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"...there aren't enough interesting events in the film to make it worth recommending.  If the cinematography had been better, it would have had that going for it, at least, but...it doesn't."




The Masked Reviewer

What, you may be asking yourself, the hell is a Hidalgo?  It's a pony!  And Lord of the Rings star Viggo Moretensen stars in this 133 minute horse racing movie.

Sure, there was another recent horse racing movie not too long ago called Seabiscuit, but that horse only raced around a little track.  Hidalgo races 3,000 miles across Saudia Arabia and Iraq, and Viggo Mortensen stops along the way to fight bad guys.  Not only that, but Hidalgo is based on a true story!  Oh wait, so was Seabiscuit.

Set in 1890, one can't help but wonder why there were characters wearing sunglasses.  Sure, they've been in existence since the 1500's, but they weren't commonly worn until the 1930's. 

So it's based on a true story.  Does that matter?  It seems like such a Hollywoodized project that maybe the names are real...but that seems like about it.  Perhaps there was a 3,000 mile race.  Maybe an American won.  We don't really ever get a feel for what the true parts were, and how closely those events were followed. 

But the important thing is that Omar Sharif is in this movie.  He plays a sheik.  He wants Viggo Mortensen to race Hidalgo (the horse) in the big race.  He offers Viggo diamonds, at which point Viggo jumps to 3 no trump.

If you've seen any photos from the movie, you may notice that Viggo Mortensen seems to be wearing Larry Storch's hat from "F-Troop".  Not many people can look good in that headwear, as proven by this film.

There aren't a lot of big name actors in the film, so unless you're a huge Viggo Mortensen or Omar Sharif fan, you're unlikely to recognize most of the rest of the cast (especially the horses, who are all first-timers, though Hidalgo is in talks for the upcoming Mr. Ed movie).

For whatever reason, the filmmakers tried to make Hidalgo (the horse) an important character in the movie.  As a result, there are a lot of reaction shots by the horse to things that people say, as though the horse understood everything and was giving a comical "Whaaaa?" look to the camera.  There haven't been so many close up shots of horse faces since Omar Sharif was in Funny Lady. 

The film is another epic.  The Masked Reviewer believes that an epic film should be chock full of dazzling cinematography.  However, even though there are a number of impressive settings (vast deserts, rolling green hills, etc) the cinematography is quite a let down.  There are a few nice shots of wild horses running along, but for the most part, the picture quality isn't good. 

If you love subtitles, you'll be happy to know that a lot of the dialogue is in Native American tongues as well as Arabic.  Then, for some reason, people wind up speaking English later on.  But until they do, you get to do a lot of screen reading.   If you wanted to read, you could've stayed home and read a book.

While the Masked Reviewer was watching the film, the guy next to him in the theater was making clicking noises.  Horse people (people who love horses, not half-man, half-horse creatures like the mythical centaur) sometimes will make clicking noises to get a horse to move.  It seems to serve the same purpose as saying "Giddyup" or "Hyah, mule!"  For whatever reason, whenever a horse was walking on screen, this guy would make that clicking noise, usually accompanied by a fond sigh.  Okay.  He likes horses.  Got it.  THEY CAN'T HEAR YOU.  It's a movie.  But, EVERYONE ELSE CAN HEAR YOU.  The Masked Reviewer would just like to point out that if you're watching a movie in a theater, it's highly unlikely that you are alone.  You know, it wouldn't have been that bad except for the fact that in a movie like Hidalgo, THERE ARE HORSES WALKING OR RUNNING IN ALMOST EVERY SCENE!  That's a lot of friggin' clicking.  The Masked Reviewer took solace in the fact that this guy cried like a baby at the end.  Not because it was good or something sad happened, just because he couldn't make any more clicking noises. 

The Masked Reviewer is also disturbed by the fact that Hidalgo is killed at the end of the film by the Jews.  It's very anti-semitic.

Oh, relax.  No one kills Hidalgo at the end.  Although, there are a lot of violent images, including a decapitation, a horse getting skewered on sharp sticks, and other animals getting trampled to death.  That might be a bit intense for people who are expecting  "My Little Pony".

Overall, it's not a very interesting movie.  If you love horses, you'll enjoy it because there are lots of them.  Other than that, though, Viggo Mortensen isn't exactly bursting with charisma.  He is able to carry the film, for the most part, but there aren't enough interesting events in the film to make it worth recommending.  If the cinematography had been better, it would have had that going for it, at least, but...it doesn't.


Expectation from the Title: A genetic experiment gone wrong has combined the DNA of Adolf Hitler, Salvador Dali, and Al Gore.  The resulting creature eventually finds happiness working at Starbuck's.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  The horses are very pretty.

The Pros: Nice horses, and...Larry Storch's hat.

The Cons: No bridge tips from Omar Sharif, nothing really new or interesting about the script, several nondescript characters, unexceptional acting.


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