Seabiscuit vs. Secretariat Impossible. A word the average English speaking individual fears. It is defined as: incapable of being done. In 2010 Walt Disney released Secretariat, a movie that tells the impossible true story of possibly, the greatest racehorse ever. Universal Studios DreamWorks released Seabiscuit several years prior. Similarly, the movie Seabiscuit provides its audience with a portal back in time to tell yet another seemingly impossible true story. Except this movie tales the journey of three men and one very special horses’ rise to success and fame.
While both films recount inspirational and seemingly impossible true stories, Seabiscuit edges out Secretariat at the wire through the use of a more historically accurate plot, first-class acting and far more believable cinematography. The sheer amount of historical accuracy maintained throughout Seabiscuit far outweighs Walt Disney’s portrayal of Secretariat. In Seabiscuit, each of the main character’s personal struggles is told throughout the first part of the film.
These struggles show how the characters came together in real life, provides the audience with an adequate understanding of the effect of the Great Depression on them and allows the viewers to connect emotionally to them as well. In Secretariat, many of the people who were major parts of his journey were completely omitted. The overall feel of the film is very Disney like; in the essence of follow your dreams and they will come true. Ultimately, Walt Disney turned Secretariat into just another dramatic fairy tale.
Too many actual events and characters were left out of the film, which in turn, took away from the real drama of Secretariat’s story. Seabiscuit incorporates a narration of the times and also includes historic photos and footage that capture the era. Unlike Secretariat, Seabiscuit manages to not only maintain historical integrity but is quite entertaining as well. Thus making Seabiscuit the clear winner. The first-class acting in Seabiscuit undoubtedly surpasses the acting in Secretariat. Toby Maguire stars in Seabiscuit as Seabiscuit’s jockey John “Red” Pollard.
First off, Maguire had to dramatically change his physical appearance in order to fit the part of a skinny impoverished jockey. His character “Red” faced the Great Depression head on, forced to leave his family at the mere age of fifteen. The movie follows Pollard from this point on and lets the audience see the adversity he faced throughout his life. Maguire delivers an award-winning performance by capturing and delivering the sheer emotion that fueled Red Pollard through his life and eventually onto the back of Seabiscuit.
His stellar acting was a quintessential part of the movie’s success. On the other hand, in Secretariat the main character Penny Chennery played by Diane Lane was not as fulfilling. Her character felt very forced and dramatized for the big screen. Throughout the movie the audience is able to predict her every move, her character feels like just another typical Hollywood role; nothing compared to the woman she actually was. The loss of her actual prowess takes away from the overall movie. When compared to Maguire’s performance, Lane failed to cross the finish line.
While both Seabiscuit and Secretariat are true stories based on phenomenal racehorses, Seabiscuit has a much more coherent flow. For example, both movies originate from very distinguished eras; Seabiscuit however, makes it very clear to the audience that the story took place during the Great Depression. The use of actual photos and video footage from the time allows the audience to actually understand the tribulations of the times. The camera angles used during racing scenes literally places you in the saddle, allowing viewers to take their very own ride down the home stretch.
Overall, Seabiscuit feels real. The transitions from scene to scene are smooth and are never predictable. On the contrary, Secretariat feels forced. Walt Disney in a sense destroyed the movie by adding too much drama. Many scenes are obviously fabricated to a point where the audience loses sight of the true story behind the movie. Furthermore, Seabiscuit yet again edges out Secretariat by staying true to the seemingly impossible story that was already complete for Hollywood.
In conclusion, like many movies based on a true story Secretariat and Seabiscuit are both very informative. However, Seabiscuit managed to maintain historical integrity through first-class acting and believable cinematography. Seabiscuit and Secretariat’s story of overcoming the impossible was already perfect for Hollywood. Walt Disney fell short by not sticking to the real script and adding too much drama to Secretariat. All in all Seabiscuit raced into the heart of its viewers and never looked back.