A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that a few exciting scenes and eye-catching location photography keep this sequel afloat, but it's nothing compared to the original. Those who haven't seen the original shouldn't risk this one, as it's involved plot may not hold their interest. A barn fire and Alec's struggle to survive when he and his friend are lost in the desert are mildly frightening, but shouldn't bother most children. Children under 8 will have problems sitting still through the involved plot. Some grade-school children may be disappointed that the black stallion is absent from much of the film. This is mainly for fans of the original.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this sequel, young teen Alec Ramsay (Kelly Reno) is devastated when his Arabian stallion is retrieved by its original owner. He learns that the horse is to run in a race that determines the balance of power among the tribes. Alec stows away on a plane headed for Casablanca. He befriends Raj (Vincent Spano), an American-educated Arab prince who has returned to ride in the race. Raj teaches Alec enough about the desert to help him get to the oasis of Abu Ben Ishak, the horse's owner. Although the young princess Tabari has been raised to ride the stallion for her people, Alec proves that only he has the horse's trust. Abu Ben Ishak agrees to return the stallion to Alec, if he can ride it to victory in the race.
Is it any good?
The main problem with THE BLACK STALLION RETURNS is it isn't nearly as good as its predecessor. While the new filmmaking team assembled by executive producer Francis Ford Coppola does sturdy work, they just weren't able to muster the magical aura of the earlier film. At fault is the script, which has far too much desert intrigue and far too little of the horse. Sharp-eyed kids will certainly point out that, although this story is supposed to begin shortly after the end of the previous one, star Kelly Reno looks substantially older.
Nevertheless, fans of the first movie will like this sequel, if they can sit through a more involved story. The exoticism of the Moroccan locations give the film visual appeal, and the glimpse into the lives of desert dwellers, provided by prince Raj, should spark the imaginations of viewers. (Too bad this chance for cultural bridge-building is offset by the presence of several stereotyped Arab villains.)
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: January 1, 1983
- On DVD or streaming: November 2, 2004
- Cast: Kelly Reno, Teri Garr, Vincent Spano
- Director: Robert Dalva
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic intensity
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