Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' Video Review with Alex, Peter, Brandon
by Alex Billington
December 24, 2011
"Can you imagine flying over a war, and you know you can never look down?" I admit I'm a huge Steven Spielberg fanatic, mostly because I've grown up with his many films and love the epic storytelling he has a knack for. I was anxious to see War Horse, as it brings Spielberg back to the war landscape, which I personally love. I attended a screening of the film nearly a month ago and recorded a video blog at the time with our own Brandon Tenney and Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm, discussing our spoiler-free initial thoughts on the film we'd just seen. It finally arrives in theaters this weekend, so here is our video in full.
War Horse is as magnificent, epic and wonderfully entertaining (and emotional) as we've all come to expect from Spielberg, but I have to admit I felt there was something missing, something out of balance with it. I haven't had the chance to see it again (and again) to analyze more, but as much as I wanted to love it, I didn't. It might have to do with the episodic nature of it and/or that we were shown the trailer on repeat for 30 minutes before it started, but either way I didn't connect with it like I was hoping. Here's our video blog:
Despite a few issues with the film, overall I still enjoyed it and the more I think back to it, the more I realize there are some incredible pieces of it that really stand out. First and foremost, John Williams' score is tremendous, one of his best scores in a long time and one that I find myself listening to often. Additionally, the lesser-known primary cast, lead by Jeremy Irvine (my interview with him) with appearances by Tom Hiddleston and Toby Kebbell, were outstanding and brought a lot of the emotion and depth to the story. And of course, all of the horses themselves were fantastic, becoming fully-fleshed characters of their own.
There's also a scene in War Horse, which we briefly talk about in the video, that might just be my favorite scene of any movie year. It's the final cavalry scene with Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, the moment where the horses are jumping over the German soldiers. If you've seen it, you'll know the scene I'm talking about. Incredible editing and a brilliant lead up made me truly feel the pains of what was happening more than any other scene in the film, and it's a moment I constantly think back to. It's those kind of scenes where Spielberg truly shines and where he once again reminds me why I do love his movies so damn much.