Animated films come out all the time, but there are only a few being released that still use the more traditional style as opposed to the 3D graphic style. Thankfully there are still plenty of them out there for the old school fans, including some that are still making their way onto Blu-ray. The latest to get the new Blu-ray release is the 2002 Dreamworks film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, but does it still hold up from its initial release or should this horse be put out to pasture?
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron follows a mustang stallion named Spirit who grows up to proudly succeed his father as leader of the Cimarron herd in the unspoiled Wild West. When 'civilization' reaches Dakota territory, naive curiosity gets him caught by cowboys and sold to the US Cavalry, but a captured young Lakota brave, escapes on his back. As the railroad arrives, the Indian village is wrecked and Spirit gets captured for use as a draft-horse. When the stallion realizes this project threatens his whole world, he escapes and unleashes the fury of a force of nature, ultimately teaming up with Little Creek. While this film looks to use a mix of both CGI and traditional animation its approach to the story is what makes it stand out as unique. Most films like this instantly have the animals speak or are comical, but here they allow the horse to be an actual horse and let its mannerisms tell the story alongside narration that is meant to be the horse’s thoughts. This makes for a more dramatic animated film as opposed to the usual comedic fare. The animation itself is beautiful, bringing the breathtaking imagery of the wild to life. This backdrop is just as important as the story itself as if you don’t buy into it, you will not invest into the story as a whole. This isn’t an overly complicated or even all that original, but the unique approach to the story telling makes it stand out more so than it might have otherwise.
In addition to this beautiful film, this Blu-ray also includes numerous special features including commentary, songs, storyboards with commentary, and featurettes including “Animating Spirit”, and “Learn to Draw Spirit with James Baxter”. Join the stampede and grab your copy of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron hits Blu-ray & DVD combo pack on May 13th.