Movie Review: Hidalgo

If I could sum up Hidalgo in one word, the word would be “predictable.”

Everything pretty much plays out exactly as you would imagine it will, right down to the ending. The dang horse even whickers right when you know he’s gonna. This doesn’t make the movie un-entertaining, but there’s really no point in seeing it when you could basically stay home and figure out what happens.

The story in a nutshell is cute man and cute horse travel to distant Arabia to compete in a endurance race through the desert. While there, they go through every “fish out of water” scenario in the book, meet many aristocratic Arabians who all speak English, and have lots of adventures. There’s sultry flirtatious women, Christopher Lee-esque villans, knife fights, desert ambushes, near-castration, and even ferocious leopards. And lots and lots of panoramic shots to bring home the point that The Desert is BIG and HOT and EMPTY. And BIG, in case you forgot.

If you are a big Viggo Mortensen fan, you’ll probably want to see Hidalgo. I dunno if Viggo was intentionally going for the Gary Cooper laid-back cowboy-of-few-words thing, but I kept comparing him to Cooper throughout, and finding Viggo wanting. But hey, nobody looks good compared to Coop. Anyway, Viggo is charming and charismatic enough to carry the movie. (Which he has to, because no one else of note is in it.) People going through LOTR withdrawl will be happy to see that Viggo runs around covered with grime and speaking obscure subtitled languages in this one, too.

In short, this is a big, sentimental, “fun” adventure movie. Very good matinee material, time-killer, or something you can take your mom to. Nothing special, but compared to everything else currently in theaters, you may want to give it a chance. Beats spending two hours watching Jeezus get his butt whooped.

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