Hidalgo

Hidalgo

4.0 25
Director: Joe Johnston

Cast: Joe Johnston, Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Louise Lombard

     
 

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Actor Viggo Mortensen made his first starring appearance in a film after his breakthrough performance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with this period adventure. Frank T. Hopkins (Mortensen) is a U.S. Cavalry officer who earned a reputation as one of the fastest and most daring riders in the West; however, after taking part in the bloody massacre at WoundedSee more details below

Overview

Actor Viggo Mortensen made his first starring appearance in a film after his breakthrough performance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with this period adventure. Frank T. Hopkins (Mortensen) is a U.S. Cavalry officer who earned a reputation as one of the fastest and most daring riders in the West; however, after taking part in the bloody massacre at Wounded Knee, Hopkins becomes disenchanted with the Cavalry, and once his hitch is up, he takes a job as a rider with a seedy touring Wild West show. During an engagement in New York, Hopkins meets Aziz (Adam Alexi-Malle), an associate of wealthy Bedouin Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif), who knows of Hopkins' talents and wants him to take part in "The Ocean of Fire," an annual 3,000-mile desert horse race running from Arabia to Iraq. Hopkins accepts the invitation and sails to the Middle East with his trusty mustang Hidalgo without knowing just what he's getting himself into. Once he arrives, Hopkins learns that the punishing race course claims the lives of nearly half its contestants, and that most of his competitors ride pure-bred Arabian stallions and do not regard Hidalgo and his master as worthy adversaries. Temporarily exiled to a land where freedom eludes the multitudes and class and wealth define one's fate, Hopkins finds himself riding for both honor and principle, with the support of Riyadh and his beautiful, headstrong daughter, Jazira (Zuleikha Robinson), though the Sheikh's nephew Katib (Silas Carson) is equally determined to see Hopkins go down in defeat. Hidalgo was directed by Joe Johnston, who previously worked with animals on the run in Jumanji and Jurassic Park III.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A mixture of Indiana Jones and Lawrence of Arabia seasoned with old-fashioned horse opera, this stirring adventure movie falls just short of "classic" designation but warrants several viewings for its lavish production values and ebullient action sequences. Purportedly based on the real-life exploits of one Frank T. Hopkins (played here by Viggo Mortensen), Hidalgo takes place in 1890, by which time the former cavalry dispatch rider and champion endurance rider has been reduced to working in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Hopkins is challenged by Sheik Riyadh (Omar Sharif) to compete against the finest Arabian stallions in "the Ocean of Fire" -- a 3,000-mile race across the blazing Middle Eastern desert. Hopkins and his compact mustang aren't given much chance of finishing the race, much less winning it, but a competing English noblewoman (Louise Lombard) arranges to sabotage the American, just in case. Joe Johnston is no stranger to high adventure, having directed Jurassic Park III and The Rocketeer, and he imbues the material with thematic and pictorial flourishes worthy of the most memorable big-screen epics. Standout sequences include a breathtaking attempt by Hopkins to outrun a raging sandstorm and his thrilling rescue of Riyadh's kidnapped daughter (Zuleikha Robinson) from bloodthirsty Bedouins. The sober, brooding quality that Mortensen brings to most of his roles is particularly apt for Hopkins, a freedom-loving loner haunted by the abuse of Indians he witnessed while riding for the U.S. Cavalry. Sharif's fine performance invariably invites comparison to his supporting turn in 1962's Lawrence, and we're happy to report that he's every bit as effective in this film. While Hidalgo plainly lacks that hard-to-define something that separates the classic from the merely good, it succeeds magnificently as invigorating escapist entertainment -- and there's certainly nothing ignoble about that.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Its producers would love nothing more than for their film to be compared to Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but while it's got plenty of sand and Omar Sharif in a shora, this action-adventure is no Lawrence. It has neither the trademark scope nor bracingly flinty characterizations of David Lean, nor does it even have the cinematography of another similar film, The Black Stallion (1979). Despite this, Hidalgo (2004) is a surprisingly fun, brisk adventure. Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut, and sometimes even the Hollywood system gets one right. In this case, the lucky parties are the homogenized corporate culture of Disney, mixed with the former effects-guy milieu of Joe Johnston, blended with the faux-stirring histrionics of screenwriter John Fusco. (For an Italian guy from Connecticut, Fusco must be really into horses -- his last film was 2002's wretchedly titled Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). Somehow, it all works out, probably in no small part to rapid-fire editing and a commendably go-for-broke performance from Viggo Mortensen, who must be a little saddle sore after this and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but persuasively plays a fairly dumb cowboy who nevertheless trumps a variety of goofy, central-casting baddies by employing his all-American horse sense. It's made to be rented, seen on cable, or caught on an in-flight feature, but Hidalgo fulfills its humble ambitions, and that's more than you can say for a lot of other movies that spill from the maw of the Hollywood machine.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/03/2004
UPC:
0786936228151
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Touchstone / Disney

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Viggo Mortensen Frank T. Hopkins
Omar Sharif Sheikh Riyadh
Louise Lombard Lady Anne Davenport
Saïd Taghmaoui Prince Bin al Reeh
Peter Mensah Jaffa
Malcolm McDowell Actor
J.K. Simmons Buffalo Bill Cody
Zuleikha Robinson Jazira
Adam Alexi-Malle Aziz
Silas Carson Katib
Adoni Maropis Sakr
Harsh Nayyar Yusef
Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman Chief Eagle Horn
Elizabeth Berridge Annie Oakley
Victor Talmadge Rau Rasmussen
Frank Collison Texas Jack
Jerry Hardin Nate Salisbury
C. Thomas Howell Preston Webb
David Midthunder Black Coyote
Sven Ole Thorsen Actor

Technical Credits
Joe Johnston Director
Nate Bruckner Associate Producer
Patricia Carr Co-producer
Kevin Constant Art Director
Robert Dalva Editor
Mary H. Ellis Sound/Sound Designer
William M. Elvin Asst. Director
Nancy Foy Casting
John Fusco Screenwriter
Julie Hanks Associate Producer
Gregory Scott Hooper Set Decoration/Design
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Industrial Light & Magic Animator
Shelly Johnson Cinematographer
Jeffrey Kurland Costumes/Costume Designer
Josh Lusby Set Decoration/Design
Luigi Quintili Art Director
Barry Robison Production Designer
Chris Salvaterra Associate Producer
Casey Silver Producer
Don Zepfel Executive Producer

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