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.
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
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
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,