Spirit Untamed

image for Spirit Untamed

Short takes

Not suitable under 4; parental guidance to 7 (violence, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Spirit Untamed
  • a review of Spirit Untamed completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 June 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 4 Not suitable due to violence and themes.
Children aged 4–7 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes.
Children over the age of 7 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Spirit Untamed
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes and violence
Length: 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Following the death of her mother, Lucky (voiced by Isabela Merced) is sent to live with her Grandfather (voiced by Joe Hart) and Aunt Cora (voiced by Julianne Moore). Lucky grows up in a mansion wanting nothing more than to escape her tutors and run and play with the other children. When she accidentally ruins her Grandfather’s attempt to run for Governor, Lucky is sent back to her father (voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal). On the train, Lucky glimpses a herd of wild horses and is immediately taken with Spirit, the wild mustang leading the herd. When Spirit is captured by rough horse thieves and kept in a nearby corral, Lucky attempts to befriend him, much to her father’s displeasure. With the support of her new friends, Abigail (voiced by McKenna Grace) and Prue (voiced by Marsai Martin), Lucky slowly wins Spirit over and when the rest of his herd is taken by thieves, Lucky and Spirit lead a rescue mission in a daring attempt to get them all back. The journey they embark on will test their strength and force them to face their fears, but it will also reveal the truth of who they really are and all they can accomplish.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a parent; Animal cruelty; Forging new relationships; Letting go and finding yourself.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Lucky’s mother is killed in a horse-riding accident.
  • A squirrel falls on Lucky’s grandfather’s face.
  • Horse thieves kick Spirit with spurs and repeatedly tie him with ropes, leaving him without access to water.
  • There is an explosion in the barn at Lucky’s house. Her father also stores dynamite around his home.
  • A gang of menacing horse thieves round up Spirit and his family, aggressively hitting the horses as they force them into a train.
  • Lucky is kicked in the face and is nearly hit by a train.
  • Lucky and Spirit don’t make a jump over a large ravine and plummet down into the rocky bottom below.
  • Lucky dreams that she kicks a horse thief in the face and then kicks three of his men off the roof of a train while trying to save the horses.
  • Three men are thrown or kicked into a pole.
  • A man threatens Lucky with a crowbar.
  • Lucky and the horses must jump off a ship into the water in order to save themselves from the gang of horse thieves.
  • Cora repeatedly hits the thieves over the head with an oar.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Lucky disobeys her father and heads out at night to see if she can find Spirit. She walks through a dark, mist filled, forest while ominous music plays. Creepy sounds penetrate the night and Lucky begins to see things, like the silhouette of a wolf, in the trees.
  • Abigail tells of some of the scary creatures they may encounter on their journey and makes creepy silhouettes against a backdrop to illustrate her points, ending with evil sounding laughter.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Spirit runs off with Lucky clinging to his back. He races through a rocky ravine and is about to jump over a large gap when Lucky leaps off his back. Her friends grasp her hands just as she is about to plummet off the edge. While not particularly scary, the impending sense of peril may concern some children.
  • Later the same thing happens again but they don’t clear the jump and fall into the rocky ravine. Viewers are left to wonder if they are still alive. The moments before discovering they are ok may be distressing for some children.
  • Lucky’s mother is killed while trick riding. Her death is depicted through the eyes of her husband, as he and Lucky watch the show. At first, Lucky finds it difficult to get to know her father when she is reintroduced to his life. While not scary, these scenes may be distressing to some children who have experienced loss themselves.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • One use of the word, “Heck”.

In a nutshell

Spirit Untamed is an animated adventure from Dreamworks. A prequel of sorts that tells the tale of how Lucky came to the frontier town of Miradero and how she and Spirit became friends. While it may lack interest for older audiences it is suitable for all children except those under 5 and parental guidance is recommended to 7.

The main messages from this movie are to be brave; to stand tall; to believe in yourself; to know who you are; and to never give up.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Friendship
  • Determination.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Disobeying parents.
  • Going off on your own without telling anyone where you are.
  • Taking serious matters into your own hands.