When I was a kid, I always dreamed of having a pony of my own. If you are a little girl who loves horses (or if you ever were), then “Spirit Untamed” is a movie for you. This animated sequel to 2002’s “Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron” may not be one of DreamWorks Animation’s finest achievements, but it’s a film that’s unapologetically made for kids and to get even more specific, for little ones who love horses.
Lucky (voice of Isabela Merced) is as headstrong as they come. Her mother died when she was a baby, and she never really knew her father. She’s been raised by her Aunt Cora (voice of Julianne Moore), who decides it’s time for the girl to meet her dad (voice of Jake Gyllenhaal). The two head out West via train, where Lucky is mesmerized by a wild mustang that shares her rebellious spark.
Lucky names the horse Spirit, and soon befriends two young female horseback riders in town, Abigail (voice of Mckenna Grace) and Pru (voice of Marsai Martin). When the trio of new best friends learn that an evil horse wrangler and his minions plan to capture Spirit and the rest of his herd to auction them off for a terrible life of hard labor, the three girls embark on a brave adventure across the frontier to rescue the horses.
There isn’t a ton for adults to enjoy here, but it doesn’t matter. The uninspired voice talent and average-quality animation is good enough to appeal to the younger set, and the film presents many commendable lessons such as kindness towards animals, and teaches that it’s okay to get help when you sense that something is wrong. The core messages in the film encourage children to “be strong, be brave, and be trusting.”
There are real world themes for kids, and the multicultural, female-centric perspective continues the trend of the representation of brave and independent young women in animation. The main characters are charming, and all three are tough, strong-willed girls.
The script is clunky, but it gets better as time goes on. The film takes a while to hit its stride but once the idea of “wild and free is the way to be” is fully embraced, things really get cooking. “Spirit Untamed” is a sweet, warm, big-hearted movie with a timeless and inspiring tale of courage. It’s a wonderful film for young girls in particular.