If you read my last post, you’ll note that Tintin gave me hope for Spielberg’s continuing career. I included the note that it may have been because of the inclusion of a large number of awesome people. After seeing this movie, I think that was probably the case.
War Horse is based on a children’s book that was later adapted to a stage play, neither of which I’ve read or seen. It covers several moments/periods of time with several characters during World War I, centered around a horse with magical powers. It’s meticulously engineered to pull on your heart-strings and inspire you and all that bunk.
The problem here is that I’m a cynical person who doesn’t love horses. If I were the opposite of that, I’d be all over this thing. There are too many moments of the “Spielberg Face” without really justifying it in my eyes, and it’s all just so damn wholesome. Not a drop of blood is shed, even when a large number of people are gunned down, a horse gets run over by a tank, and our hero the horse runs through several fences of barbed-wire. Except for that last bit pretty much everything that could be at all off-putting happens off-screen. Yeah yeah, it’s a family movie, whatever.
As I said too, the horse is magical. It seems to understand human language without much difficulty, has an incredible grasp of empathic situations, and keeps doing things that everyone insists are impossible for him to do. This would be a bit more affecting if there were a reason for it, like he was born with the soul of a dragon or something. Also I think it would have been cool if the movie was actually all filmed from the horse’s perspective and we didn’t get all this extra stuff with the humans and whatnot.
It’s a pretty movie for sure. It is an odd look though; many scenes kind of gave me the impression of a green screen even though it probably wasn’t used, I guess it was just the lighting. Just kinda weird.
So. Bottom line, bad movie for cynics. Probably good for wide-eyed horse-loving children.