Hidalgo is listed as having a running time of 136 minutes. This is not entirely true. Hidalgo is really about 68 minutes. The other half of the
film is pure filler.
The main plotline follows Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) and his horse Hidalgo as they venture to the Middle East to take part in a
legendary race across the Arabian Desert.
Along the way he meets lots of characters, gets in some fights, rescues a girl, gets in some more fights, encounters digital cheetahs, and
runs from both a storm of locusts and one of sand. And there is the problem. Hidalgo loses sight of its point.
The film starts off promising enough, but loses its way. Towards the middle of the film it forgets about the main story and we become very
confused as to what this movie is really about. It jams in so many subplots that we forget about the main attraction: the race. It's as if the
screenwriters realized the plot was too short, and to make up for it they spliced in anything they could fit anywhere.
So we get a good beginning, end, and not much else.
Due to this, the tone of the film is unbalanced. On one hand it wants to be a serious drama, the other a light hearted action film. The humor
falls flat, the action is lame, and the serious drama is only above average.
Also, Viggo Mortensen is fine amongst an ensemble cast such as Lord of the Rings, but here he flounders. Viggo sleepwalks and mumbles
through the entire film.
But Hidalgo isn't a bad movie. It just isn't a good one.
Admittedly, the film has some genuine moments between Hopkins and his horse, but like I said, this relationship is lost in the middle of the
film. It reappears at the end, but it's too little too late.
The one constant throughout the film is the truly awesome score, composed by James Newton Howard. The action cues and dramatic music
are equally rousing and touching. It's a shame the movie could not do the same.
(Out of four)
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Written by: John Fusco
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinson, Omar
Sharif, Louise Lombard
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Music by: James Newton Howard
Released: March 5, 2004; 136 Minutes