done little wrong; what makes her performance here a great one is that nothing went wrong, and she got everything out of the character that one could have expected, and then some.

Some of the other "nobodies" in the film -- including Frankie Muniz, Dustin Hoffman, Wendie Malick, David Spade, to name a few -- were simply upstaged. Lord only knows what we'll be witness to once Ms. Panettiere, and her material, age.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Watch Stripes run...

10/10
Author: Thanigai Vaasan from Chennai, India
7 June 2005

Though I have been a dedicated visitor to IMDb since I have heard about it first in 2000, this... is my first user comment for a movie. And I am very proud to give it for Racing Stripes.

What shall I say about this movie? Talking animals, American humour, words, phrases and scenes which need to be in a racing movie. Is that all? No.

This is the story of a zebra who with the help of his animal friends and love of the daughter of his master, achieves the unthinkable - a race against the horses.

With a single zebra, these people have woven and created a celluloid which comes with ounces and ounces of passion, all for free. Right from the first scene when Stripes is introduced until the last flash of the race, passion is one word with which we are gripped. Stripes, the hero of the movie, steals our hearts with its innocent expressions, cute barking and an iron-fisted ambition.

A humble movie with a great animal team, good actors, visual effects, applaudable cinematography and editing,... wait. There is something which I am missing. Yes. Those unmistakable moments when the sounds and visuals speak to us. Flashes, slow motions, brilliant ups and downs of music and much much more which made all those animals' expressions visible and audible even when they don't speak. The shot by shot translation of the moods and motivation for the racing zebra build the whole movie.

Leave all to your imagination. Watch Stripes begin that run. Those minutes, I couldn't close my eyelids even for a routine blink.

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21 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Fun, fun fun...fun with stripes. A family zebra tale.

Author: rob-pereyda from Sunnyvale, CA
16 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just got back from an advance screening of the film. It was mostly a fun movie, especially if you have small children with you.

One problem I had with the film was the movement of the mouths. The technique is a little old-fashioned, so it takes about 20 minutes of film-watching for the awkwardness of it to go away. That's really fine though, since the first twenty minutes aren't that exciting anyways, except for a blurt in the rain explaining how Stripes (the zebra) ends up on the farm.

The flies were a little bit over the top at times, but maybe that was just David Spade being David Spade. Not that it was bad, but I knew it was him as soon as it opened its mouth.

I thought M. Emmet Walsh added a really nice touch to the film. He had the same homely quality he had in Christmas with the Kranks, so I think he was probably casted to accent that ability of his.

All in all, this is definitely a family film, and definitely not a date film...unless your date is into zebras.

Fun, fun fun...fun with stripes.

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