Written by Jeanne Rosenberg, based on the novel by Walter Farley and Steven Farley
Directed by Simon Wincer
Starring Richard Romanus, Biana Tamimi, Patrick Elyas, GÃ©rard Rudolf, Ali Al Ameri, and Andries Rossouw
- “Taming the Stallions” featurette
- Big Black Horse readalong
- “Finding Biana” featurette
- “Shooting in Namibia” featurette
- “Building the Casbah” featurette
- A Story in Imax
Released by: Disney Home Entertainment
My Advice: Stick with the original.
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Wow, this movie takes way too long to get started. The problem is that even after all the time you spent getting into the movie, there’s really nothing on the other end to make it worth your while to stick out the doldrums. Sure the scenery and the horses are beautiful, but that does not a movie make. Not even an IMAX movie. This movie was shot in IMAX for Disney, but it just didn’t work out like they’d hoped: sure, Tamimi is cute and she’s got a great way with horses, but she just couldn’t carry the movie all by herself.
The DVD has a lot of fluff on it, and no, I don’t mean lint. First of all, when you first put the disc in your machine, choose carefully which format you would like to view. Move the selection around a few times to make sure you are choosing Widescreen like a good videophile. If you choose incorrectly, you’ll have to take the disc out of your machine and put it back in and choose again. Once you have committed to this first choice, there is no other way to change your mind. That sucks. Royal.
From the main menu, you have the option to play the original theatrical release or the same movie with a new bonus opening scene. The scene is pretty much nothing. It shows how the Black Stallion was conceived and born. No, it doesn’t show horse sex. Supposedly, this horse was sired by the stars and all that rot. It’s a fantasy creation of that…ummm…celestial procreation. I’m going to leave that alone now before I get in trouble.
There are several featurettes on the disc. The first is a short look at the casting of Tamimi in the lead role. They did a world-wide search for some young woman who was talented on a horse and somewhat talented as an actress as well. I think they did a good job and if this movie doesn’t ruin her career, we might have a chance at seeing her in something else. [Side Note: As of this writing, the IMDB shows this movie as her only credit and it’s from 2003. Here’s hoping.]
The next featurette is about shooting in Namibia and it is conveniently titled “Shooting in Namibia”. There is much discussion with the crew about shooting on location in a desert. You know, the typical stuff: how hot it is (in both Celsius and Fahrenheit), how hard it was on the crew and the equipment, etc. Next up is “Building the Casbah”. It’s a featurette on the construction and dressing of one of the primary sets. I searched the DVD, but there is no “Rocking the Casbah” featurette. Sorry to disappoint. As with most IMAX movies, there is usually a featurette that deals with the differences of shooting in IMAX versus traditional formats. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. The last featurette is called “Taming the Stallions”. You guessed it, it’s about working with horses on the set. The only piece of information that is relatively interesting is that these aren’t your traditional movie horses. Nope, these were bought in South Africa and trained on site. There, I saved you some time.
Finally, there is a feature on the disc called the Big Black Horse Read-Along. It’s basically a child’s storybook in DVD format. There are illustrations on every page and you use your remote control to page through the “book”. It’s underscored with some bits from the movie. What’s neat about this is that you have the option to either read the book yourself or to have the book narrated for you. It’s narrated by a young child and it just plays for you if you choose this option. Oh yeah, as it is narrated, the word being spoken highlights in red for your child to follow along.
All in all, if you have the hankering for a good horse movie, I would recommend that you either rent the original Black Stallion or maybe read the original books. But if your kid just can’t get enough of the noble beasts, sure, rent it.