Given that this film is, at its base level, a movie catering to little girls who love horses, and that it features a score by third-rate soft rocker Bryan Adams, this is a surprisingly well-done, even beautiful film. The animation is amazingly beautiful, the movie is entrancingly atmospheric throughout, and while some found the film ‘boring’, I find the idea of a kids’ movie being a quiet, atmospheric mood piece rather commendable and daring. Remember that there was another famous animated film that relied on gorgeous animation and atmosphere rather than conventional storytelling, and a lot of people called it boring, too, but now it’s a canonized classic…you might have heard of it, it was called Fantasia. Granted, this film isn’t a Fantasia-level masterpiece, but it’s almost as different from your standard kids’ movie as Fantasia was. Apart from the occasional inner monologue delivered in voice-over (probably added to avoid confusing the target audience as to what is actually going on), Spirit does not speak and is barely anthropomorphized at all, and the film’s overall tone and style brings more to mind a kid-friendly version of a Jack London novel than the average kids’ film of the period. Granted, the movie’s overall treatment of the human characters, and especially the fact that every single sympathetic human is Native American, does feature a little bit of ‘Four legs good, two legs bad’ ideology, but that was kind of a given for kids’ movies about animals at the time, so it seems a bit petty to harp on it. As for Adams’ music, it’s surprisingly good, certainly much better than Barry Manilow or Phil Collins’ attempts at scoring animated movies. The standouts are “Here I Am”, “I Will Always Return”, the heartbreaking “Call Of the Bugle” and the thrilling rocker “You Can’t Take Me”, but the entire score compliments the film’s atmosphere beautifully. I ended up enjoying this film far more than I expected to, and if you’ve got the patience to appreciate a film that’s more about atmosphere and beautiful visuals than conventional storytelling, I highly recommend checking it out.