I might have to recuse myself from this review.
Honestly, I’m not the guy you want reviewing a film like this. I’m not the guy that’s going to be “moved” watching teary eyed people talking about their ‘orse like it was %#$&ing Ghandi while the sun sets behind them and weepy orchestral music pours out of every freaking scene.
I’m the guy in the back with his feet up and his arms crossed thinking. “It’s. A. Horse. People.”
That said, if you can stomach the suffocating, sledgehammer sentimentality, “War Horse” is a well put together film that people less cynical than I am will probably like a lot more than I did.
“War Horse” is the story of an ‘orse who gets conscripted into World War I and winds up single handidly winning the war by changing enough hearts on either side of the battlelines that people just want to stop fighting and focus exclusively on talking about how magical an ‘orse he is. Oh, alright, not exactly, but it’s certainly close. He does get conscripted into war and he winds up all over the place, and he gets caught up with several different people and events and thus the movie winds up having a bit of a vignette feel to it.
Not all of the vignettes are created equal, and certainly some of the segments are better than others, but they all have one thing in common. The ‘orse.
Granted that some of the people who come across him treat him like a common animal, but most are forced to comment on what a “Remarkable ‘orse” he is. Which is true. Because people literally makes remarks on this horse 743 times. “Well, you’re a clever fellow aren’t ya?” and “He’s the best ‘orse I’ve ever known” or “Well, blimey… I didn’t know ‘orses could negotiate peace treaties…”
Now hear me out. I know, I know. I’m laying on the hard assery a little thick. And I understand that the very purpose of these films is to show how “remarkable” animals can be. So there’s kind of no point to having the movie even, if the ‘orse didn’t do special things, and people didn’t have their lives changed, etc etc. But seriously. The ‘orses original owner pretty much gets a letter home from the front from the horse. No exaggeration. Little pictures, says “I love you” the whole deal. And people are constantly reacting like this ‘orse is the equine equivalent of Jesus. Honestly, the way the boy who originally owned the ’orse acts to him, it makes me want to start a new category for next year’s MAJOR Awards, the “Would You Two Just %#$&ing DO It Already” Award. They’d probably lose out to J Edgar Hoover and his lifemate Clyde Tolson this year, but they’d be strong contenders.
There was one point where they almost had me. In spite of nearly drowning in syrup for an hour and forty-five minutes, when they finally got to the war scene the trailers highlight (seriously, they should of called this movie “Fringe of War Horse” or “Support Horse”), they had me for like ten minutes. That scene and the resultant aftermath were very well done, and if somehow the movie could have avoided falling back into the maudlin morass it had been mired in from that point forward, I’d be speaking of it much more favorably than I am now.
It doesn’t. If anything, it shifts it into an even higher gear. JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE HOW MUCH I WARM YOUR HEART NOW!!!
I dont know. I dont react well to this sort of movie, I guess. But there’s so many sunset scenes I almost couldnt take it. And there were times when there were battle sequences going on and people get killed and I was letting out the Nelson Muntz “HA HA!” in my head as counter reaction to all the schmaltz.
I do feel bad though. People swing through here for an opinion on movies, and I’m probably not the guy to turn to on this one. So I got you all a second opinion. Ok?
See? They’re kind of backing me up. If you’re critical of movies at all, you’re probably going to agree with Odorus Urungus and I in that this movie is a little difficult to tolerate, but if you’re not adverse to such blatant sentimentality, or especially if you love horses, than you’ll agree with Balsac and this movie is going to be the movie for you.
B But mainly for its high production work, cinematography and the fact that I realize I’m not this movie’s target audience.