Spirit Untamed (2021)
Director: Elaine Bogan
Writers: Aury Wallington and Kristin Hahn
Starring: Isabela Merced, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Walton Goggins, Julianne Moore, and Jake Gyllenhaal
Plot: A young girl moves to a new town and befriends Spirit, who has been captured by locals trying to break him in.
Review: Man, movie studios are getting desperate with trying to keep their IP alive! Remember Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron? The Dreamworks movie about the horse that came out in 2002? I was 10 years old at the time, which is arguably the target audience for such a movie. I saw it once. I promptly forgot about it. Then, for the next twenty years, no one really talked about it again. And I hang around with people who talk about animation CONSTANTLY. Still, somehow, that movie inspired a Netflix show that has 12 SEASONS AND TWO SPECIALS! What? And, now, here we are. In 2021, we finally get a Spirit 2. Yet, this isn’t really a sequel to the original movie. In fact, it’s not even really a sequel to the show. It’s more of a reboot/remake… I guess. I don’t know. And I’m not really all that interested in doing the research either. All I know is that it sounds like a desperate cash grab to me.
Honestly, I don’t have all that much to say about Spirit Untamed. It wasn’t good. I wasn’t entertained. Everything that’s on screen you’ve seen before. And, honestly, a lot of the ground covered was in the original movie. That being said though, there’s nothing necessarily atrocious about this movie either. It is sort of a big old nothingburger. I will never call the original forgettable again because this is FORGETTABLE. I got out of my showing just a few hours ago and I’m not sure I could accurately recap the plot for you.
You know how in the mid-2000s Disney just pumped out a ton of sequels to their animated classics. Decades later we’d get a Bambi II that didn’t fit the tone or even the story of the original. The animation would be several notches down in quality from the original too. That’s what this feels like. Except it’s worse. Because apparently this story already exists. And you could watch it at home. But someone at Comcast got greedy so it’s on the big screen now for $15 a pop. Other than that though, the analogy is spot on. The story conflicts with what we saw before. The animation is way worse, which is sad because that’s the one thing I’d argue the first movie had going for it. And, the voice acting feels phoned in, despite some big names like Jake Gyllenhaal being attached.
So, in case you couldn’t tell, I would not recommend seeing Spirit Untamed. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s nothing special either. You’ve seen every plot point and joke it has to offer. They’re not breaking any ground here. The only reason I can rationalize going out to see it is if you’re kids are obsessed with the show. But, like I said, I’ve heard it’s just a redo of the show, so even those kids might be a bit bored with it. Probably best to just play the show on Netflix again instead.
TL;DR: Spirit Untamed feels like a lazy, uninspired cashgrab… probably because that’s exactly what it is.
Score: 4/10 (Bad)