Spirit Untamed is a 2021 animated film produced and animated by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures, directed by Elaine Bogan and co-directed by Ennio Torresan Jr in their feature directional debuts, this is the second Spirit film to be released, with the first being Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The movie is more based on its Netflix spin-off show, Spirit: Riding Free rather than the original.
After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious spirit. When a heartless wrangler plans to capture Spirit and his herd, Lucky and her new friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse that forever changed her life.
- It's basically a "babified" version of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, considering it's based on the Netflix spin-off series Spirit Riding Free.
- The characters aren't even that likable for the most part, as most of them come off as inconsistent or incompetent, notably Abigail who is flanderized in this movie to an annoying jerk who always abuses her little brother. Most of them are also very bland, forgettable, and one-dimensional.
- Lucky herself isn't even likable as she caused the problem to happen in the first place as to why she and her aunt had to move somewhere else.
- Hendricks is rather a bland and uninteresting villain whose only motivation is that he abuses horses for no reason to ship them on a boat to somewhere else to the point where he could give Myles Standish from Free Birds a run for his money.
- This film came out 19 years after the original film, which feels so late to make another Spirit movie, even if it's based on a series.
- The movie is way too predictable because of the story they go for, and why it is a babified version of the movie it's spun off from.
- Due to being a film based on the Netflix series, the film pretty much ignores the events of the 2002 film.
- The movie tries to adapt the first episode of the Netflix series into an hour and a half, but as a result, the film becomes loaded with filler and extremely boring, and would also disappoint fans of the show who expected a decent film, only be a generic adaptation of the first episode.
- Some characters from the Netflix series do not appear and may be absent in this movie, such as Maricela Gutierrez, Mesteneros, Turo, Al Granger, Harlan Grayson, Major Schumann, etc.
- Aside from Spirit, almost none of the characters from the 2002 movie (especially Rain, Little Creek, and Spirit's mother) has also appeared in this movie.
- This film has a different charm from the 2002 movie, and one that simply doesn't work as well, in fact, it even lacks the charm from the series as well.
- False advertising: This movie is said to be a sequel to the 2002 film when this film feels more of an adaptation of the first episode of the Netflix show, most likely an attempt to get more people to watch it.
- The movie’s animation, while an improvement to the original show, looks like something from a Disney Junior show along with some parts looking incomplete, which is because it was outsourced and produced on a lower budget than other DreamWorks movies (Similar to Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, but while the latter film makes up for it's underbudgeted animation with its a gripping story, likable characters, and ability to actually make said animation work in its favor, the same can't be said for this film).
- It uses the dead mom trope that's been done to death before this, and that's also been done better for that matter (cases of the trope where it's actually shown to have left an impact on the protagonist and the plot).
- While the voice acting is decent, the characters can barely or do not even sound like how they sounded in the Netflix show this film is based on, a great example is Isabela Moner who did a weak job voicing Lucky Prescott.
- What makes this issue a bit worse is that none of the show's cast returned for the movie, instead of being replaced by A-list celebrities.
- Similar to how sequels like Happily N'Ever After 2: Snow White—Another Bite @ the Apple, Jingle All the Way 2, Mean Girls 2, Grease 2, Son of the Mask, Surf's Up 2: WaveMania, and Home Alone 3/The Holiday Heist removed their original characters in favor for new ones, most of it doesn't feel like a sequel to the 2002 movie or Riding Free. It feels more like a spin-off to Riding Free whose story and characters were changed at the final minute.
- Strangely, despite being based on a Netflix series, the film isn't released on Netflix at all, as it was released on Peacock and theaters too, which can confuse fans of the show.
- Pru and her father can be considered likable characters as they are the only smart ones in this movie.
- The battle scene at the end of the film can be considered good, but not perfect.
- As mentioned in WISBT#10, the animation, while rather mediocre and outdated, is an improvement over the original show.
- The songs in this movie are at least somewhat decent.
- The way the animation is switched for the horse characters from 2D to 3D is maybe rather decent.
Spirit Untamed received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews (and much worse than Shark Tale) from critics with a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it, along with The Boss Baby: Family Business the forth lowest-rated film ever produced by DreamWorks Animation on the site behind Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Shrek the Third and Shark Tale. It currently has an IMDb score of 5.4/10.
- This was the first Spirit film not to be produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg.
- This film is dedicated to Kelly Asbury, who co-directed the original Spirit film, who died on June 26, 2020, due to abdominal cancer.
- A video game this movie spawned was available on PC, Xbox One (backward compatible on Xbox Series X & S), PS4 (also plays on PS5), and Nintendo Switch on the same week this movie first came out.
- This is one of the lowest-grossing DreamWorks movies to date, only earning $38.6M against a $30M budget so far, barely making back its money. This can most likely be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic and due to bad marketing such as not being released on Netflix.