February 1st, 2012

So I did end up going to see War Horse last week.  It was a 3/4 full theatre which wasn’t bad for a Thursday night.

So what do you get when you combine Black Beauty, with Saving Private Ryan and then a little bit of Gone with the Wind (visually anyway) and Seabiscuit?   You get another Speilberg movie where he seems less focused on originality and something new, but rather something that will sell.  He is a master of the blockbuster.  There are some tremendous visual pictures on this movie.  I am not so sure that it is a Best Picture.  Then again, with 9 nominated films, could we perhaps have a B Category?   What would the shortlist be?   But I digress.
Here we have a horse that is born and witnessed by a young boy.  He and the horse grow with very little interaction until his Dad attends an auction and decides that he sees something in this horse (very Seabiscuity).  There are plenty of other sideline stories that go to show the relationships among the humans here.  Then the war comes.  WWI to be precise.  And off our horse goes to War.  There more characters are introduced and situations and our horse separates from our young boy protagonist (looks A LOT like a young Ethan Hawke IMO).  Again without going into plot details, our horse ends up with various people from time to time on various sides within the War.   He shows courage, and determination, and loyalty and a concern for others of his kind.
This was a good watch.  Spielberg is becoming the King of putting War on film.  Here he is equal to the task.  He also has a Cinematographer who takes marvelous looking pictures and vistas.  There are some obvious horse CGI moments (yes, and I did say horse) where there are some jumps and situations that a real horse simple cannot do.   Was I moved by the story?  Yes.  Did I care about the characters?  Yes.   Then it probably did what a movie needs to do.  It does not incidentally wallow in War and make it uncomfortable with blood and guts.  Some is used for effect, but generally it’s not gory.
Can’t say honestly that this was a Best Picture, but it was good.   Those who really like horses should seek it out.  To me, I get far more intrigued by watching LUCK at the horse track with Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte than this.   So enjoy your viewing.
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