Disney+’s Black Beauty was bitterly basic

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Eva Harshman, Staff Writer

Movies are intended to be dramatic and over the top–it’s what people I like to watch.

Disney+’s new 2020 Black Beauty movie took it ten steps too far.

In the reboot of Black Beauty, I was eager to finally see a modernized horse movie that avoided cliché. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Every little bit of the movie screamed early 2000s horse girl movie, which I had already seen more than my share of in my younger days.

To begin with, there were a painful amount of inaccuracies throughout the film. Jo Green (Mackenzie Foy), the girl who is able to first tame Beauty (Kate Winslet), had never been around horses in her life. The girl’s first ride is bareback on a galloping mustang that has never been ridden before. She stays on for a fairly long amount of time before predictably falling off.

A few days later, Jo is once again seen galloping on the beach with this “wild” horse, thankfully with a saddle this time. Unsurprisingly, she drops the reins of the horse and continues to stay on, something the majority of professional riders wouldn’t attempt.

Several times during the movie, Jo is taunted by two stereotypical mean girls, Jennifer (Sascha Natasi) and Jasmine (Alex Jeaven). While this had the potential to make the film a little more intriguing, their role was trivial and unrealistic. They made fun of Jo for living at a home that was a part of a horse rescue, which isn’t really a teasing point. They poked fun at Jo for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that she was the “new girl.”

Everything from that point fell into the outline of every other horse girl movie. Beauty gets leased to the bratty girl, Georgina Winthrop (Fern Deacon), who is horrible at riding despite competing in multiple cross-country events. The horse hates the immature girl and only likes Jo.

Of course, Georgina has an attractive British brother, George Winthrop (Calam Lynch), with a kind heart and a crush on Jo. Imaginably, the two end up getting married despite having a seemingly casual relationship.

The unbelievable element of the movie stretches to Mrs. and Mr. Winthrop (Claire Forlani and Patrick Lyster) as well. George seems to be the only sane family member as both Winthrop parents coddle Georgina. They also ruthlessly sell George’s horse without his knowledge while he is away.

The only refreshing element of the movie was to view it from the perspective of Beauty rather than Jo, contrary to most pre-teen horse movies. 

The quality of the production was pleasantly stellar. There were many scenes where the ambiance was majestic and graceful. The picture-perfect moments of Beauty standing in the light of a lamppost were unrivaled.

Overall, it’s fair to say that the 2020 remake of Black Beauty was a severe downgrade from the classic book. There was little to no originality, and it gave off a very different feeling than the darker and more elegant book.

Disney+ owes an apology to the original author, Anna Sewell.