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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 June 2012
War Horse, the movie, is an adaptation for big screen of the children's novel
of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. It was also staged as a play for the
National Theatre.

Brilliantly directed by Steven Spielberg and introducing newcomer the very
able Jeremy Irvine, alongside, Emily Watson and Peter Mullan. It focuses
on the coming of age and friendship of a boy Albert and his horse Joey.

It is World War One and Joey is sold to the British Army, used and abused
in the way that humans all too often treat animals, echoes of "Black Beauty"
come to mind.

Set in the beautiful desolation of the Dartmoor country side and Castle
Combe village in Wiltshire, with other locations for the war footage,
it is good honest family entertainment. The war scenes though stark are
not particularly bloody and should not have youngsters or Grandma hiding
behind the Sofa. Certificated for age 12.

The back cover lists a Bonus Feature : War Horse - The Journey Home,
that was missing from my copy of the DVD, there is, however, a short
bonus feature titled The Look with insights from Spielberg, some cast
and crew.

Total viewing is approx 140 minutes.
Subtitles are available in English
and other languages.

Well worth buying !
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on 22 January 2012
I tried not to read the reviews or hype about this film as I wanted to experience it without any bias.From the opening scene of the lush fields of an English country-side, the idealic stone farmhouse- the flushed cheeks and blue eyes of our young hero,Jeremy Irvine and the sleek chestnut tones and velvet black eyes of the main protagonist Joey- everything glowed with the technicolour of days gone past.
Spielberg and Williams are a match made in cinema heaven - for each shot that has an emotional charge, the score will take you by the hand to get you there-to those emotional highs and lows. Remember the days of Star Wars , Raiders of the Last Ark, ET; beloved films that are permanently etched onto our frontal lobe, with a great composer and a great director, being the artists who put them there.
War Horse has that kind of magic. Originating from a Michael Morpugo book,whose narratives always seem to hover around those sentimental heart strings and the dynamic duo are now a trio. For those nay-sayers , pounding your little fists and shouting, 'manipulative film-making'- News Flash! All film-making is supposed to and designed to have an impact on the viewer and most filmakers try very hard to achieve this- it's just that Spielberg does it so much better.
There is plenty to sink your teeth into with this wonderful film including a marvelous ensemble cast. Take the family or just yourself- and bring the tissues.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2012
More recently Steven Spielberg has become known as a producer, in fact his directing credits are becoming less common.

In the past year he has produced the brillant Super 8, one of my favorites, directed by JJ Abrams, the creator, writer and occasional director of Lost, and the recent Star trek. Super 8 is a great nostalgia piece evoking the early eighties, and an homage to Spielberg's earliest movies. Spielberg also produced Cowboys and Aliens, a somewhat weird meshing of two genres.

Now with War Horse Spielberg directs, and shows his masterful touches throughout. In fact, if you are like me you can see traces of many great movies of the past. The early portions of the movies showing English countryside scenes, and the musical soundtrack of John Williams are reminiscent of John Ford's The Quiet Man. Trench warfare scenes are reminiscent of that all time classic All Quiet on the Western Front. Incidents relating to deserting soldiers are thematically reminiscent of Kubrick's Paths of Glory.

War, as bad as it is, somehow seems worse when an innocent animal is involved, which ultimately makes War Horse the ultimate anti war polemic. And we have a love story between a young boy Albert, and a horse named Joey. As the movie begins we see the horse being born.

Later Albert's alcoholic father instead of buying a proper plough horse, foolishly pits himself agaainst his own landlord in bidding for the flash horse Joey, instead of a huge Clydesdale, making his tenancy precarious, and imperiling his families limited fortunes. Joey faces many trials and tribulations adjusting to the plough. Here we have a wonderful perforamnce from Emily Watson as the mother, cruelly snubbed during award season.

When the war happens the father impulsively sells the horse to the military, despite Albert's protests. Albert, understandably distressed, too young to join the military, vows to be reunited with Joey. Meanwhile Joey goes to the front, and we have a poignant scene with his new owner. He and another horse escape the war briefly, and are adopted by a teenage girl. It's not long before the war interferes again, and Joey has a series of adventures. My favorite scene is when he gets trapped in No Mans land, and both sides have to cooperate to free him. I loved the wire clippers flying scene. I also loved the sub story about the two young German brothers, and the parallel structure about how the British deal with a similar situation.

Ultimately the horse is a silent witness to the horror of war, becoming an effective storytelling metaphor.

Later in the movie one scene I thought was a little overdone, the moment of blindfold recognition. I like to feel emotions in a movie, but not to have them evoked in a contrived way.

Warhorse certainly deserves to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Cinematography, yet I cannot help thinking that actors who vote for awards would prefer as I do to have the story centered around a human character. Nevetheless, when I was a child or young teen I loved watching movies like this, particularly Lassie Goes to war.

