SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON is a refreshingly old-fashioned and gentle tale of a mustang stallion struggling to remain free in the old West. The film is a seamless blend of traditional hand-drawn and computer-generated animation. Opening with an impressive bird’s eye pan of the Grand Canyon, from the viewpoint of an eagle, SPIRIT captures the unspoiled beauty of the land. The animals in this particular animated film do not talk, and Matt Damon provides effective, sparse narration from the perspective of Spirit, an adventurous young stallion who is captured by the U.S. Army. But Spirit will not let the soldiers saddle and ride him. An authoritarian colonel (voiced by James Cromwell) is determined to break Spirit, at one point starving the horse to weaken him. A Lakota prisoner, Little Creek (voiced by Daniel Studi) is impressed with the horse, and helps him to escape. Little Creek can’t break the horse either. But the two learn to respect each other, and Spirit meets Rain, Little Creek’s horse, and falls in love. The score was written by Hans Zimmer, and Bryan Adams wrote and performed the sweet, simple songs on the soundtrack. SPIRIT is a great-looking and lovingly crafted children’s film.