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Rollicking ride

Emphasizing family and friendship, horse film Spirit Untamed will delight young-girl audiences


DreamWorks Animation LLC

Rollicking ride

It’s a rare girl who hasn’t dreamed of having her own horse and galloping off on far-flung adventures. Spirit Untamed, a DreamWorks production, will transport those girls—or any viewer—to a fun frontier where the bad guys are bad, but not creepy, and the good guys are gals. The film, in theaters June 4 and rated PG for action adventure, projects upbeat, overt messages about being fearless, never giving up, and doing what’s best for family—all without being sappy.

Twelve-year-old Lucky Prescott (voiced by Isabela Merced) heads from the big city to the frontier. On the train she glimpses a wild mustang she’s instantly enthralled with, later dubbing him “Spirit.” She’s going to spend the summer with her father, Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal), who sent her to live with relatives when his wife—Lucky’s mom—died doing an acrobatic stunt on a horse.

Two horse-loving gals with spunk and personality themselves quickly befriend Lucky, encouraging her quest to ride Spirit. After villainous wranglers rustle Spirit’s herd, driving it across canyons, the three pals give chase, facing daunting, precipitous paths like Ridge of Regret. Their pursuit isn’t all danger, and one evening finds them devouring marshmallows by the campfire as they sing and devolve into fits of girlish giggles.

The horse-rescue plot is similar to its popular 2002 predecessor, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but this is a better movie. Not only has the animation vastly improved, but the subplots about family and friendships are stronger. And the mix of ethnicities among both the good and bad characters in this film seems more normal and unforced. Kids will enjoy the ride. You may, too. And you’ll all want to download the upbeat music.

One caveat: After watching, your child may beg for that pony again.

A version of this article appears in the June 26 print edition.


Sharon Dierberger Sharon is a correspondent and reviewer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Northwestern University graduate. She has served as a university teacher, clinical exercise physiologist, homeschooling mom, businesswoman, and Division 1 athlete. She resides in Stillwater, Minnesota, with her husband, Bill.

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