As mentioned in the previous post I attended a screening of WAR HORSE on Wednesday night. This has been one of the most anticipated movies of the year. You really can't get a feel for how a film will preform during awards season until critics and bloggers review the movie.
Going in I did not have any preconceived notions about the story of WAR HORSE. I knew that it was a huge hit on Broadway and I had seen the movie trailer. The trailer pretty much tells us that a lovable horse runs through some war stuff. During the first 30 minutes of the movie I wanted to hang myself. The first act looked like some of the worst "green screen" I have ever seen. The lighting was harsh and uneven. I am pretty sure Helen Keller edited the first part. There is a weird zoom into the mother' hands while she is knitting that dissolves to a running horse. The effect is so cheesy that I think I heard a few people chuckle. I will toss this up to the possibility that this was not the final cut and hopefully it will be cleaned up before it's release. Also, the story line and script in the first act are so predictable I readied myself for a big disappointment. But then it all changed. After the agonizing story of WAR HORSE being raised we begin to meet other characters who lives cross with this horse. It is here that we see the real Spielberg. We see various stories about people that have come into contact with this horse. One of the stories involving two brothers fighting in the war is way too long and goes off in an odd direction, but the others are very well done. The scenes from the war are Spielberg at his best.
In summary WAR HORSE is a very good film. With some cleaning up it can even be a great film. Yes there are some flaws in the story and some of them may be it's down fall. Sure it is text book "Oscar bait" which could turn off some people but, if the audience goes in with an open mind they will feel like they just witnessed a classic. Look for it December 25th.
MY GRADE: A-