Archive for April 7th, 2020


By J.D. Lafrance

Filmmaker Joe Johnston is something of a curious anomaly in Hollywood. He got his start as a protégé of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, adopting their style of filmmaking once he became a director with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). He has since made retro adventure films his forte with the likes of The Rocketeer (1991) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Yet, for some reason, despite several of his films performing well at the box office, Johnston has managed to avoid the plaudits of his mentors. He remains unknown to mainstream audiences and generally ignored by cinephiles as he lacks a flashy, distinctive style and personality. In 2004, he released Hidalgo, which chronicled legendary long distance rider Frank T. Hopkins and his horse and their participation in an annual 3,000 mile race in Arabia, 1891. Marred by claims that it took huge liberties with the actual historical figures and events it was based on, the film was snubbed by critics and barely made back its budget. It’s too bad as Hidalgo is a refreshing straight-forward action/adventure epic.


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