“War Horse” Emotional Horse Tale

Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation and Drama
Release Date: December 25th, 2011 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for for intense sequences of war violence.
Distributors: Walt Disney Studios Distribution

Director: Steven Spielberg

JJ Rating: B+

Albert (Jeremy Irvine) gets a horse and names him Joey. He grows close to the horse as if they were best friends. The British Army ends up acquiring Joey. Joey goes through the war from army to army, owner to owner to only end up back with Albert? Maybe. War Horse.

8 Good Things About This Film
  1. Jeremy Irvine does such a good job that I don't think I could have had a care in the world if it were not for his acting. He made me believe that him and Joey had a real friendship. Because of his acting (and Steven Spielberg's directing) the connection withstood the long duration of the middle until the end when the conclusion.
  2. Tom Hiddleston (played Captain Nicholls) did not have a lot of screen time, but he displayed exactly what I already knew from Thor. He's a fantastic actor. He conveys a lot of information through his facial expressions. I will be livid if he is ignored for his role as Loki. I have not seen a single actor who has outdone him this entire year.
  3. Steven Spielberg did a very good job. His films have an emotional impact that I cannot explain how it's possible. I feel the emotion. If someone else doesn't feel it, too bad.
  4. There were playful moments between characters. Unexpected things occurred. One scene when enemies share a moment out of firing at one another. It reminded me of the Christmas Truce http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/truce.asp during WWI. If that were put in a movie, someone would claim it not true. But as we all know, truth is stranger than fiction. With that in mind the scene that's similar in War Horse isn't nearly as impossible as cynics would grump over.
  5. One of my favorite endings of a film. I like when they show something at the beginning, only to use it again at the end. But the way they show it wasn't “Hey look at this, remember this for later.” They showed it as part of a story and I didn't think anything of it until moments before it was repeated again at the end.
  6. I have a high standard when it comes to emotional scenes. Star Trek set the bar with Kirk's parents at the beginning. The mere minutes they had together created a sadness I rarely feel for any film that lasts way longer. (Like We Bought A Zoo). In War Horse they had several different storylines that intertwined due to Joey. Each one was good, some are better than others. This way of storytelling isn't my favorite, but I enjoyed it overall. Some really likeable characters show up.
  7. WWI is rarely the war of choice to do a film about. WWII is something we are used to seeing a backdrop for a war film. So seeing WWI as a backdrop here is good. It gives an idea of how the war was. They used horses. A lot. So much so there is a causality list that includes the lost of horses. War Horse displays scenes that many people didn't know happened during WWI...the uses of horses to pull heavy equipment. I knew that WWI used horses, but the idea that they pulled large weaponry didn't cross my mind. It makes sense, I just never gave it much thought.
  8. For some reason I like to see horses shown as smart. I don't like when people think animals as stupid just because.

3 Bad Things About This Film

  1. The length. I have, as I've repeatedly stated, grave difficulty dealing with a long film.
  2. Dealing with a woman who came in and opened a bag of chips as if she were out to win a noise contest and proceeded to masticate like a cow. I took it upon myself to kindly tell her to stop because she was ruining my viewing experience. And she stopped. Why do people think they have the right to ruin my movie? Seriously.
  3. It was mildly over dramatic, but not nearly as bad as some reviews make people think. I took into consideration that they only have a few moments to give these characters personality and us to feel for them.

War Horse is nominated for Golden Globe, Best Picture – Drama. I wouldn't have picked it for Best Picture. And looking at the list it totally backs my feeling that this year was a terrible year for films. It was hard for me to pick ten movies to put on my top ten list. War Horse is certainly for the older generation. Anyone younger than 35 will have a hard time enjoying it. And I did not pick this film for a very good reason, I could not sit through it again. 

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