'The Horse Whisperer' [Blu-ray]
(Robert Redford, Sam Neill, et al / Blu ray / PG-13 / (1998) 2012 / Touchstone + Disney)
Overview: After a devastating riding accident, a young girl and her beloved horse are left with serious physical and emotional scars. When her mother calls on the "Horse Whisperer" to help, she meets a rugged rancher who not only has an extraordinary gift with animals, but also an ability to enrich the lives of people around him.
Blu ray Verdict: Yes, as we now all know, Horses have feelings too! But I already knew that prior to 1998 when this Hollywood flick cam out. Years ago I read the book about the life of Monty Roberts, The man who listens to horses, a real life horse whisperer, and it is fantastic. So, back in the way when my husband brought home this film I was hoping it would be based on his life - or his methods, at least. Robert's gift is the knowledge that gentling and gaining the trust of the horse is all about the listening, not the talking even if it is a whisper.
This film, which is another story entirely, starts of with one of the most incredible opening scenes ever. Also, the relationships between the teen and her horse, girlfriend, and mother are all very real.
Unfortunately, the whole horse whispering plot was not nearly so strong. Redford did not seem to have a genuine relationship with any of his own horses, in fact none even seemed to have names. Whereas Monty, a real horse whisperer, always brought a presence of calm and confidence to horses, often Redford agitated the horse star Pilgrim using more of "tough love" methods making observers including the teen girl have to shade eyes and look away.
At one point Redford ties one of the horses legs and brings him to the ground in dog- like submission, a very unnatural, terrifying position for a horse. It made me remember one of the methods Monty's SOB father would use to break his horses, and one Monty found entirely unnecessary and harmful to a horses spirit.
If you are an animal lover looking for a film for insights on animal human relationships, look elsewhere. If you are a Robert Redford fan and enjoy scenic movies with spectacular filming, you may want to give it a try. This is it's first time on Blu ray and it looks clean, sounds wonderful, and the aspect ratios are beyond perfect. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and has been remastered into a crisp Blu ray production.