I got the privilege to sit down this week and watch Steven Spielberg’s latest film, War Horse. This film follows a young thoroughbred horse through his journey growing up and on both sides of the battle in the first world war.
I’ll be honest with you. I was really sure Sarah Jessica Parker (click the link or spider monkeys will eat you dreams) was in this flick. Turns out the horse they got was a much better actor than her! I wish I could say that for everyone in this film. But I can’t.
Besides the loveable cast of horses and a badass goose, this movie boasts a pretty hardcore group of jolly-ol’ English actors. You got David Thewlis, (Remus Lupin from Harry F’n Potter) Benedict Cumberbatch, (Sherlock) Emily Watson, (Miss Potter) and Tom Hiddleston (Thor). Then you have a relatively unknown new comer, Jeremy Irvine. And maybe he should have stayed unknown.
So this film is very slow to start. In fact, I might have aged faster than the horse. However, the one upside to have a film at this break-neck (not) speed is you get to really enjoy absolutely beautiful photography of this film. The cinematographer is Janusz Kaminski who has done everyone of Spielberg’s films since Schindler’s List. And as always he brought his A-game. Sadly I started developing cataracts before this 2 hour and 26 minute film could finish.
What Worked For This Film:
– The Look! Like I mentioned before Kaminski is a master of his craft. The shots were unbelievable! Sometimes I felt like I was watching an experimental indy flick. At least until I saw the crappy CGI horses.
– The Acting. I don’t know why but I really enjoy those English blokes. And these guys have some chops.
What Didn’t Work For This Film:
– The Score. Yeah that’s right. The music in this film just sucked. I’m really having a hard time trying to find the right word. But, sucked seems about right. And it was a huge surprise when I saw that the man who wrote the Emperor’s Theme was behind this abhorrent excuse for a film score: John Williams!
– The Pacing. I know I already touched on it. But I can’t stress how important it is for a long film to be properly edited. This was 114 minutes but felt like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy; extended director’s cut.
– Jeremy Irvine. He play’s our Horse’s trainer/life partner. This kid hasn’t done much so far in Hollywood. And boy oh boy did it ever show. He really dragged down the entire cast. I almost feel sorry for bashing a guy in what might be his big break. But then again he shouldn’t have been so bad.
I’m going to put it straight forward: If you like horses or belong to an animal loving society, DO NOT GO SEE War Horse. There’s a lot of imagery involving worn-down horses and their death. If you’re looking for a good family or date flick, don’t bother either. I can honestly say the only reason for watching War Horse is for good examples of cinematography in your next film class.
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