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War Horse

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Overstreet wrote:

: I wish I could send out an all-points bulletin, reminding reviewers of the source material: a novel for children.

Heh. When I saw the film last week, the publicist mentioned that they were pushing pretty hard to promote this film to "family audiences". I wonder which of Spielberg's films this year will be the more family-oriented -- this one, or the one based on the comic book. :)

Answer from Spielberg:

If I hadn’t made “War Horse,” somebody else was certain to make the film in the same window I made it and was certain to release the film in the same window that we’re releasing it. So I knew that whether it was me or somebody else, “War Horse” was comin’ out Christmastime 2011. I wasn’t concerned about that because I think “War Horse” is an older family audience and I think “Tintin” is a general family audience.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Keith Phipps gives it an "A":

Spielberg exercises stunning control behind the camera, never more than in a late-film sequence that all but erases the distance between the viewers’ perspective and Joey’s. His exactitude always serves the film’s emotional directness, however, as do the openhearted performances of the actors (both human and otherwise). All play characters swept up in global currents they can’t control, forced to partake in bloodshed they never desired, and struggling to hold onto the things—whether beast or idea—that reminds them of who they were.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I'm getting increasingly aggravated by the sweeping dismissals of War Horse by critics who call it overly sentimental and cheesy and feel-good crap. Did they not pay attention to the film? Or its source material?

After Wells's latest put-down, a guy identifying as "bluetide" posted this (spoiler-filled... and f-bomb filled) objection, and I had to applaud:

I thought it was the darkest, most cynical pic Spielberg has ever made. Yup, it had an "uplifting" ending, but that was just the sugar to make the medicine go down. Spielberg phoned it in there. Otherwise, every single sequence in the film was essentially an argument against the ability of the individual to persevere in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Heroically try to save your brother from getting killed in a stupid war? Fuck you, you're both dead. Do your best to protect your daughter from the horrors of war? Fuck you. She dies anyway. Put everything you have into pulling off a miracle of plowing a field to keep your family from losing the farm? Fuck you; the field floods. Again, I realize the endpieces of the film are more than hokey, although I enjoyed the cinematography at the end. But what lingered with me was just how stone cold brutal the world of this movie was. And plenty of WWI battles were fought via sword because dumb ass aristocrats still had a notion that that was the proper way to fight. I thought it was a more interesting film than SPR and quite possibly Spielberg's best since Schindler's List.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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bluetide wrote:

: Otherwise, every single sequence in the film was essentially an argument against the ability of the individual to persevere in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Unless that individual is a horse, natch.

Whoa. Suddenly I'm thinking this movie may be roughly analogous to Forrest Gump.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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: Otherwise, every single sequence in the film was essentially an argument against the ability of the individual to persevere in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Unless that individual is a horse, natch.

Well, but even the horse, despite its heroic efforts, is ultimately unable to save the other horse it bonds with. So you could extend bluetide's "F.U." logic even there.

And in the end the horse comes to the end of its powers, and is completely helpless, and needs to be painstakingly rescued by an unlikely coalition of enemy forces.

Whoa. Suddenly I'm thinking this movie may be roughly analogous to Forrest Gump.

laugh.gif I'm thinking the disanalogies would be more telling than any analogies.

The horse is noble and heroic, not just bizarrely efficient and lucky. If nothing else, War Horse is certainly a celebration of virtue and humanism, which Forrest Gump is not. Joey repeatedly meets with kind and understanding treatment as well as mistreatment.

There is no one in Forrest's life like Albert. Forrest's mother does what she can for him, and Jenny feels sorry for Forrest, but his relationship with Jenny is largely chimeral, even if she eventually sleeps with him and bears him a son.

A climactic moment in War Horse might be coincidental, but it also turns on the power of bonds of love and loyalty. And then there are the moving scenes that follow, all very different from anything in Gump.

To the extent that there is any analogy or connection at all, I'm more inclined to see Gump as the parody of the sort of movie of which War Horse is the real thing.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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i feel like the score confused this movie for me. the music was certainly beautiful but i feel like almost each time the music swelled, it happened way too soon and that kind of goes with spielbergs reputation of not earning the emotion present in the scene. i really enjoyed the movie but needed to disconnect myself from when the score got big.


