Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

4 Things Parents Should Know about Spirit Untamed

4 Things Parents Should Know about <em>Spirit Untamed</em>

Lucky Prescott is a spunky 12-year-old girl with an independent streak and a penchant for getting into trouble.

Unfortunately, her energy is too much to handle for her grandparents, who had raised her from childhood but decide to send her out west to the frontier town of Miradero, where Lucky's father lives. He hasn't seen her in 10 years.

At first, Lucky is unsure what to think about her new home in the middle of nowhere.

But then she spots a few wild horses running free, and she becomes hooked. Lucky grows fond of the horses, believing they are a lot like her.

She even bonds with one specific Mustang, naming it "Spirit." But will she ever bond with her dad?

"What am I supposed to call him?" she asks.

The new film Spirit Untamed – based on the Netflix series – tells the story of Lucky. It stars Isabela Merced (Dora and the Lost City of Gold) as Lucky and Jake Gyllenhaal (Spider-Man: Far from Home) as her father, Jim Prescott.

Here are four things parents should know:

Photo courtesy: ©Dreamworks

Lucky in Spirit Untamed, It's Lucky's backstory

1. It's Lucky's Backstory

Fans of the Netflix series Spirit: Riding Free likely will notice a few parallels in the story. That's because Spirit Untamed covers some of the same elements from Season 1, including Lucky's journey on a train to Miradero and her infatuation with horses during the ride.

Spirit Untamed is an origin story that shows how Lucky became the spunky girl that spawned an eight-season Netflix series.

"It's sort of a next chapter installment of the Spirit universe," co-director Elaine Bogan told Crosswalk. "Our story goes back to the pilot episode of the TV series. We wanted to take a little bit of a deeper, more cinematic dive into all of the character arcs and the emotion – and … invite new audience members in but also appeal to all the already existing fans out there. There are a lot of them."

The movie diverges a bit from the television series, too. For example, in the first episode of Riding Free, Lucky's father accompanies her on the train. In the movie, she doesn't meet her father until she arrives in Miradero. The movie also gives us a brief look at Lucky's home life under her grandparents. There, we learn why she was placed on the train to Miradero.

Photo courtesy: ©Dreamworks

a woman on a Horse, it has a family-centric plot

2. It Has a Family-Centric Plot

Like the train that brought Lucky out west, Spirit Untamed is a film set on two tracks. The first track spotlights Lucky's passion for horses. The second track, though, examines her family history. We learn that Lucky was raised by her grandparents after her mother died. Her father, not ready to be a single dad in the wilderness, sent her cross-country to live with his parents.

When the movie begins, 10 years have passed since Jim Prescott – now a wealthy railroad tycoon – has seen her. At first, their relationship is strained.

Eventually, though, they form a tight bond. The film has a happy, family-centric ending.

Spirit Untamed demonstrates the positive influence parents can have on their children – a truth grounded firmly in Scripture. Lucky longs to know more about the mother she never knew, even though Lucky herself is a spitting image of her. (Lucky's mom performed horse-riding stunts.)

Meanwhile, Lucky and her father regret their time apart but pledge to make up for it in the future.

In the end, Lucky embraces a home life on the frontier with the dad she never knew – but the dad she now loves.

Photo courtesy: ©Dreamworks

Kids riding horses in Spirit Untamed, it's all about nature

3. It's All about Nature

Don't overlook the scenic, natural backdrop for Spirit Untamed. It's a film about a girl who loves the outdoors and who enjoys everything about frontier life: wide-open spaces, a big blue sky, and wild horses all around. If the sun's out, then Lucky is … outside.

Perhaps Spirit Untamed will encourage today's screen-crazed children also to get outside and explore God's creation. Bogan, herself a lover of horses, hopes that's the case.

"I really hope that it inspires people to take a new approach and a new perspective and come back to normal into the world and have their very own adventures – and just love life," Bogan told Crosswalk.

Photo courtesy: ©Dreamworks

Lucky holding an apple and looking sad, it's 100% kid-friendly

4. It's 100 Percent Kid-Friendly

Spirit Untamed is rated PG (for a little adventure action), but it flirts with a G rating. There's no coarse language (we only hear "gosh" and "heck"), no sexuality and no major violence. The "adventure action" involves Lucky performing several death-defying actions, including climbing out of a train to get a closer look at horses and, later, jumping from one horse to another alongside a cliff.

Too many animated movies push the envelope by adding adult content. Spirit Untamed does not.

"I love that people with their children or with their families can go and watch it," Mckenna Grace (Captain Marvel, Designated Survivor), who voices Lucky's friend, Abigail, told Crosswalk. "I think that that's such a nice thing – especially [since] most of the [movies] that I do are very dark and dramatic. So [it's] very nice to be able to do something that I can watch with my friends."

Spirit Untamed is rated PG for some adventure action.

Entertainment rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Family-friendly rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Dreamworks

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.