2010年12月5日 星期日

Movie Review

Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron
The Wild West through a Mustang's Eye

Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 animated film that was released by DreamWorks. It follows the adventures of a young mustang stallion, named Spirit, living in the 19th century wild west. The film, written by John Fusco and directed by Lorna Cook and Kelly Asbury, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In contrast to the way animals are portrayed in an anthropomorphic style in other animated features, Spirit and his fellow horses communicate with each other through sounds and facial expressions. Spirit's thoughts are narrated by his voice actor Matt Damon.                 --from Wikipedia


Inside the DVD

The film starts with a brief introduction featuring a bald eagle gliding over the homeland of the mustangs, which resembles several western US National Parks. There is then a scene showing the birth of a Buckskin Kiger Mustang, the main protagonist, Spirit. Spirit soon grows into a stallion, and assumes the role of leader of the herd, whose duty it is to keep the herd safe.

Young Spirit and his mother
Spirit is a courageous leader, but has a serious mischievous streak and a high sense of curiosity. Spotting a camp one night not far from his herd, the stallion is unable to control his curiosity and moves towards it, as he's never seen humans before. To Spirit's surprise, the humans (possibly wranglers) are vicious. After a long chase, he is captured and taken to a US cavalry post. During this time in the movie, the army is fighting the Indian Wars and taking over the soon-to-be western United States. There he encounters "The Colonel" (based on Colonel Custer). The Colonel attempts to tame the mustang, but Spirit manages to outwit all who attempt to ride him. During this time, a Lakota American Indian named Little Creek is also brought into the fort and held captive, through the night and day they become friends. Through a series of events, Little Creek and Spirit escape the post. Little Creek's own paint mare, Rain, meets them, along with other Indians who loosely capture Spirit.

After returning to the Lakota Indian village, Little Creek ties Spirit and Rain together, much to Spirit's dismay. Rain willingly shows Spirit her world. Spirit begins to understand their ways and falls in love with the mare. His affections for Rain, however, do not soften his yearning to be free.

Spirit and his girlfriend, Rain

At the end of their time together Little Creek decides that Spirit should never be tamed and frees him. As Spirit asks Rain to come with him to his herd, a Cavalry Regiment led by the Colonel attacks the Lakota village. Rain is shot by the Colonel, knocking her into the river while Spirit knocks the colonel off his horse, saving Little Creek's life. Spirit dives into the river to try to rescue Rain, but is unsuccessful and they both plummet over a waterfall. Having both survived, Spirit comforts Rain on the riverbed until cavalry scouts tear him away. After finding Rain critically injured just as Spirit is being led away, Little Creek vows to free the mustang once and for all in accordance with his life-debt; and follows the men after tending to his own mare.
Spirit and other stolen horses are put on a train and taken to the work site of the Transcontinental Railroad where they are put to work pulling a locomotive engine up a mountain when attempts to tunnel have failed. Spirit realizes that if the track extends along its present course it will infringe on his homeland. Spirit breaks free from the steam engine and causes it to fall down the steep hill where it collides with another locomotive, causing a boiler explosion which starts the camp and woods on fire. Little Creek appears and escapes the wildfire with Spirit.

Ending scene where Spirit and Rain
say goodbye to Little Creek, the Lakota Indian
The next morning, Colonel and his men find Spirit and Little Creek. A climatic chase scene ensues on winding rock passages that lead to a canyon where the two again outsmart the Army. Spirit also makes a "freedom" jump which amazes The Colonel. The Colonel stops one of his men from shooting the two and exchanges nods of respect with Spirit before they part.

Spirit races back to the rebuilt Lakota village with Little Creek. Spirit finds Rain still alive, nursed back to health by the Indians. Little Creek decides to name the Kiger mustang "Spirit-who-could-not-be-broken". Little Creek, knowing it's for the best, sets Spirit and Rain free. Eventually, the two horses joyfully meet up with Spirit's own herd. Viewers then see the eagle as he flies up into clouds shaped like horses.
--from Wikipedia

Production Staff
Directed byLorna Cook
Kelly Asbury
Produced byMax Howard
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Mireille Soria
Written byJohn Fusco
Narrated byMatt Damon
Matt Damon
James Cromwell
Daniel Studi
Music byHans Zimmer
Bryan Adams
Editing byClare De Chenu
StudioDreamWorks Animation
Stardust Pictures
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures
From Wikipedia

My Feedback
The Smile
It had been a long time since the last movie that has impress me so much. In truth, I haven't seen such well-made animation for a very long time. The animations nowaday are mostly focus on comedy and humor, which, saddly, coruppted those annimations into a themeless and somewhat retarded piece of garbage. At this point, I have to say that the advancement of technology really corrupt human and make human lazy and regress. Indeed, 3D computer animation did impress people and make people marvel at the advancement of technology. However, the technology will be worthless if the film, which a lot of them do nowaday, is mostly goofing and has little theme.

Spirit, in other hand, is of a completely diferent story to me. Although it is traditionaly animated and some may think of it as old fashion, this type of animation brought us the cherish of the past when most of the animations are hand-drawn, especially when all of sudden that 3D computer animations are all over us. When watcing the film, the view throughout the camera, with the combination of the touching background music, is truly breath-taking. Also, Spirit contain varies important themes. It is a combination of love, home, freidship, wilderness, freedom, valor, and nature. It is really impressive in the way the director express these various themes through the film, and yet keeping the film pure and full of fantasies. 

Spirit and his friend, the Eagle
I've watched many animations, including some of the famous Disney animations like The Lion King, when I was still young (about 6-10). However, out of all these films, the one and only film I remebered the most is Spirit even though I only watch part of it for only one time. When I saw this film accidently ( I was browsing through the movie channel) 8 years later, this struck me as pure and full of fantasy, yet still contain many themes that inspire people. It is so pure and simple that seems to brought the audience back to a pure and innocent child that has nothing in his/her mind except for various imaginations and fantasies. I've to say that there isn't one negative comments I can think of toward this movie. This film brought back the feeling that I once posess as a child but was long lost, and I am very thankful for that.

Also, the music is one of the best soundtrack I've ever heard in various movies. The music is a very important element throughout the film. There weren't much dialog between characters. Therefore, background music became important in subsituting dialog. The music gives the feeling of the Wild West and the nature. The soundtrack seems to also contain the themes in the movie. In my opinion, it suit the film perfectly. Another thing that interest me is that the way the animal character communicate. Unlike other animal animation, they use sounds and expressions to communicate, and I think it is pretty new and true for animals.

In conclusion, Spirit is a really unique and impressive film. It has no sequel, which makes it the more special and mantain its quality. There have been over hundreds of animation, but the only one that impress me the most is this. Therefore, I wish truly that whoever read this review must watch the film, for the ones that watch it already watch it again.

P.S. Sorry if it is to long. I have a lot to say bout it.