Sure to Capture New Audiences, Especially Horse Lovers
Adventure awaits in Spirit Untamed, the next chapter in the beloved animated Spirit franchise which is sure to capture a new audience of followers. Spirit Untamed is the story of connection between a girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) and a wild mustang stallion she names Spirit. Lucky is a spirited girl and has difficulty fitting into the traditional life that her family plans for her. Her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) takes her away from social pressure for the summer to the frontier town of Miradero to live with her estranged father Jim Prescott (Jake Gyllenhaal). On the train to Miradero she encounters Spirit and his wild herd. The story evolves as both Lucky and Spirit adapt to new circumstances and learn to embrace change as well as rely on the friendship and support of others.
Lucky is fortunate to find two steadfast friends in Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin) who emulate the connection between a girl and her horse that Lucky desires with Spirit. Both girls teach her about equestrian and human connections. I love the fun-loving and spunky character, Abigail, who brings so much humor to the movie which is offset by the sarcasm of Pru. Together these three girls are unstoppable in their efforts to rescue Spirit and his herd from a group of wranglers that threaten their freedom.
Spirit Untamed is from Dreamworks Animation so you know the characters and scenery are going to be depicted flawlessly. I love how this film keeps the feel from the original movie but adds another layer of lush detail under the guidance of Director Elaine Bogan who has a personal connection with horses. My favorite scene is what I call "the tango" between Lucky and Spirit when she is trying to coax him to accept her. The pull of their relationship shows and is enhanced perfectly by the light and playful music composed by Amie Doherty. I really like how the movie incorporates the actors singing with their roles-I love to hear Isabela Merced's beautiful voice and even Jake Gyllenhall trying to sing badly.
The one segment that bothers me is when Lucky first mounts Spirit. The riding is unbelievable for a girl who is just learning and is more akin to a trained circus or stunt rider. Horses are powerful animals, and I hope young viewers will understand that they need guidance around horses and to respect them. I did love the personality that was given to all the horses in Spirit Untamed-each horse had its own lovable character and expressions. Everyone will, of course, love the cuteness overload of the brave baby foal.
What really stands out to me among this film's many underyling messages is the theme of letting go and how hard that can be. I don't want to elaborate further, as it would be a spoiler, but there is one great "letting go" scene with Lucky doing the right thing. Friendship and loyalty are also important themes in Spirit Untamed, as Lucky searches for a place where she belongs.
I rate Spirit Untamed 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This movie will be in theaters June 4, 2021, so don't miss this heartwarming story and adventure! By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
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