Film reviews

Racing Stripes, Dir; Frederik Du Chau, Cert; tbc

Let’s look at this with some perspective shall we? On the one hand, this has been getting groans of disgruntlement from certain quarters of the press, but the fact is that this is purely what it intends to be – a feelgood children’s film – and nothing else.

This is billed as the “official film of Red Nose Day” and, whilst the more anal of film critics will complain that there is “not enough here to keep the adults entertained”, it’s a certainty that the under tens will embrace it with all their hearts. I know I would have done at that age anyway.

The story begins with a baby zebra being abandoned by a bunch of circus travellers, and being picked up by the caring Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), a horse trainer, and being persuaded to keep the cute looking animal by his daughter, Channing.

The latter is played by the utterly gorgeous Hayden Panettiere, and I must confess, I was horrified to learn when I got home and looked her up on the IMDb that she was only fifteen…especially after what I’d been previously thinking…ahem…we won’t go into that…I felt kind of unclean when I realised…

Moving swiftly on, you could say this film is like “Little House on the Prairie” meets “Babe” meets “Rebel Without a Cause” with a sprinkling of “Fight Club” thrown in for good measure. Hey, who SAID there was nothing for adults? You’ll know which scenes I am talking about as soon as you see them, I’m sure.

Now, I’m no fan of “talking animal” pictures as a rule, and I have to admit that the vast majority of the characters here are carbon copies of the farmyard beasts of “Babe”, right down to the pelican, who is practically the same character as the duck in the latter film, despite Joe Pantoliano’s gangster overtones.

Some of the voices work, some don’t, but the biggest revelation for me at least was the love interest of Stripes (Frankie Muniz), a long maned filly called Sandy, voiced to perfection by the former pop starlet Mandy Moore.

MY only gripe is that we have to once again watch the inevitable two “clown” characters that invariably pop up in all children’s films these days. This time they’re in the guise of two flies and really, their antics are just TOO childish. But hey, don’t let me contradict myself from what I said earlier – this is very much a kids film and they’ll probably love the “poo” jokes!

Overall it’s nothing new – in fact you can probably recite the story yourself without even seeing it - but it IS quite charming, despite the Bryan Adams tune late on… 7/10


Tone E


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