Review: 'Spirit Untamed' not worth the horse it rode in on

Animated horse tale suspiciously lacking in spirit, human or otherwise.

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
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Be strong, be brave, let courage lead the way. 

Nice message, poor delivery system. "Spirit Untamed" is as generic as children's entertainment gets, a shoddily animated, base-level story about the bond between horses and humans and the importance in believing in oneself. Those who are 5 and younger may appreciate the pretty horsies, no one else need apply. 

Isabela Merced voices Miguelita Fortuna "Lucky" Prescott in "Spirit Untamed."

Isabela Merced voices Fortuna Esperanza "Lucky" Prescott, a young girl who is sent from her home out East to live with her father (voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal) in the American southwest. Lucky is a free spirit and is drawn to horses, and as such is expressly banned from playing with or associating with horses. (Because that always works.) So of course she winds up on an adventure with a wild mustang, Spirit, doing some death-defying riding that would never be attempted in any non-computer animated world.

"Spirit Untamed" has the dated look of early computer animation; the Pixar triumphs of recent years have continued to push the boundaries of animated worlds, but "Spirit Untamed" looks like it comes from a pre-"Shrek" landscape. And the broad characters represent thin sketches of good and bad; a gang of thieves bungles around like Loony Tunes villains.  

"Spirit Untamed" is directed by Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan and is the follow-up to 2001's "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." (There's also an animated "Spirit Riding Free" series on Netflix.) There's nothing here that warrants a feature length, as the lessons taught have been better presented elsewhere. "Spirit Untamed" lacks spirit, and even worse, it lacks soul.


'Spirit Untamed'


Rated PG: for some adventure action

Running time: 87 minutes

In theaters

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