Newest Review: ... In the film of War Horse his role was Albert's father. Extra information: The DVD of War Horse lasts about 140 minutes. The language... more
War Horse (DVD)
Member Name: dawnymarie
War Horse (DVD)
Advantages: Superb cinematography - captivating horse acting - poignant scenes
Film only review
What attracted me to this movie?
Apart from the fact that I love horses this movie appealed to me as soon as I saw the advertising campaign, which included a stunning poster with a great image of the two main protagonists - Albert and Joey his beloved horse. I read a review by a fellow Ciao member who made a comment about the cinematography and similarity to the final scenes of Black Adder - which I found to be very poignant - and then I saw the trailer. The trailer evoked intense emotion within me and I didn't know if I would be brave enough to go and watch the film - I'm glad I did as I was in for a treat.
Settled in for a visual delight...
I too will have to mention the cinematography - this begins my review because I think it deserves the recognition. All through the film I thought that the ambience was created beautifully by the production - be it during the horrors of the battle field or a touching moment between and a grandfather and his grand daughter, it was beauteous and made the film all the more enjoyable.
This Walt Disney production begins in a beautiful setting in Devon, the rolling hills are impressive and it is here that a young Albert (Jeremy Irvine) connects with newly born Joey - a chestnut colt. From the early moments of the film Albert's traits are evident - he is a compassionate and loyal boy. I warmed to him from then on and of course it was easy to fall for the foal that was to become a war horse. Jeremy Irvine is not an actor that I am familiar with - he filled the main role well and his acting made the character believable - I particularly liked his facial expressions as I could generally tell what he was thinking before he spoke his lines.
The accompanying music to this movie adds to the tear jerking effect of the visual production and I had a lump in my throat during most of the movie - but I am a real softie were horses are concerned - add to that the horrors of the Great War and I had no chance of keeping my eyes dry in that cinema.
The pace of the movie is just right - I didn't find myself getting fidgety or waiting for something to happen and even though I knew what was coming - as I'd read a synopsis of the movie - I was still surprised and saddened by the way Albert's father (Peter Mullen) sold Joey to an army officer. There were reasons as to why his father took this action but even so I empathised with a distraught Albert when he discovered that his beloved horse had gone.
I liked the acting qualities of Peter Mullen (Albert's father). He portrayed a troubled soul beautifully and even though initially he is presented as a man with an alcohol issue - it is evident that there is more to it - indeed there is and I had respect for him when I discovered his history.
A touching Black Beauty style moment between Joey and a fellow army horse (stunning black gelding) begins a loyal friendship that will test the viewer later in the movie - the horses were fantastic actors and some of the scenes are breathtaking - some are captivating and others I found very sad.
Joey is not in the company of his new owner for long - officer Thor (Tom Hiddleston) and he and his black gelding companion find themselves in a number of unfamiliar and frightening places whilst in France. I found the scenes of battle and battlefields difficult to view as it was just horrific for all concerned - once again I was moved to tears. The reality of the Great War hit home and the cinematography portrayed all of the scenes clearly.
I was gladdened by the kindness that found its way to Joey via a number of different people both in the armies and civilians and on occasions there was some much appreciated gentle humour which made me giggle.
A favourite part of the movie was following a scene which was astounding acting on Joey's part (the horse whisperer who worked with Spielberg was worth his weight in gold) and filmed to perfection - it also horrified me at the same time! The outcome was soldiers from opposite sides - one British and one German - working together to save Joey's life - this had a poignancy to it whilst at the same time incorporating humour and it worked really well.
Speaking of poignant moments there is a scene which is reminiscent of the last episode of Black Adder where the soldiers have to go over the wall into no mans land - just as I was saddened by the Black Adder images this movie reduced me to tears too.
Albert brought up a rare and special horse that later on in life - during the Great War - would be referred to as War Horse and Miracle Horse. I'm glad that I saw the movie to find out why.
What did I think...
The horse whisperer who worked on set with Spielberg was pretty damn good at his job! The horse acting was superb. The plot was good and even though it was Disney and is a 12A I was entertained throughout - the movie has some very strong moments that hit home about just how horrendous this time in history was, it has stayed with me and been very thought provoking. The acting was generally good by all but the stand out actors for me were the consistent Jeremy Irvine who played Albert and his father who was played by Peter Mullen. I loved the tender moments between Joey and his horse companion (black gelding) which was reminiscent of some of the Black Beauty moments and beautifully done. For this movie to have me with a lump in my throat the majority of the time and fill me with tears on numerous occasions it was obviously very well acted by all concerned. Some much appreciated moments of humour gave great relief and I was glad that the sad moments were not drawn out for long and the story continued promptly onto the next scene. All of the cinematography was striking but there was a stand out piece that had me utterly cringing and gasping with horror whilst at the same time having a huge respect for the filming, acting and props. Sound was very clear and I did not have any problems hearing the dialogue - even with background music or sound effects. Sound effects were very impressive. I really enjoyed this movie.
The DVD will be released in the near future and is by Walt Disney Studios home entertainment. Approximate running time is 145 minutes.
Director Steven Spielberg
Running time Approx 145 minutes
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Summary: This movie will test the viewer with some emotive scenes - take a hanky