Saturday, August 27, 2005
Of Movies, Music, and Spirit
If there was one movie I could make everyone on this planet see, which would it be? If there was one movie I wish I had the heart, ingenuity, creativity, and talent to have written and directed, which would it be? Which is the one movie I feel has that perfect combination of memorable characters, an unforgettable story, inspiring values, a background score that fits the movie perfectly, and wonderful music by a great musician?
Suspense over...It’s “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”, a full-length animation film about a horse! Haven’t you heard the song, “Here I am” by Bryan Adams? Well that melodious track belongs here. This is one movie that will tug at your heart strings and set your brain cells ticking. At least, it did it for me.
This mustang is no ordinary horse. Born and let loose onto the big screen straight from the stables of the legendary DreamWorks Studios, he galloped into the Oscars with 14 nominations and 8 wins, and with Hans Zimmer for a music director and Bryan Adams writing and singing, you have a volatile combination. The animation in this movie, with such endearing expressions on the characters, makes you forget that these characters are not real, they’re drawn by human hands and computerized!
The theme that runs throughout the movie is one which I have written about before-freedom. The loss of freedom, the return to freedom. As such, this movie could fall into the category of movies like Born Free and Free Willy. This mustang’s story even reminds me of the real story, published in Reader’s Digest, about the African boy who was enslaved as a kid and escaped as an adult, risking his life, but with his spirit unbroken. To draw a parallel between the movie and real life, there are stories and stories of how humans have taken away the basic rights of other humans, right from the Nazi treatment of the Jews, to what happened recently in Sudan’s Darfur region. What about Rwanda? What about apartheid in South Africa? And what about how our very own countrymen were under British rule for over 150 years? Africans taken as slaves in America? Even men or women abused by their spouses, children abused by elders…Every time a nation, individual, or a group of people harbor the illusion that they are superior than another, that the other is created for the sole purpose of their own selfish needs, then we see freedom stripped off people, when it should be a basic given human right.
Under such circumstances, there are those who fall under the iron hand, whose backs are broken and spirits defeated. Those who give up the fight and don’t strike back. And then there are those who refuse to be beaten. Those whose souls are so resilient that nothing and noone can make them forget their true power. These are the individuals who bring the world back to its senses. That’s why I liked this mustang character so much! Whatever happened, through all the humiliation and browbeating and starvation, he refused to let anyone ride him! He remained free in his life, because he was free in spirit. That boldness and belief in himself is a value that I hope everyone remembers they have. If there was one quality I'd like future generations to imbibe, it would be that: boldness of spirit!
The songs by Bryan Adams in this movie fits the character and storyline so well that it’s difficult to imagine something better.. The song “Get off my back”, “Here I am”, and “I will always return” are my favorites. Not only are the lyrics true to the spirit of the movie, Bryan Adam’s raw vocals add an extra punch to the words that make you want to go out and buy the album at once!
If you’re reading this now, and you don’t have access to the CD/DVD or album, one good place to start would be the website- http://www.dreamworks.com/spirit. Visit it and do watch the movie. If you have kids, make sure they watch it too!