I’m subbing a history class today. Since they are studying World War I, the teacher has us watching the movie, War Horse. There isn’t enough time to see the entire movie. I’m into the third showing. I think the premise of the movie is: THIS is a Steven Spielberg movie, therefore you must like it. I don’t. It’s quite predictable and just because he used wide sweeping panoramic views and sappy sentimental music doesn’t make up for the fact that the movies is just about a horse.
This movie is rife with the cliches from Spielberg’s toolbox, a beautiful center piece in the horse, a broken down and foolish farmer who buys the horse, the wise son who trains the horse, the evil man who is owed money on the horse and the goose who provides comic relief.
We get to see just how special this horse is the great plow scene, in which the entire town comes out to watch this horse plow the rock infested field. The evil man is there to chide the boy when his first few attempts to plow, end in failure bringing derision from the evil man. But the boy and the stunningly and magnificent horse persevere against all odds. Fate would have it that it begins to rain and the plow finally bites into the soil. But alas, a dastardly rock stands in the way of the horses straight row. The horse stares down the rock and plunges forward against the protests of the boy. Does the rock bust the plow to pieces? Of course not. The horse is so great that he splits the rock in two. And the crowd was amazed.
The boy and horse plow the field in order to save the family farm. They plant the beets which will bring in enough money to pay off Evil Man. But, this being a Spielberg movie, we can’t have that. A nasty, bad rain storm comes along destroying the beet crop. After all, beets can’t survive rain storms.
This leads foolish and broken down farmer to selling the horse to the Army Officer, who promises the boy, he will take care of the horse and return him after the war.
As our stunningly beautiful and magnificent horse is lead off to war, the boy promises the horse, in a truly teary scene, that he will find magnificent horse once again. He promises.
Given that it is a Spielberg movie, we can rest assured these two creatures live a life intertwined like the curls in Spielberg’s hair.
The entire movie has the feel of a 1970s Disney movie, or more cheesy, like a Lassie episode.
Happy feelings abound, except of course for the two German soldiers who are shot for desertion. (That is as far as I got!) apparently the good luck charm they found on the magnificent steed didn’t work for the Germans, or the English officer who was also killed, but bravely in battle, not like those wicked German deserters.
I give this movie a solid 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a ‘must own’ and a 1 being ‘not even on a late night when you can’t sleep’ movie.
This movie gets a 2 because it does give you the impression that something important or significant is about to take place. But I never got to the of that place in the movie.
If you want another review, read here for Jody’s take.