Another movie I recommend if you don't mind subtitles is the French movie A Very Long Engagement - 2 Disc Edition [DVD], starring Audrey Tautou, and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard. A girl seeks her boyfriend believed killed by being sent over the trench deliberately into no mans land for breaking military regulations. It has huge parallels with War Horse except the protagonists are human, and also operates as a polemic. A beautifully filmed touching love story set against the war.

I think you will love it, and I hope this was helpful.
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on 28 November 2012
brilliant...nearly intears ...the story was about a young lads love for a horse which was reciprocated,they both find themselves being dragged through a world war together but finally coming home to peace.. the whole story was done in such a mesmerising way that it held your attention from start to finish..the brutality and compassion found in war was put over in such a compelling way that even now monthes after watching it i am still affected by it..i would recommend this to ADULT audiences only(far too upsetting for children) even though i did intially think that it would be good for my grandaughter- luckily i watched it first as i realised then it was the stuff of nightmares for young-and maybe even older-kids even in these enlightened days..
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on 3 May 2012
I want to give this 4.5/5, but I can't. After reading the book, learning about it in English lessons, seeing the West End play, I knew straight away I had to see this. I loved War Horse in every format, especially the film. Like the title says, it is Visually Stunning, and will be stunning on Blu-ray. The acting is amazing, it's really enjoyable and you will certainly feel the pain of the horse. I especially love War Horse because you get to see what it's like on both sides of the war and it's not biased at all. I believe to have ranked it 3rd in my top films of 2012 so far. 4.5/5 stars

UPDATE: As of 24/12/12, it's 9th on my Top 10 of 2012.
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on 29 December 2012
This is an outstanding film produced by the master himself, Steven Spielberg. The original stage play about two horses caught up in the carnage of World War 1, and their humanising effect on everybody with whom they came into contact was a smash hit on the London Stage. It was unique for its slightly larger than life horse puppets animated by the members of the Handspring Puppet Theatre from South Africa. The transferral of such a masterpiece from stage to film can be hazardous in that the magic can be lost. That certainly did not happen in this case, and I regard this as a 'must have' film. Please see it. This DVD is now one of my prized possessions, and is required viewing for all horse lovers and others who appreciate the civilising effect that beautiful animals can have on the human race.
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on 14 December 2012
Having seen this at the cinema I just had to get the DVD. Why? Because this is a truly remarkable film of hope, love & kindred friendship between a young lad & his horse. From the very outset you are drawn back in time to a harsher world than we live in today, one of basic simplicity & needs, of a nation yet to suffer even more profound & harder times ahead. This may not be a true story but it accurately portrays what life would have been like in the lead up to & on the front line during World War I. For all concerned, especially the men & horses of the cavalry regiments, this film depicts a powerful & moving account of the atrocities of war that were faced on a daily basis. Wonderfully cast, great cinematography & visual effects I cannot recommend this film highly enough, it is most definitely one of my all time greats & a worthwhile addition to my DVD collection.
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on 1 February 2012
Just been to see this film with some friends and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. From the opening shots of rural Devon and the English countryside, the stunning battle sequences, (the charge through the camp sequence is truly stunning!) and the wonderful heart warming scenes peppered throughout this film IS the film of 2012.
Steven Spielberg captures every scene between the boy and his horse beautifully and indeed the horse itself is a truly magnificent creature. If an animal were ever offered an oscar nomimation Joey the horse would certainly be up for it.
Steven once again captures the horrors of war brilliantly once again but doesn't take it to extremes thus losing the focus on the real story which is of course the horse.
I can honestly say I have never been so moved by a movie of this caliber for a very long time. Might want to pack some Kleenex though!
A five star treat!!
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on 19 January 2012
Saw this film yesterday, glad I took along plenty of tissues. Have read the book and the film portrays it just the same. Have read all the reviews and am disappointed with the ones that don't think it is that good. Having family that fought in WWI I thought it was very well portrayed. Just go to Ypres and other French battlefields to get the real feel for the time!! The father I thought was very good and really came over as having suffered in the Boer War and like WWI veterans wouldn't talk about their experiences as it was so bad.
Albert, being an only child living on Dartmoor, would probably have a real sense of communicating with animals so his affection for Joey was brilliant.
Steven Spielberg did a fantastic job and I think the casting was very good. His shots of Devon, where I live, were brilliant and portrays the county exactly as it was, and still is, rugged and many farms cut off in the middle of the moor.
All in all a brilliant film and one I shall go to see again, with tissues at hand!
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on 27 May 2016
I hate animal cruelty even if it is implied animal cruelty in films, it's digusting. Why is animal cruelty even shown in films? This film is very depressing, but it was based on a real very brave horse, I think it was called Daredevil or something similar.
If you are interested in British history from the WWI era, then you'll like this film, but I really hate that horses die and the war horse almost dies many times, it's depressing.
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