Linda Cook review: Ride out to ‘Spirit Untamed’ for family entertainment

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The extraordinarily rich story in “Spirit Untamed” makes this animated Western adventure a delight that’s every bit as enjoyable as the original.

I always thought the 2002 “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron” deserved a better reception. (If you haven’t seen it, please do – it’s the perfect warmup to the new film.)

The central figure is Lucky (voice of Isabela Merced, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.”) She has lost her mother, and lives with her aunt (Julianne Moore) in a bit city far away from her estranged father.

When her grandfather begins a political campaign for governor, Lucky’s antics don’t exactly enhance his chances of being elected, so Lucky is dispatched to stay in a border town where her father lives.  

Lucky, along with her aunt, takes a steam engine across the plains. During her journey she sees a herd of wild horses, and makes a connection with Spirit, the lead stallion.

She’s not the only one who sees the horses. Some outlaws decide to capture and sell the horses.

Lucky’s father (Jake Gyllenhaal) isn’t sure what to do with his “new” daughter he hasn’t seen for so long. The two clash almost as soon as Lucky gets off the train.

Spirit the mustang ends up in a corral, where Lucky befriends him begins to learn to ride. She also makes friends with two other girls who love horses just as Lucky does.

When Spirit breaks away, the outlaws are able to track down the herd.

It’s up to Lucky and her friends to save the horses and ensure their freedom.

First, the look of the film is gorgeous, from the highly detailed interior environments to the beautiful outdoor surroundings. The character development is fun to watch while the story seamlessly blends themes of family, courage and kindness.

This is an excellent family film well worth the ride.

4 stars

Rated: PG for threatening situations.

Running time: One hour and 27 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport; and Palms 10, Muscatine.  

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