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Beautifully shot, yes! Wonderful story, absolutely! Plus it’s a war movie that you can take your family to, but,.. WAR HORSE is underwhelming, it gets lost in trying too hard to be a tearjerker so much so that I hardly feel its emotional power. You can definitely label WAR HORSE as the feel-good movie of the year, but it’s nothing short of formulaic…
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 arriving on Broadway next year. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history.
I’m a die hard fan of John Williams, what a brilliant composer! And his music for this film is probably the biggest reason why I was looking forward to WAR HORSE and it doesn’t disappoint. His new music is as memorable as his previous scores in the past. The film however just doesn’t work for me, even with the gorgeous cinematography by Janusz Kaminski.
The fact that it’s made by Spielberg, certainly would still attract audiences, but just don’t expect it to be like Saving Private Ryan or Empire Of The Sun, because WAR HORSE is not on that same level.
I do admire whatever method the production applied to train the horse for this film, and I’m sure they used more than just one horse for the character Joey.
There are certain scenes that might make animal lovers everywhere cringe because of what those scenes required the horse to seemingly do.
In the story, the horse Joey encounters several human characters, besides Albert, through its unexpected journey and sadly the film doesn’t allow us enough chance to get to deeply know those human characters
There is a point where Joey is so crushed by excruciating grief that he starts to run like the wind and it even doesn’t care which way it’s going, it doesn’t care about living and dying either, and that tells you the film’s intention all along, to make Joey have some kind of human-like personality, this happens when you deal with movies that have animals as their lead stars, which goes back to formulaic.
So that aspect would resonate with audiences who love films like Babe.
I just feel the film doesn’t challenge itself and it leaves me with an indifferent afterthought.
WAR HORSE has its funny and heartfelt moments, the themes are empowering and liberating, they exude strength and loyalty, there is no denying, in addition to a very hopeful ending but it plays it safe and it’s not one of my favorite Spielberg films.
GRADE: 3 out of 5
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