War Horse is a movie by Steven Spielberg made its way to the Top Movies of 2011 as it hit the big screen last December 25th 2011. This inspiring film by Spielberg touched the hearts of modern folks with the story of war and friendship. Needless to say it garnered mixed reviews but everyone agreed that War Horse is a film to be treasured.
Here’s a sneak peek on what Donald Shanahan had to say about War Horse:
“Is War Horse old-fashioned? Sure it is, but, as I outlined before, those were the times, when a horse was the measure of a man. Is War Horse incredibly sentimental with this relationship? Sure it is. People love happy endings. You don’t have a heart if you can’t enjoy a good story like this and would rather turn your up your nose and call it syrup. Is any of this unbelievable tale forced down your throat? No, and that’s why Steven Spielberg makes instant classics like this. War is still cruel and violent and Spielberg doesn’t shy away from that. The realism balances the mythic overtones. He doesn’t cover it up with the so-called syrup of a sentimental horse movie. More importantly, the war was detrimental for both sides of World War I and Spielberg respects that by showing equal good and evil on both sides. There are no over-the-top “black hat” villains.
As we already know from his history, director Steven Spielberg is on another level with this kind of epic storytelling and, in his hands, this British children’s novel and stage play, based on the accounts of returned WWI veterans, is given grand cinematic treatment. Like Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, not a single technical aspect of film-making is flawed in War Horse. Everything looks, feels, and fits perfect, without requiring the cheesy use of 3D. If they used CGI or animatronic horses, I sure can’t tell and the equestrian and stunt work throughout is outstanding. Veteran Spielberg collaborator and two-time Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography, from the striking vistas of Britain and France to the intimate trenches and barbed wire of No Man’s Land, moves with award-worthy power and scope. From the dancing flute solos accompanying the opening scene of Joey’s birth to the swelling strings of an ending sunset right out of Gone With the Wind or a John Ford western, legendary composer John Williams nails every cue and note with beautiful musical themes. Altogether, War Horse is a worthy, emotional, and crowd-pleasing chapter to Spielberg’s legacy and earns its rightful place as one of the best films of 2011.”
Donald Shanahan even gave people life lessons that can be learned from War Horse:
“LESSON #1: THE BRAVERY OF NOT TAKING PRIDE IN SOMETHING– Early on in the film, we learn that Albert’s father was a veteran of the South African Boer War, but that he doesn’t display his medals or take pride in his veteran status because it was at the expense of lost lives. Albert’s mother explains to her son that there’s more bravery in not taking pride in the cost of war than glorifying its spoils and victory. I loved that lesson and it sets the tone in a great many ways to the future heroism of both Albert and Joey.”
Read the complete movie review at Chicago Film Examiner.
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