The Young Black Stallion
Lacking the patient meditations of the stallion’s original cinematic outing in 1979, this brief (less than an hour), brisk IMAX prequel (covering the horse’s early life in the post-WWII North African desert) opts for simpler life lessons: Girl Power and the Art of Strategic Disobedience, with a minor in Coping After Your Caravan Has Been Assaulted by Brigands. Separated from her family, little Neera (newcomer Biana G. Tamimi) is led through the desert by an adolescent colt so sleek and black, he’s hard to look at — he’s just a beautiful, pony-shaped hole in the universe. Boy, can he run. And girl, can she ride. Director Simon Wincer (”Free Willy”) keeps his powder dry until the final sequence, in which Neera must run a panoramic desert race to win back her family fortune. The hoofbeats are seismic, the music is like hot cheese, and the sandy vistas thrill appropriately: It’s a perfectly rousing Ben-Her of a centerpiece.