Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review - War Horse

This most recent installment from war horses Steven Spielberg and John Williams entertains while following the life of Joey the horse.  If you love horses, you will love this movie.  Even if you don't love horses, you may find yourself overlooking all the cliches and enjoying the masterful story telling.  Either way, the two and a half hour movie flies by quickly and leaves you wanting for more.

The movie begins with Joey's birth.  The colt is quickly separated from his mother and ends up on a farm.  The boy trains the horse to save the farm.  And, so it continues until the horse ends up participating in World War I.  Along the way, we see different vignettes about people the horse meets.

A lot of the movie looks familiar, as it's full of cliches.  Or more precisely, it's full of Spielberg techniques you've seen in other of his movies.  But it all fits together well.  Spielberg sticks with what he knows works.  Though, his use of coincidences to drive the story gets a little annoying.

The John Williams score is really good in spots, but in my opinion a little lazy in others.  Decades of success shouldn't give a license to overuse parallel fifths (a technique usually reserved for Americana, which the film isn't, or for inexperienced composers).  As the film progressed, I realized the parallel fifths persisted mainly during the farm scenes, something I still don't understand, but hey - Williams made up for it in later scenes.

The acting was good.  Perhaps some new talent will arise from this movie.

Be warned that there are some violent scenes when you get to the war, so I would not recommend this for young children, even those who really love horses.

My advice: go see this movie with your date, especially if you love horses, or even if you just like good story telling.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I was lucky enough to see a sneak preview and both my daughter and I found it to be amazing. It was tear wrenching in certain scenes and definately hard to watch how horses were treated during this war. It ran deeper though, touching on relationship (not just on that between horse and boy) between father and son, and the effect that the war the father had served in had effected him. It was only by serving in war himself did the son come to understand what his father went though. There is so much more to this movie than this article would lead you to believe. I can only advise you see it and then judge it for yourself.