Friday, December 23, 2011

Bonus: Review of War Horse

I got a chance to see War Horse a few weeks ago, but I promised I wouldn't talk about it until today. I wanted to share my thoughts with those of you who may be considering going to see it.

1. The movie is beautiful-- exactly what you would expect from Spielberg.

2. The horse is the star. If you love horses, you'll probably love this movie.

3. The movie is extremely graphic. Spielberg doesn't gloss over the horrors of the battlefield. But there are beautiful moments exemplifying the human spirit even in the face of darkness interspersed throughout-- enough to keep the viewer engaged with the story. As I said to my husband after the movie, "I was surprised there was no love story." He responded, "Well there was a love story-- it was between the boy and his horse."

4. After seeing it, I know why it garnered a PG-13 rating. I will not be taking my children younger than that age to see it. As I said, the horrors of war are presented unflinchingly. Some of the images and themes I feel are a bit much for a young child's emotional state. I'd recommend if you have a teen who loves history, war, battles, and/or horses, send them. There's no sex and hardly any bad language. But there is violence-- not gratuitous, just enough to make the aspects of war very real. If you and your spouse like historical movies, go. As my husband said, it's a good date night movie.

5. Because it's a historical movie, it can be a bit slow. I felt like the dialogue and even the pace of the movie was accurate for the time period the movie takes place in, if that makes sense. Life moved at a slower pace, things were simpler. To truly appreciate the film, I think you need to get in the spirit of that time period and not expect a blockbuster, blow-em-up movie like you see today. It definitely has that epic feel to it. And I can see why there's already Oscar buzz surrounding it.

Below is a summary of the movie. I hope my review helped some of you out there in your decision about whether to see it-- and whether to take your kids.

DreamWorks Pictures’ “War Horse,” director Steven Spielberg’s epic adventure, is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.

The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. “War Horse” is one of the great stories of friendship and war— a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit that is currently on Broadway. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history.

And if you'd like to see an interview with Spielberg talking about the movie, you can go here: (It's quite the interesting interview.)
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