Stars: Sean Bean, David Thewlis, Jim Carter, Peter Davison. Written and directed by Caroline Thompson. Rated G.

"Black Beauty" tells the life story of a gorgeous black horse, with the horse himself being the narrator of the film. You'll witness his birth, watch him fall in love, and see how his various masters come to treat him. Some win his admiration while others are unduly harsh and brutal. At different points in the film, Black Beauty earns his keep as a coach horse, a cab puller, and a work horse who draws heavy loads. He is forced to confront illness, physical hardships and the deaths, both human and equine, of some of those closest to him.

The cinematography in "Black Beauty" is first-rate and the production as a whole is of a higher quality than is usually associated with this type of movie. The serene musical score, by "Batman"-composer Danny Elfman no less, is another big plus in the film's corner. Unfortunately, the film's single most defining feature is its dullness. Lethargically paced, "Black Beauty" has the capability of rendering an entire audience, young and old alike, bored and restless. It'll make a great video to play for kids at nap time.

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