"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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Saw it. Overstreet and SDG are right on this one, though Spoon is also right that the music is somewhat pushy.

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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SDG wrote:

: : Whoa. Suddenly I'm thinking this movie may be roughly analogous to Forrest Gump.

:

: laugh.gif I'm thinking the disanalogies would be more telling than any analogies.

Oh, I like the way you think. :)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"This could only have been shot in England," he told a press conference in London on Monday morning. "After I heard the reaction last night at the Odeon in Leicester Square, I realised that I'd made my first British film with War Horse. Through and through."

Hmm. You could argue that Empire of the Sun is a rather British film, even though most of it doesn't take place in Britain.

Spielberg said the sunsets in the film, including the final shot of the horse against the sky, were not digitally manipulated: "I only got five shots because the sun goes down awfully fast in Devon."

Wow. I'm surprised, actually. Those shots had some wild color.

Morpurgo said that a scene of a field strewn with dead horses and soldiers eloquently showed "the waste and pity of war, in Wilfred Owen's phrase. Blood and gore weren't necessary."

Emily Watson, who plays Rosie Narracott in the film, said that War Horse was particularly timely as the final veteran of the Somme, Harry Patch, died three years ago: "The first world war is leaving living memory."

Morpurgo added that in the final scene of the sitcom Blackadder Goes Forth, broadcast on BBC1 in 1989, Curtis had created with co-writer Ben Elton "one of the great scenes of cinema on the first world war". The characters are shown running into a hail of gunfire before the scene fades to a field of poppies.

Blackadder!!!

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Spielberg said the sunsets in the film, including the final shot of the horse against the sky, were not digitally manipulated: "I only got five shots because the sun goes down awfully fast in Devon."

Wow. I'm surprised, actually. Those shots had some wild color.

I'm stunned by this as well. I'm sorry to say that the color in those final shots really took me out of the film, because they looked so manipulated. And Roger Ebert even wrote about this footage "with the rich colors and dramatic framing on what is either a soundstage or intended to look like one." This is almost as surprising as George Lucas revealing that the famous twin sunset on Tatooine was not a special effect, but rather an atmospheric illusion.

Actually, I had trouble with the lighting throughout War Horse. Specifically, the key lighting on the actors' faces. In almost every scene, no matter how dark the surroundings, the speaker's face is bathed in an unnaturally bright glow. I know this was done intentionally (it actually takes a lot of work to achieve this effect) to give the film a "storybook" feel. But I found it distracting.

That's really my only complaint, though. Otherwise, I'm in strong agreement with those who say War Horse is Spielberg's best movie in years.

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morgan1098 wrote:

: Actually, I had trouble with the lighting throughout War Horse. Specifically, the key lighting on the actors' faces. In almost every scene, no matter how dark the surroundings, the speaker's face is bathed in an unnaturally bright glow. I know this was done intentionally (it actually takes a lot of work to achieve this effect) to give the film a "storybook" feel. But I found it distracting.

You must hate Kaurismaki films. :)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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MP.WarHorse.01.re-lettered.flattened.sm_.gif

MP.WarHorse.02.re-lettered.flattened.sm_.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I just received a press release for the DVD/Blu-ray that reads as follows...

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed and multi Academy Award®-nominated epic adventure War Horse will arrive in stores on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital and On-Demand on April 3, 2012. The film, which Phil Boatwright of Preview On Line called “a perfect movie…a triumph…a work of art,” enthralls viewers with its visually stunning and emotionally heartwarming story of courage and friendship as seen through the eyes of an unforgettable horse named Joey and his miraculous journey to find his way back home.

...

Aside of its six Academy Award nominations, War Horse will receive a Christopher Award at that esteemed organization’s 63rd annual celebration in New York on May 24th, 2012. Christopher Awards are presented by The Christophers to writers, producers, directors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.

