I didn't think the stereotypes were too awful, either--of course, I'm a white chick, so my opinion probably doesn't count on this point, but it seemed to me like they started out with a sort of blanket cultural disapproval of "the infidel" and the mixed blood and the mustang and the whatever, and then they varied the attitude by character--some of the Arabic (Arab? Arabian?) characters were honorable and some were not, some were at least curious, and some were won over and some were not. I was disappointed by the ending, romantically speaking--not to give it away, but really, this was a real person (if a heavily fictionalized account of one), and you couldn't go off saying, "Oh, yeah, he totally married a sheikh's daughter and they totally didn't disown her for that, why do you ask?" So it was sad, but at least somewhat realistic. (Don't even get me started on the very last scene. Come on, man--Frank + Hidalgo 4evah, and you can't tell me otherwise.)
I didn't really mind the whole "magical Indian" thing near the end, either, because the movie made it pretty clear (I thought) that they were in mirage territory and--judging by a wide shot that showed Frank alone and that there were no "spirits"--what he was seeing wasn't real, and, you know--whatever little tricks your mind has to play on you to keep you going. That whole sequence was really--the cinematography they used was really unexpected, it didn't look like the rest of the movie at all. Very stark, almost startlingly so--It was so different from this huge Raiders of the Sheikh's Daughter thing they had going earlier on. The Wounded Knee sequence and flashbacks were done in a similar way--really well done, I thought, visually speaking. I was surprised to see it in a Joe Johnston movie, I'll put it that way.
Speaking of which, something I really appreciated: Frank having to reload his revolver. Multiple times. And sometimes not reloading in time. You see so many magical guns that never run out of bullets in movies that I thought it was a nice touch.
Something I did not appreciate: the music. I hated the music. I don't know why. It just seemed really intrusive and--Disney to me. Rather than add something to the scene, like a good score should, it just seemed to hit you over the head with what was already there ("OH! THIS SCENE IS SO SAD! ISN'T IT? I SAID, ISN'T IT??"). I hate that. Oh, and the end of the race? Just start playing the theme from Chariots of Fire and save yourself some composing time.
Oh, and this is going to sound really strange, but I really liked the actress playing the evil Englishwoman. In fact, I liked the character--I'm not saying she isn't a bitch, but she was a really interesting character, a woman who had been raised among the Bedouin and raced horses and went after what she wanted. (Now, the whole "kill his horse and let him wander the desert" bit was pretty skanky, I give you that.) And I liked the actress--Louise Lombard? Didn't recognize her from anything. Zuleikha Robinson was good, too, although her character was written a little too Jasmine for me ("Oh father! I am so independent! I will not marry that man on a box! I will not marry him with a fox!").
(Sorry, my blood sugar's bottomed out. I have no idea where that came from.)
You can imagine my opinions on Viggo Mortensen, so we won't even go there.
We had some definite mouth-breathers up in the peanut gallery, too--people who thought that Home on the Range trailer was the height of hilarity. Look, I'm not saying it was awful--it's not even that lines like "the Phony Express" and "Bust a Moo" are so terrible. It's this ba-dum-bump! "Look, we made a funny!" delivery that just stops the line dead. The Day After Tomorrow actually looked better than I expected (my mother is already salivating to see it, of course, as she adores disaster movies). In other news: if I have to see the Walking Tall trailer one more time, someone's gonna end up a few inches shorter, if you catch my drift.