Owen Gleiberman
June 07, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
82 minutes
Wide Release Date
05/24/02
performer
James Cromwell, Matt Damon, Daniel Studi
director
Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook
author
John Fusco
genre
Western, Animation, Kids and Family
We gave it a B+

The wild horse hero doesn’t sing, or joke, or even talk (his thoughts are delivered by a plainspoken Matt Damon), and that barely verbal quietude stands the movie in good stead. Spirit, a solemn neo-”Bambi,” has been made with simple, elegant conviction. The filmmakers have figured out how to give traditional ”2-D” animation the visual dynamism of CGI. None of this would matter, though, if the tale didn’t draw us into its born-to-roam-free spell. Spirit, captured by Union soldiers, fights to stay a beautiful unbroken beast, and there is scarcely a kid in the audience who won’t relate to his quest.

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