By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available on Streaming Platforms, Home Video
Amazon USA Purchase Link
DreamWorks Spirit has a sequel, and viewers don’t need to know the Netflix series or past iterations to enjoy the latest release. The CGI animated update certainly reveals how this franchise has evolved with the times. It’s a different beast when compared to Stallion of the Cimarron (2002). They are all set in the Wild West–even though many years have passed between story to story. This latest focuses on the girl attempting to tame a horse, who conveniently shows his independence, and establishes a relationship with.
But there’s more to this horse, of course, and he’s fiercely trying to protect his herd. Spirit roamed the plains before he and his kind were captured. He was the last one to be wrangled. Without Fortuna “Lucky” Navarro-Prescott (Isabela Merced), those bad guys would not have had an easy way to keep the entire group in check.
Unlike How to Train Your Dragon, this franchise goes down a different path in terms of how to maintain a relationship with the animal world. The positive messages concerning how to keep a lasting and strong friendship are key. All the movies have a scenic quality which is beautiful to behold. For me, I’m a sucker for any kind of Wild West narrative. As much as I really enjoyed the first movie, the followups aren’t always appealing as the producers are targeting this series to appeal more to young girls.
The home video release has plenty of bonus features which are developed for them to peek into. Cowgirls Rule goes into more detail about this female-focussed story and explains why it’s not just a “girls like ponies” movie. Abigail’s Hand Shadow Secrets is a piece that fits in any of The Croods collection–how to tell tales with moving shadows, and the sing-a-longs are just that. Other extras include deleted scenes and how to play the ukulele. The material offered is comprehensive. I enjoyed the behind the scenes content over those segments made for young ladies to consider on their road to perhaps becoming an equestrian.
But there’s something to be said about the lead–the horse, of course. It’s unclear if he’s the same throughout the different tales, but I’d venture to say they share the same DNA (is the son of) rather than being one and the same.