Young Black Stallion

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Rating: G

Starring:
Richard Romanus as Ben Ishak
Biana Tamimi as Neera
Patrick Elyas as Aden
Gérard Rudolf as Rhamon
Ali Al Ameri as Mansoor
Andries Rossouw as Kadir

Special Features:
All-new 15 minute prequel, “The Sire” incorporated at beginning of the film

“Taming The Stallions” Featurette

“Finding Biana” Featurette

“Shooting In Namibia” Featurette

“Building The Cashbah” Featurette

“A Story in IMAX” Featurette

Big Black Horse Read-Along

Both Fullscreen and Widescreen formats on one disc

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1) and Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
French and Spanish Language Tracks
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 51 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“From the creators of “The Black Stallion,” and in the grand tradition of bringing favorite family classics to life, Disney presents the adventure-filled heartwarming story of “Young Black Stallion.” When courageous young Neera becomes separated from her family in the desert, she chances upon a wild colt. Together they find friendship, trust, and their way back home only to discover her family is about to lose everything! So Neera devises a daring plan to save it all by risking what she loves most — Young Black Stallion. Filled with exciting adventures and messages of friendship and loyalty, this is an outstanding movie for the entire family. And now for the first time ever, enjoy the all-new prequel to “Young Black Stallion,” created exclusively for this presentation.”

Young Black Stallion is rated G.

The Movie:
Young Black Stallion isn’t as good as its predecessors, but it is still an entertaining movie for kids and adults. This time around it is a prequel short story (for the IMAX format) showing the origins of the Black Stallion. The story is actually very similar to the first film. There’s a young kid stranded alone in the wilderness that befriends the horse then they go on to defy overwhelming odds and win a race. The only difference is that this time it’s a girl and they are in the desert. You also have the trademark beautiful shots of horses running and stunning scenery.

I didn’t see this film on the IMAX screen, but I bet that it was more impressive there. I have a feeling that the grand desert environments and the action were more stunning in the large format. IMAX requires a shorter running time, too, and I think that both helps and hurts this film. It makes the story get to the point quicker, but it also means that a lot of character development is dropped. In any case, the shorter running time means that kids are more likely to sit through it. I sat my two young kids in front of the film and they not only both enjoyed it, but they wanted to see the first Black Stallion movie.

There’s very little acting in the movie. Newcomer Biana Tamimi is good as Neera, but the horses and the backgrounds are the real stars of the movie. Namibia offers up some absolutely stunning scenery and rock formations for the movie to take place in.

This DVD version of the film also comes with a 15 minute prequel to the prequel showing the Black Stallion’s mother Gina being set free and meeting his father in the wilderness. This prequel is a bit trippy and magical as it shows the Stallion’s father literally running out of the stars, frolicking with his mother in the wilderness, then running back into the stars leaving her behind. The whole magical aspect of it seems oddly out of place with the other Black Stallion films. This prequel also includes some storyboards and early footage at the beginning to kick off the story. Obviously this wasn’t entirely completed.

The Extras:
Besides the inclusion of the prequel “The Sire”, there are a number of other bonus features included on the DVD. Here are the highlights:

“Taming The Stallions” Featurette – This short feature shows how the horses were trained for the film. It was a rush job for the trainers, yet they did an excellent job. The IMAX format presented unique challenges in that the trainers had to be way off screen to cue the horses. This is an interesting featurette.

“Finding Biana” Featurette – This feature shows how Biana Tamimi went from having no acting experience to being the main human star of this feature. They describe the whole process from seeing the casting call online to finally shooting in South Africa and Namibia.

“Shooting In Namibia” Featurette – This shows the unique challenges the crew had to face by shooting in Namibia, but it also shows all the unique and beautiful scenery they found for backdrops to the story. There were a number of logistical challenges they had to overcome and this highlights them.

“Building The Cashbah” Featurette – The building set they used in the movie is shown here. They talk about having travel into the wilderness and the challenges they had getting materials out there for construction.

“A Story in IMAX” Featurette – Shooting in IMAX presents a lot of unique challenges and this describes them. They have noisy cameras, pictures that pick up incredible detail, and other issues they don’t have on a standard movie. From a technical perspective this is quite interesting.

Big Black Horse Read-Along – This is a read-along of the original Black Stallion story. This is the story that the first film was based on. It will make you nostalgic for the first movie for sure.

The Bottom Line:
If you like The Black Stallion or you simply love horses, I think you’ll enjoy Young Black Stallion. Adults will appreciate the scenery and animals while kids will enjoy the story.

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