War Horse, which received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, drew praise from a range of prominent faith-based film reviewers, including these:



  • “The director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan has given us a perfect movie. Indeed, it is a triumph, a work of art.” – Phil Boatwright, Preview On Line

  • “Fans of the play will love this adaptation and applaud the craft that went into bringing the story to life. It is certainly a film of hope and inspiration [that impacts] every level of emotion.” – Matt Mungle, Salem Radio Network’s The Doug and Kim Show

  • “For all you genteel folks who thought Saving Private Ryan was a little too realistic to be enjoyable, Steven Spielberg tones down the violence in War Horse. It's the heartwarming story of a horse literally drafted off the family farm that survives World War I. We love this story because it has young romance, wholesome kids coming of age, an uplifting soundtrack and a happy ending.” – Ronald Salfen, Presbyterian Outlook

  • “A film of a kind we don't see any more, that it would be good to see more of.” – Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide

Wow, for so many reasons.

After all of these decades, somebody finally did it. A perfect movie.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Well, obviously, JO. If SDG says it is, it is. Come on - get with the program.

I just received a press release for the DVD/Blu-ray that reads as follows...

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed and multi Academy Award®-nominated epic adventure War Horse will arrive in stores on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital and On-Demand on April 3, 2012. The film, which Phil Boatwright of Preview On Line called “a perfect movie…a triumph…a work of art,” enthralls viewers with its visually stunning and emotionally heartwarming story of courage and friendship as seen through the eyes of an unforgettable horse named Joey and his miraculous journey to find his way back home.

...

Aside of its six Academy Award nominations, War Horse will receive a Christopher Award at that esteemed organization’s 63rd annual celebration in New York on May 24th, 2012. Christopher Awards are presented by The Christophers to writers, producers, directors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.

War Horse, which received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, drew praise from a range of prominent faith-based film reviewers, including these:



  • “The director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan has given us a perfect movie. Indeed, it is a triumph, a work of art.” – Phil Boatwright, Preview On Line

  • “Fans of the play will love this adaptation and applaud the craft that went into bringing the story to life. It is certainly a film of hope and inspiration [that impacts] every level of emotion.” – Matt Mungle, Salem Radio Network’s The Doug and Kim Show

  • “For all you genteel folks who thought Saving Private Ryan was a little too realistic to be enjoyable, Steven Spielberg tones down the violence in War Horse. It's the heartwarming story of a horse literally drafted off the family farm that survives World War I. We love this story because it has young romance, wholesome kids coming of age, an uplifting soundtrack and a happy ending.” – Ronald Salfen, Presbyterian Outlook

  • “A film of a kind we don't see any more, that it would be good to see more of.” – Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide

Wow, for so many reasons.

After all of these decades, somebody finally did it. A perfect movie.

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Well, obviously, JO. If SDG says it is, it is. Come on - get with the program.

What?

The last quote on that list is from you.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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The last quote on that list is from you.

But the quote Jeff is agog over is Phil Boatwright. I didn't call it a perfect film. In fact, my praise for the film is a click below Jeff's. (I think it made his top 10 and my top 20.)


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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The last quote on that list is from you.

But the quote Jeff is agog over is Phil Boatwright. I didn't call it a perfect film. In fact, my praise for the film is a click below Jeff's. (I think it made his top 10 and my top 20.)

Guilt by involuntary association. Since somebody else placed your quote close to his, it seems reasonable to conclude that you endorse his opinion. I can see no possible problem with that logic.

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SDG's right, I was agog at the Boatwright quote. Well, no, I wasn't: That's Boatwright being Boatwright. But I'm allergic to the idea of a "perfect" movie, especially in the terms promoted by PreviewOnline Family Movie Reviews. (It's basically a simplified Movieguide.) One of the "wows" came when I saw SDG thrown in with this lineup of reviewers.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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SDG's right, I was agog at the Boatwright quote. Well, no, I wasn't: That's Boatwright being Boatwright. But I'm allergic to the idea of a "perfect" movie, especially in the terms promoted by PreviewOnline Family Movie Reviews. (It's basically a simplified Movieguide.) One of the "wows" came when I saw SDG thrown in with this lineup of reviewers.

I hope everyone takes this as I meant it - tongue-in-cheek. SDG/Overstreet, just yanking your chains. Tyler's and Bowen's comments above sum it up pretty well. It's still nice to see SDG quoted in that press release...

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I haven't read any posts in this thread, but my everything I think about this film is perfectly captured here, at 3:55. "You're not just a war horse, you're a friend horse." :

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/war-horse/1374374


In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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