Racing Stripes is a truly strange film from 2005.
It’s one of those live action movies where the animals talk as long as no humans are around. The special effects for their lips moving is pretty good. The goat seems eerily real. The mouth seems real, not the ear. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with the ear. It seemed real too.
In Kentucky, a baby zebra grows up thinking it’s a race horse. The animals are the stars of the show. And by implication, their trainers. All the horses and zebra always wear halters. I think maybe they were rigged to help with the talking illusion. So they’d bob their heads and all. But, of course, I don’t know this for a fact.
I recognized many of the animals’ voice actors. Snoop Dogg plays a sleepy hound dog. Dustin Hoffman plays a pony. Whoopi Goldberg is a goat. Fred Thompson plays a bigoted bad horse talking about the Natural Order of Things.
For some reason there’s a mafia pelican. Loud noises make him think he’s being shot at. And he quotes gangster movies out of context. It was kind of embarrassing. Very stereotypical, but that’s supposed to be OK because it’s a pelican named Goose!
And the horseflies rap. Really old rap. Although at one point they start into “Ebony and Ivory”. Which was also kind of embarrassing.
Some of the live action people are famous. Hayden Panettiere is the blond girl. M. Emmett Walsh is the old guy with the beat up car, the role he’s been playing most of his life. Wendie Malick is the evil woman who owns the race track.
It’s a typical underdog story for the whole family. It’s kind of like Dreamer. I doubt that it’s based on a true story. They use the word “butt” a lot. I may be old and cranky, but that’s still a four-letter word for me, despite what SpongeBob says.
During the end credits I finally realized that it was filmed in South Africa. That makes sense: it’s easier to get at zebras there than in Kentucky.
So here’s my problem:
The movie is about a black and white striped animal wanting to race solid colored animals. It’s filmed in Africa. All of which seems a little bit symbolic. There’s an Italian mobster stereotypical character. The rappers swim in horse poop and think that they’re in heaven. Snoop Dogg sleeps for the entire movie.I don’t recall seeing a single live action black person.
I think they mixed their metaphors. Watch it for yourself and decide.