I love Steven Spielberg. Devoutly. He is a genius and a master storyteller. Spielberg has an incredible way of seeing the world and can visually capture your imagination. I am always nervous before I watch his new films–I worry–“Will this be the movie of his that I dislike–will it disappoint?”–No. I think not…that has yet to happen (loved Tintin as well)! And with War Horse –he only highlights the things I love about him!
First of all, let’s talk imagery. War Horse is gorgeous! From cloudy blue skies–horse mounting in wheat fields–to color saturated sunsets, it is beautiful to behold. At times, visually poetic. I felt a homage to the days of Technicolor with its vibrant color pallet. And in many ways this is a movie that could easily fit in the golden age of movie making–classic and simple.
At its heart, this is a sentimental family film and it is unapologetic about it. A sincere love story. A story for anyone who has ever loved an animal, but especially for children, because they tend to love more freely and completely. Yet, in true Spielberg fashion, he does not shy away from showing the harsh reality of war and the sometimes ugly nature of men.
This is the first time that World War 1 is captured by Spielberg and does he beautifully–the trenches–the Calvary charges–and the use of artillery weapons. It is the ending of an era of warfare and the introduction of new age. The price that all these characters pay is steep. One of my favorite scenes involves a British soldier and a German solider, who venture out of their trenches with a common purpose and it is brilliant!
The cast is perfect and I thought it was a good choice to not have any, truly, familiar faces. It made the story feel more authentic. They used over 40 horses to play the lead, Joey. and hundreds during filming and they are the real stars of the movie. As someone who believes that all animals have personality and a spirit, it was not difficult for me to connect to this horse and cheer for him.
I allowed myself to be caught in every moment and feeling. People have asked me if it is sad and have to say no–it is not sad–but it is heartfelt and touching. War Horse is a lovely film and that is something that can not be said so often nowadays. Thank you Mr. Spielberg!