Spirit Untamed Blu-ray review

Sep 04, 2021- Permalink

Nineteen years after the beloved Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, we get Dreamworks’ Spirit Untamed from director Elaine Bogan. Featuring the voice talents of Isabela Merced, Jake Gyllenhaal, Andre Braugher, Walton Goggins, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, and Julianne Moore, the movie received a Blu-ray release from Universal Studios and I had a chance to see it.

Merced plays Lucky, a free-spirited girl sent to spend time with her estranged father (Gyllenhaal) after her mother dies in a stunt riding accident. She discovers a wild mustang, Spirit, and begins to train it, connecting her to the legacy of her mother. Her father tries to protect her, but when a wrangler tries to capture Spirit and the herd, Lucky and her friends embark on an adventure to rescue them.

The 1080p AVC encoded transfer is in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Though different in style and detail from its cinematic predecessor — the animation isn’t as detailed as higher budget productions – the presentation here is very good with the computer animation looking sharp on screen. The real star of the video side is the colour palette with everything from lush greens and blue skies to popping primaries and earthy tones of the Western landscape.

On the audio side, the disc comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound track as well as French and Spanish DTS-HD HR 7.1 tracks. Subtitles are available for English SDH, French and Spanish. The soundtrack does a very good job of bringing the viewer into the soundscape, with the surrounds playing host to action effects and ambient sounds. The score is bright and dynamic. Dialogue is clear, centred, and well-prioritized in the mix.

Besides the Blu-ray, Spirit Untamed also comes with a DVD copy and digital code and a nice collection of bonus materials that will appeal to the whole family. There’s audio commentary from director Elaine Bogan, co-director Ennio Torresan, and producer Karen Foster, a look at the story and its themes, a song from Mckenna Grace, a how to make S’mores segment, deleted and extended scenes, interviews with the voice cast, a look at drawing the characters, some more how-to segments, and four sing-along videos.

Spirit Untamed is a bit of a mixed bag. Though it has good video and audio presentations and a nice collection of cute extras, the animation detail doesn’t match up to the level of Pixar’s latest, leaning more towards the animation styles of shows currently on children’s TV programming. While it will still engage the younger members of the audience and even tug a few heartstrings, it’s not the type of movie that will enthrall the whole family and lend to repeat viewings by everyone. So with that in mind, I’d still recommend it for the youngest members of the household.