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"RUNNING FREE"
(2000) (Chase Moore, Jan Decleir) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Heavy *Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor *Moderate Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Children's: A young horse must learn how to survive on his own in the desert after all of the humans abandon an African mining town at the onset of WWI.
PLOT:
It's 1914 and Lucky (voice of LUKAS HAAS) is a young colt born aboard a German supply steamer headed for an African mining town. Separated from his mother upon landfall, Lucky wanders through the town, noting how most of the other horses are used as slave labor. Things look up for the perplexed foal when Richard (CHASE MOORE), an orphaned stable boy, adopts him.

The mining boss (JAN DECLEIR) isn't pleased about the colt sharing stable space with his purebred steed, Caesar, but lets Richard get away with it, much to the chagrin of the boss' young son (NICHOLAS TRUEB). Although Lucky immediately realizes that Caesar doesn't like him, and that the stallion runs the farm, the colt falls for his exuberant daughter, Beauty. Things continue to look up when Lucky and his mom are reunited, but the reunion is brief and tragically sad.

Things get worse when the outbreak of WWI suddenly causes the townspeople to flee the locale, thus leaving the animals to fend for themselves. Since Caesar still rules the farm, Lucky decides to head out into the desert, looking for an alleged lake where he could live. With the aid of a young native, Nyka (MARIA GEELBOOI), Lucky learns the methods of surviving in such a foreboding and hostile environment, all while waiting for the day when he can return to the town, confront Caesar, and making everything right once again.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're really into horses, they might, but since this film isn't animated and doesn't have "Babe"-like talking animals, many kids might not have much interest in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHASE MOORE plays a young orphan who works in the mining boss' stable, and cares for and befriends Lucky.
  • JAN DECLEIR plays that mining boss who's often mean toward Richard, kicks him in one scene and takes his belt to him in another. He also briefly smokes cigars.
  • MARIA GEELBOOI plays a young native who befriends Richard and Lucky and shows them how to survive in the wild.
  • LUCKY is the young horse who tries to make sense of his new and strange world and shows perseverance and pluck in doing so.
  • CAESAR plays the herd's self-proclaimed leader who instantly dislikes Lucky and is responsible for the death of the colt's mother.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this G-rated drama that's aimed at kids. Despite the rating, some scenes may be intense, suspenseful or even scary to some kids, dependent, of course, on the viewer's age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material.

    Included among them are scenes (accompanied by some suspenseful/ominous music) of horses fighting (including one being mortally injured - in a non-graphic way), biplanes bombing the mining town (with no apparent injuries, but people panicking and hurriedly evacuating the town), and the way in which the mining boss treats Richard (kicking him once and taking a belt to him - the latter is only heard).

    While many of the characters are real horses, they're given something approximating human personalities (mainly through one's voice over narration). As such, one horse has a bad attitude toward the protagonist who must also cope with being separated from his mother at a young age, as well as her later death.

    Beyond that and some very brief drinking and smoking, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of other major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A visiting colonel pours himself a drink.
  • Some townspeople have drinks.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a tiny bit of what looks like blood on a bandage around Lucky's leg.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The boss man usually has both toward Richard (whom he kicks in one scene and belts in another) and Lucky.
  • As given something of a human personality, Caesar has both for not liking Lucky and being responsible for his mother's death.
  • The boss's son apparently doesn't like Richard and rats him out to his father for using Caesar's medicine to help Lucky who's ill.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some scenes and/or aspects of the film may be unsettling, suspenseful and possibly scary to some kids, all dependant on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material that includes:
  • Lucky talks about (at the beginning and via voice over) not knowing where they were going or why.
  • We see various horses trying to swim through ocean waves toward the shore. We then see that Lucky has fallen behind and see his mother panicking (as much as a horse can - more implied by the narrator) and searching for him along the coast but not finding him.
  • We see Lucky in a boxcar and note that he's very weak and ill (also noted by the voice over narration that says he couldn't hold on much longer).
  • As some suspenseful music plays, Caesar charges Lucky's mom, chasing the mare around a fenced area until he eventually rears up several times and hits here with his hooves, knocking her to the ground (where she doesn't get up -- we later learn that she dies from this attack, and we see her body on the ground).
  • Although we don't see the two together in the same shot, we learn that a sidewinder-type snake bit Lucky on the leg and that he's ill from this encounter.
  • Learning that Richard has used Caesar's medicine to help Lucky, the mining boss removes his belt and starts wrapping it around his hand. We then hear sounds of him belting Richard, but we don't see the actual impact. After that and upon his son saying Richard really deserved that, the boss slaps his son on the back of his head.
  • Biplanes fly over the mining town, shooting their machine guns and dropping bombs that destroy some buildings and catch others on fire (and cause the townspeople to panic and quickly evacuate). Seeing this, Richard races into a burning stable to free the horses from the fire.
  • A lioness chases Lucky through the desert.
  • A grown-up Lucky and Caesar briefly fight for control over the herd.
  • A horse charges a man as if he's going to attack him (and the man falls backwards and tries to crawl out of the way as the horse seemingly tries to step on him).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Carried by soldiers.
  • Canon: Wheeled in by some soldiers as WWI approaches.
  • Biplanes: Used to attack the mining town and drops bombs on the place (as well as briefly firing machine guns at it).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You (useless) little runt."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful/ominous music plays at various times during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see brief glimpses of most of two native boys' bare butts in their traditional garb.
  • SMOKING
  • The mine boss smokes a cigar several times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Richard is an orphan.
  • Although they're horses, the equine characters are given personalities of sorts, especially through the human voice over narration from Lucky. As such, Lucky comments about he and his mother being separated and then about his mother's later death.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Lucky's perseverance and ability to survive on his own.
  • Why Caesar disliked Lucky and his mother so much.
  • The fact that Richard is an orphan.
  • The outbreak of WWI and how it affected those in Africa.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The mining boss kicks Richard to make him move out of the way.
  • As some suspenseful music plays, Caesar charges Lucky's mom, chasing the mare around a fenced area until he eventually rears up several times and hits the mare with his hooves, knocking her to the ground (where she doesn't get up -- we later learn that she dies from this attack, and we see her body on the ground).
  • Learning that Richard has used Caesar's medicine to help Lucky, the mining boss removes his belt and starts wrapping it around his hand. We then hear sounds of him belting Richard, but we don't see the actual impact. After that and upon his son saying Richard really deserved that, the boss slaps his son on the back of his head.
  • Biplanes fly over the mining town, shooting their machine guns and dropping bombs that destroy some buildings and catch others on fire.
  • A horned animal briefly butts Lucky to indicate that it doesn't want him following it anymore.
  • A grown-up Lucky and Caesar briefly fight for control over the herd. As such, they run around, bang into, and bite at each other. They also rear up, exchanging some blows by hoof, until Lucky wins and drives Caesar away.



  • Reviewed May 26, 2000 / Posted June 2, 2000

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