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Hidalgo (2004)

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 HIDALGO
 
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Screenwriter: John Fusco
Starring: Viggo Mortenson, Omar Sharif

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 AKA
"Gone with the Desert Storm"

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SUMMARY:

Set in the era of North American History when the Native American population finds itself dwindling into the past and continually moving across the country in hopes of surviving, "Hidalgo" is the story of Frank Hopkins, an American cowboy who is half-Yankee, half-Cherokee. Throughout his life, he has never felt like he truly belonged anywhere, and perhaps that is why he has formed such a strong relationship with a mixed breed horse by the name of Hidalgo.

Hopkins has found himself in a deadbeat job with "Buffalo Bill's Rodeo Show", and faces the facts that nothing will ever be better than it is now, except the fact that he gets to race occassionally. However, the village he was born in is soon attacked by soldiers, leaving few alive. Taking the advice of a Cherokee friend, Hopkins is determined to follow his heart, and soon accepts the challenge of a race across the world in Arabia, which no foreign has attended before. Never having lost a race, Frank and Hidalgo embark on an adventure that will take them across hundreds of miles of desert, facing desert storms, assassins, dangerous challengers, and much more. Together, Frank Hopkins and Hidalgo learn that in order to survive this race, they must let go of what the world determines them to be because of their origens, and find out what their true destiny is to become.


POSITIVE ELEMENTS:

Frank Hopkins shares a compassion for the Native Americans of his land, standing up for their rights when no other will.

The issue of our finding who we truly are is prominent in the movie, and plays a key role in the development of the characters. It is an issue that we all must face daily. We can't listen to who the world tells us we are, but listen for God's true calling in our lives.

Also, many of the characters have high moral ideals and a true loyalty to each other, which is admirable in anyone. Frank Hopkins stops to aid a competitor from sinking in quicksand, despite his demands to let Allah's Will be done.

Very few obscene words are used, and when they are, they are mostly Old Western uses, never straying to a highly offensive mode.

NEGATIVE ELEMENTS:

The violence in this movie keeps it from being the film the entire family could enjoy, giving reason for its PG-13. While most of it is offscreen and done tastefully, sometimes it can be intense in nature.

The Native American aspect of this movie may be good for showing taht we cannot have prejudices against those who are of different races, but sometimes it can be taken to the extreme to show some Native American mysticism (magic and superstition). One scene near the end finds Frank Hopkins reviving himself to a Native American chant, but I suppose that one may look on it as himself finding the strength to go on and become what he knows he can be rather than finding power through the spirits. It all depends on your opinion, though.

CONSENSUS:

A great film for entertainment, "Hidalgo" does not dissappoint. While I found some of the character development to be flawed, such as teh filmmaker's assumption that we would find Frank Hopkins to automatically be our hero, this could be easily forgiven. However, some dealings with the Native American tradition of spirits is present, and some unneeded violence, so I would definitely reccomend this movie to ages 12 and up. While Hidalgo may be a wonderful film to enjoy, viewers should consider the maturity of those present for the movie before they sit in the saddle of this wild desert race.