Controversy Surrounds $100M Western Film Over Disputed Scene, Claims Survival Expert

Controversy Surrounds $100M Western Film Over Disputed Scene, Claims Survival Expert

2004's Hidalgo faces criticism from a survival expert for an out-of-place scene, casting a shadow on its reception


Survival expert Les Stroud finds numerous inaccuracies in the 2004 Western, Hidalgo, which stars The Lord of the Rings' Aragorn actor, Viggo Mortensen.

Stroud examines a quicksand scene in the movie, highlighting the inaccuracy of depicting quicksand in the middle of a waterless desert and the incorrect portrayal of its thickness.

Despite receiving a mix of reviews from critics and performing below expectations at the box office, Hidalgo proves to be an engrossing watch due to Mortensen's exceptional performance and the presence of exhilarating race sequences.

Survival expert, Les Stroud, analyzes a scene from the 2004 western film Hidalgo, starring Viggo Mortensen. The film, directed by Joe Johnston, follows Mortensen's character, an American cowboy named Frank Hopkins, who participates in a challenging horse race through the Arabian Desert. Despite featuring impressive action sequences, Hidalgo disappointed both critics and audiences. In a recent video for Insider, Stroud examines a scene where Hopkins encounters a fellow racer trapped in quicksand.

The survival expert reveals that there's actually quite a lot that the scene gets wrong, awarding the film a low accuracy grade. Check out Stroud's explanation below:

I'm not entirely confident that they accurately portrayed the scene. One reason for this doubt is that quicksand typically occurs near riverbeds, estuaries, or close to the ocean. However, the particular scene is situated in the middle of a desert where everything is completely arid. Despite the desert setting, the character mysteriously sinks into the quicksand.

The viscosity of the quicksand is so intense that simply raising your arm and resigning to death is not an option. This was especially true for the character who was already submerged up to their neck and struggling to breathe.

To rescue someone, significant leverage is necessary. Luckily, he possessed a horse, granting him the required leverage.

Regarding this particular scene, I would rate it a three out of ten. The ecosystem depicted is incorrect. Furthermore, his depiction of being trapped in the sand was overly exaggerated.

How Was Hidalgo Received?

Controversy Surrounds $100M Western Film Over Disputed Scene, Claims Survival Expert

After debuting as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, Mortensen concluded his journey with the character in 2003's highly acclaimed trilogy finale, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Following this, Hidalgo marked Mortensen's return to the screen, but unfortunately, the film fell short of expectations.

With a less-than-impressive 46% score on Rotten Tomatoes, critics seemed to have a somewhat negative slant in their reviews. However, audience reception for Hidalgo appears to be more positive, as indicated by a 64% audience score. While the film was commended for its stunning cinematography, its plot was criticized for lacking innovation and being burdened with various subplots that detracted from the excitement of the actual race.

Hidalgo had a production budget of $100 million but only made approximately $108 million at the global box office, suggesting it probably didn't reach the break-even point. Nevertheless, Hidalgo is still a captivating film to watch, primarily due to Mortensen's outstanding performance. Whether you're revisiting the movie or watching it for the first time, Mortensen alone makes it worthwhile. Despite its lack of groundbreaking storytelling, the film showcases exhilarating racing sequences and offers a refreshing change of pace for Mortensen following his role in The Lord of the Rings.

Editor's P/S

As a fan of the movie Hidalgo, I have mixed feelings about the controversy surrounding the quicksand scene. On the one hand, I understand the survival expert's criticism that the scene is inaccurate. Quicksand is typically found near water sources, not in the middle of a desert. Additionally, the character's depiction of being trapped in the sand is overly exaggerated. On the other hand, I think the scene is still effective in conveying the danger and excitement of the race. The film is not a documentary, and I think it is unfair to hold it to the same standards of accuracy as a real-life event.

Overall, I think Hidalgo is a well-made and entertaining film. The cast is excellent, the cinematography is beautiful, and the racing sequences are thrilling. While the film may not be entirely accurate, I think it is still a worthwhile watch for fans of Westerns and horse racing movies.