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Tonight, I caught an advance screening of Hidalgo. The movie is supposed to be a true story about an American who enters in a three thousand mile race across the Arabian desert in the late 1800s. The film is supposed to be based upon a true story, but I don’t know how much is dramatic license and how much is factual. From the blurb:

Based on the autobiography of distance rider Frank T. Hopkins, “Hidalgo” is an epic action-adventure and one man’s journey of personal redemption. Held yearly for centuries, the Ocean of Fire — a 3,000 mile survival race across the Arabian Desert — was a challenge
restricted to the finest Arabian horses ever bred, the purest and noblest lines, owned by the greatest royal families. In 1890, an American, Hopkins, and his horse were invited to enter the race for the first time.

For starters, I’m glad that I got to go for free. This was a completely formulaic, paint-by-numbers filck. Nothing was unexpected. Hey, look, it’s the quirky comic sidekick. And over there’s the required love interest. That must be the bad guy. I’ll bet that there’s a bonding scene just at the start of the 2nd act. This movie could have been thirty minutes shorter and no one would have noticed.

I can tell when I’m bored in a film because I start to play the “where-do-I-recognize-that-actor” game (for the record, C. Thomas Howell as the opening race competitor, J. K. Simmons as Buffalo Bill, Omar Sharif as the sheik and Malcolm McDowell as a husband on an ocean liner).

The actual standout actor in this movie was the horse (or, more accurately, group of horses). Far more expressive than anyone else in the film. The horse, I cared about. The humans, not so much. It’s not a knock against the actual actors; I just don’t think they had all that much to work with.

Watch time :47

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  • agreed. i saw the sneak peek too and was glad i didn’t have to pay. the movie was a total wash. every turn and every line was predictable. the only cool scene was when Viggo was in the desert and the editors (or whoever) pulled all of the color (ie, life) out of the film and gave it that cool watery effect, making it seem like a fantasy. then, the Indian ghosts showed up and it got corny again. Bummer.