Racing Stripes


Bruce Greenwood as Nolan Walsh
Hayden Panettiere as Channing Walsh
Gary Bullock as John Cooper
Wendie Malick as Clara Dalrymple
M. Emmet Walsh as Woodzie
Frankie Muniz as Stripes (voice)
Mandy Moore as Sandy (voice)
Michael Clarke Duncan as Clydesdale (voice)
Jeff Foxworthy as Reggie (voice)
Joshua Jackson as Trenton’s Pride (voice)
Snoop Dogg as Lightning (voice)
Joe Pantoliano as Goose (voice)
Michael Rosenbaum as Ruffshodd (voice)
Steve Harvey as Buzz (voice)
David Spade as Scuzz (voice)
Fred Dalton Thompson as Sir Trenton (voice)
Dustin Hoffman as Tucker (voice)
Whoopi Goldberg as Franny (voice)
Jansen Panettiere as Young Stripes (voice)
Frankie Manriquez as Young Ruffshodd (voice)
Kyle Alcazar as Young Pride (voice)

Racing Stripes is a cute movie. It does not try to be much more than light family fare, and it succeeds. With a Babe meets the Black Stallion, or more accurately Babe as the Black Stallion feel to it there is something there for almost everyone.

Channing Walsh (Hayden Panettiere) convinces her father (Bruce Greenwood) to keep the young zebra colt (voiced by Frankie Muniz) that he finds in the middle of the road. Stripes grows up thinking that he is a horse, a funny colored one, but still a horse. With a racetrack just down the hill from the farm, he is determined to one day race against the best.

The trailers are a bit misleading for the movie with the two fly characters getting a lot of screen time. However in the movie, their role is fairly minor and are used mostly as sporadic comic relief. The main story is a sappy, but sweet, fish out of water tale. With the exception of a couple crude jokes by the flies, the movie is clean and safe for everyone. Clean and safe does not mean uninteresting. There is a fair amount of action and a lot of humor that is not aimed over the heads of the children, though adults will also appreciate it.

The acting by Hayden Panettiere is one of the highlights of the film. She conveys a love and conviction for Stripes that is heartwarming. The rest of the live actors support the film well. The real stars are the animals, and they come across very naturally, in spite of their speech.

Technically, the movie is solid Hollywood. The production values are consistently good and the cinematography is lovely. The technology for making animals speak has improved, and they do not look unnatural when they do it. The score is a mix of classical and contemporary music that fits well together.

Who should see this movie? Adults with children under the age of about 12. The kids should be entertained by the zebra race and silly humor, but there are several nice side stories about the love between a girl and her father, a girl and her horse, and two young people (well, horse and zebra). If you are looking for deep insight or violent action, you will have to go elsewhere. As long as you can sit back and be a child for an hour and a half, you should be able to have a good time, or at least not regret going to the movie with your kids.