(Review by Jimmy Akin) Hidalgo is the story of a horse and the cowboy who rides him.
Even more than Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger is the poster child for our culture’s terminal inability to offer children today heroic role models … I’ve seen many movies that were objectively worse than The Lone Ranger. Very few have made me angrier.
Here’s my 30-second take on War Horse.
In War Horse Spielberg harkens back to an earlier cinematic age, creating something more like a Golden Age Hollywood epic than any film I’ve seen in years, the one other notable example being Baz Luhrmann’s Australia.
Here is a strange thing. Secretariat, a quietly faith-laced Disney movie from Christian director Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) and Christian screenwriter Mike Rich (The Rookie), has bizarrely been catching politically tinged flak even more violent than last year’s inspirational sports film, The Blind Side. It also has an ironic if not improbable defender: Roger Ebert.
The Old Testament book of Job may be an unlikely source for an epigram for a feel-good Disney sports movie, but Secretariat screenwriter Mike Rich (The Nativity Story) has a good reason for going to this least feel-good of all biblical books. If God wasn’t actually thinking of Secretariat when he challenged Job in chapter 39, at least Secretariat was about as perfect an embodiment of what God had in mind, not only when he spoke to Job, but when he created the horse in the first place.
This week, coinciding with the theatrical release of Shrek Forever After, a pair of DreamWorks Animation productions get budget one-disc DVD rereleases (under $10). Despite the explicit marketing tie-in (“From the studio that brought you Shrek”), both films are traditional hand-drawn cel animation with nothing to connect them to Shrek in look or in spirit.
Viggo Mortensen, back in the saddle in his first post-Aragorn role, is entertaining as the laconic, disarmingly soft-spoken cowboy hero called "Far Rider" by the American Indians in honor of his fleet-footed mustang Hidalgo. Remarkably, Disney doesn’t whitewash the more politically incorrect elements of Hopkins’ tale: The Arabs Hopkins meets are sophisticated and well-bred but also imperious, condescending to non-Muslim "infidels," slighting to their women, callous to slave trade, and in some cases duplicitous and murderous — though others are loyal and honorable, and there’s also an explicitly identified "Christian" (i.e., European) character who’s a villain.
Seabiscuit canters handsomely around the track less like a scrappy race horse than a slightly overfed show horse, playing to the crowd, confident that there’s no real competition breathing down its neck. It is right.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.