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“Cowboy Has Gone to the Desert”

Posted March. 04, 2004 23:38,   


The reason why the desert is so mysterious is that it is a coexistence of both a thrilling beauty and a fatal danger.

The main character of “Hidalgo” (director: Joe Johnston), expected to be released on March 19, is the desert. It is an action adventure blockbuster, describing the great adventure and challenge of a human being situated in the setting of a magnificent desert, ranging from a windless silent desert to a spectacular desert with a strong blast.

The actor is Frank Hopkins, one of the Old West’s best long-distance riders. He is born to Caucasian and Indian parents. After agonizing about his identity, he challenges the race, “the ocean of fire,” of a thousand years’ tradition, which is to cross the Arabian Desert with his partner, Hidalgo, a Spanish horse.

Playing Hopkins is Viggo Mortensen, who became a big star after “Lord of the Rings 3.”

Even though its plot, a half-blood cowboy in a strange and barren land along with an ordinary horse fighting against the best Arabian horses, is a typical Hollywood hero story, it still works.

Two journeys overlap in this movie. One is the perilous 3,000-mile journey of a human being and a horse. The other is the spiritual journey of Hopkins seeking “who am I” through various ordeals. Director Joe Johnston of Jurassic Park 3 and Jumanji attained this great epic, maximizing the visual pleasure by combining the spectacular desert locations, exotic mood of Arabs, and delightful action.

In Spanish, “Hidalgo” means “sublime.” It speaks of the conscience of Hopkins. It encourages Hopkins not to give up his challenge for the race. Five horses played the role of Hidalgo. A horse named TJ appeared in the main scene, and four other stand-ins played the other scenes. Mortensen, who became friends with TJ, bought TJ after filming the movie.

On the other hand, the appearance of Omar Sharif, a legendary star, in Hidalgo as an Arabian patriarchy was impressive. “I was deeply moved by this movie, since the location was the same as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’,” Sharif said.