Flicka: Country Pride as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooth. Along For The Ride

Flicka: Country Pride

Stars: Clint Black, Kacey Rohl, Lisa Hartman Black, Siobhan Williams, Max Lloyd-Jones, Teryl Rothery and Lily Pearl Black
Director: Michael Damian
Scriptwriter: Jen Robinson based on the novel "My Friend Flicka" by Mary O'Hara
Cinematography: Ron Stannett
Composer: Mark Thomas
20th Century Fox
DVD also contains "Black Is Back," Director and Cast Comments with the Making of the Film, and a Holly Kay music video.
Rating: G
Running Length: 92 minutes

You just can't keep a good horse down. Flicka: Country Pride is the next installment in the adventures of a Mustang filly with a wild and free spirit and ability to help people. Such is the case when Flicka meets Kelly (Kacey Rohl looking like Emily Blunt), who is still recovering from the loss of her father. Flicka is owned by Toby (Clint Black) who is a business manager/horse trainer. The story is in a western setting, but in the uplands. No prairie here, but the cinematography is finely done, especially the horse competitions and races. Flicka is one beautiful horse.

At the beginning of the film, a girl is riding a gray horse and racing a school bus. We meet Kelly and her Mom (Lisa Hartman Black) who own the Cherry Creek Farms (horse boarding stable and practice area for training riders for competition.) Kelly is one reckless kid. The current business manager, Paige (Teryl Rothery from Stargate) is also a trainer and time is short, so a temp is hired and that is Toby, who arrives complete with Flicka. Kelly, mourning the loss of her father a year ago, bonds with Flicka, and they seem to recognize a wild spirit within themselves. Stephanie (Siobhan Williams who looks like Amanda Seyfried) and Kelly used to be best friends, but have fallen apart since the death of Kelly's Dad who was also Steph's trainer. One is increasingly bitter and then other becomes even more withdrawn. Enter a boy, Briggs, (Max Lloyd-Jones who looks like a young Val Kilmer) who has his eye on Kelly, much to Steph's dismay.

What everyone is gearing for is the Regional Competition in which two teams of four members each, compete. Steph's team is considered the favorite, though one of them doesn't always play fair, while Kelly's team is put together with a stable boy (who knew he could ride?), a retired show jumper, Norman, and a girl from Argentina who played polo. Their motto is "If you give it your all you have already won." In the meantime, Steph's younger sister (Lily Pearl Black) cheers for Kelly, Briggs and Kelly are getting closer and so is another couple. I'll leave the story here and you can look into the future and figure out what happens next. In the meantime, enjoy the horses, action of competition and scenery.

Flicka: Country Pride is a complete story, in that no threads are left dangling. We learn just enough about everyone's past to complete their character, enough about the history of Kelly's family farm, and an introduction into the basics of riding competition that includes Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping. Mark Thomas' soundtrack compliments the action on the screen and songs by Holly Kay are just right for certain scenes.

Director Michael Damian (Moondance Alexander and Flicka 2) guides the camera into the Cross Country event and you are there with the riders, going along a forest path or jumping hurdles. This is made possible by new camera equipment called The Russian Arm. The camera shots of Flicka running by herself in a field with the sun at the right of the screen are well done. The eye follows the horse from right to left and then the eye goes from left to right and into the next scene. There is continuity here and throughout the movie.

Flicka: Country Pride is fine family entertainment and G rated, though the anxiety of the competition could nudge this into PG, but I'm content.

3tocksThree Tocks

Copyright 2012 Marie Asner

A complimentary copy of this DVD was provided by 20th Century Fox.