Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: War Horse

I had high expectations going into Steven Spielberg's latest film, "War Horse."  Unfortunately while the movie had some good scenes and was very impressively shot to focus on the Horse as a character, what ended up on the screen was a bloated two hours and 26 minutes, and lacked for the pacing necessary to sustain such a long film.

I enjoyed the acting in the film, it was very well done.  Of course the landlord's son reminded me of every time The Simpsons showed Mr. Burns as a soldier. The German artillery horse handler reminded me a bit of the Rancor Keeper from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

There were some curious choices in the film, particularly showing the execution of two characters when the death of other characters is done off-screen.

There are a number of tremendous shots, two of the most powerful are the shot of the carnage of the first battlefield and later on the mass grave of horses.

There is a rather odd chase scene involving the horse and a tank, which came off as silly to me.  This tank is going after the Germans and instead of chasing the fleeing German troops it is going to chase around a lone rider-less horse? Really ?

The World War I trench warfare was well done and even included some humor.

The cinematography in the final scene came off as over the top and inconsistent with the rest of the film.

In the end, War Horse feels like two movies squeezed together, the story of the humans surrounding the Horse and the story of the Horse.  This would have been a much better film if it was leaner and more focuses in the first hour to hour and a half.  Someone should have locked Spielberg int he editor's room until this film was trimmed to closer to two hours.

For more on War Horse, visit the official site for the movie.

1 comment:

  1. I am eager to see this movie, but I understand completely what the critic is saying. We rely on sentiment way too much in this country in our personal relationships, our literature, our movies and in our divorce courts. We need to reach for something deeper inside each of us, something rational and recognized mentally. Sentiment is cheap. But, I'm gonna love it, because I'll be seeing it with my daughter and granddaughter, and the grand is a little horse person. We will have a wonderful time!