The idea of having an adorable young horsey in the lead role is sure to
please animal lovers and tykes, but don"t expect this
sweet-verging-on-sappy family flick to start a stampede at the box
Our four-hoofed hero is Lucky, a plucky brown colt shipped to World War
I era South Africa to work at a mine. Though loved by a devoted boy
(Chase Moore), Lucky faces danger in the form of less-sympathetic humans
and Caesar, the fearsome black stallion that dominates the other horses.
Events conspire to force the protagonist into the open desert, where he
must learn to survive if he"s ever going to find his place in the world.
If Oscars were given out for animal performances, the various horses
portraying Lucky at different ages and the magnificent stallion playing
Caesar would certainly rate nominations. A majestic oryx and a
precocious pair of lion cubs make scene-stealing cameos. The humans in
the cast can"t hope to compete with the furred competition, though Maria
Geelbooi makes a strong impression as a noble young tribeswoman. The
least effective element is Lucas Haas" voiceover, inexplicably
American-accented, narrating Lucky"s thoughts in a manner that almost
invariably comes across as corny.
Russian helmer Sergei Bodrov records some breathtaking images of the
animals and desert, but he has less success trying to build momentum
with the loosely structured, episodic storyline. At times -- especially
during the action scenes -- the filmmakers are obviously working around
what real animals will and won"t do (the final fight between Lucky and
Caesar in particular cries out for some Hollywood-style animatronic
With its painfully earnest tone, lack of adult-aimed humor and heavy
reliance on animal cuteness, this one"s strictly for kids.