Saw it last night at a Disney screening in SLC. Man those guys are really uptight about security. They had four security people checking for cell phones with metal detectors. With the piracy thing maybe they're justified.
Anyhoo, I'm not sure what to make of the movie. I liked it, thought it was great, but it was kind of schizophrenic. It wasn't just a movie about a race, but it tried to jam all kind of messages in it about 1)trying to find out who you are, 2)being true to yourself, 3)being tolerant of other cultures, religions, etc. and 4)doing your best. It was odd because you could tell the writer was trying to bring up all these different messages, yet they didn't really play them out fully. I'm probably just reading too much into things because you can see it just for what it is and come away having a good time.
The whole premise is that Viggo Mortenson plays a cowboy/pony express rider named Frank Hopkins (I think) who happens to be the best endurance horse racer in the West (or US). He gets invited by a Shiek (Omar Sharif) to race in the Ocean of Fire 3000 mi. race across the Arabian Desert. And so the story goes like that. He's a fish out of water and his horse (Hidalgo) is looked down on because he's a mixed breed (Mustang) and not a purebred (Arabian) like the rest of the racing stallions.
It's not a totally serious movie because the trailer can give you that impression. There's some decent action in a Middle East market place that kind of reminded me of The Mummy and Indiana Jones. There are some damn funny scenes in it too (look out for the goatherder--he has the best lines in the whole flick).
I liked it cause it was pretty interesting and it supposed to be based on a true story so it makes Viggo's character kind of cool. Some stuff seemed to be roll-your-eyes unbelievable, but it still wasn't too bad. Viggo was good enough that, I at least, didn't think it was Aragorn of Arabia. In fact, after the first few minutes you don't really think about him in LotR at all. My big beef, though, is that he is so softspoken in the movie you can't hear half his dialogue. He almost whispers all his lines.
Anyways, I recommend it. It's good like Miracle, yet the story is obscure enough that you're not sure what exactly is going to happen in the end. There's really no profanity, but one dopey line by the Shiek's nephew, and although there's some realistic violence there's nothing gory and no sex, drugs, etc.