YOUNG BLACK STALLION
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Richard Romanus as BEN ISHAK
Biana G. Tamimi as NEETA
Patrick Elyas as ADEN
Gerard Rudolf as RHAMON
Ali Al Ameri as MONSOOR
Andries Rossouw as KADIR
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by: Simon Wincer
with Quentin Tarantino
BY KEVIN CARR
I was just a young boy when the original “The Black Stallion” film came out. I was a little too young to fully understand it, actually. However, it did leave an indelible impression in my mind. I will forever remember the image of the midnight stallion running on the screen.
I never read the Black Stallion books either, however I know there are people out there that lived and died by them in their youth. For these people, “Young Black Stallion” is a must see simply for its literary historical context.
“Young Black Stallion” was a film shot for Disney exclusively for IMAX theatres. Unlike films like “The Matrix,” “Star Wars” and “Batman Begins,” made-for-IMAX movies are shot on a special film using a special process. If you haven’t seen an IMAX movie, it’s something to be experienced.
IMAX film isn’t just standard 70mm film. It’s shot with special cameras with a particular aspect ratio. If it’s a fully IMAX performance, it’s more than just a standard large-format screen. We used to have an IMAX theater in my home town of Columbus, Ohio. However, it has since been converted into just a large-format screen, and we are no longer seeing the shot-for-IMAX releases. To me, a movie buff, this is a shame.
The resolution of an IMAX film is so incredible that it is almost disturbing. You see more detail in a single frame than you would in an entire hour of television programming. In fact, the detail and size is so great that shot-for-IMAX films have to be framed a certain way to avoid overwhelming the audience.
I missed “Young Black Stallion” in the IMAX theaters, but I did see the trailer several times. It is visually stunning, and even when it is shrunk down to the puny size of a television screen, it’s still worth watching.
Like most IMAX films, the story is lacking a bit. This new version of the Black Stallion tells the story of a young girl in the Middle East who tames a wild horse and uses him to enter a race in order to win back property for her family.
The story is ironically similar to “Hidalgo,” a Disney flick that came out a year or so later in the regular theaters to little fanfare. In many ways, “Young Black Stallion” is a better film because it doesn’t have the baggage of being a star vehicle and doesn’t need to stretch its story to last two hours.
Many young girls have a fascination with horses, which makes “Young Black Stallion” a good film for the pre-teen girls. Add the fact that the main character is a female, and you’ve almost got a sure thing.
Even beyond the story and film itself, there are several decent bonus features on the DVD. There are several featurettes, including a talent search for the young female lead. The movie is presented in both the original widescreen theatrical aspect ratio as well as a full frame view for television viewing.
One of the featurettes explains the IMAX format and why certain decisions are made for this type of shooting. Your pre-teen girls may not find this interesting, but your adult DVD-phile should. But the pre-teen girls may like the Black Stallion read-along with the book on the DVD itself.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. THX-certified (includes THX optimizer). Original theatrical aspect ration (1.78:1), enhanced for 16×9 televisions. Fullscreen (1.33:1). French and Spanish language tracks. French subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.