Monday, February 20, 2012

War Horse

If you want to get John responding to one of your posts, all you gotta do is say some sweeping generalization or misinformed atheist cliché about The Bible. That’s why, henceforth, in all my posts I will be putting in one Biblical non sequitor just to keep him engaged and/or ticked off. For instance:

I caught WAR HORSE the other night. I think I’m in complete agreement with Brandon on it. It’s sentimental, manipulative, ridiculously contrived, yet I found myself moved, engaged, and utterly willing to be manipulated by it. The Bible says it’s okay to have slaves. I can’t deny the film’s faults, nor can I really take issue with any of the points Adrienne or Jason made against it. There’s a lot to rag on, and it’s easy to call it typical Spielbergian goo (in a lot of ways it is).

I guess I was drawn to its contrivances. The opening pastoral scenes looked painted and phony, but often beautiful. They reminded me of classic film–staged, but designed to evoke a feeling. I thought of HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY at several points in the beginning, and that pleased me. The rest of the film is improbable and manipulative, but I suspected as much before I even started watching it. I knew I was watching an old-fashioned Spielberg Hollywood movie and gave in. I knew Joey would be a mix of animatronics and CGI at times, but I still felt emotional for him. I knew we’d get our corny ending, and I wasn’t disappointed by it at all. The movie delivers the weepie goods.

I would agree with Brandon that it has some of the most beautiful images of last year. And that some of the scenes and images are so powerful that they transcend the film’s hokiness. The barbed-wire scene being one, the wheat field image being another. For all its contrivances, it does some things very well and does them earnestly. It’s often lovely.

And I should admit that I find horses amazing and beautiful beyond words (my feelings about nearly all animals). You don’t even need to manipulate me into feeling something for an animal like Joey; I already do the moment I see him. So that was an easy sell for me.

Anyway, I liked WAR HORSE quite a bit. It probably wouldn't retrospectively crack the top 10, but it still charmed me more than most films I saw last year.


  1. I don't care what kind of bait you throw out there for me. You can't get me to engage with War Horse. Do I really need to break down and watch this horse pornography in order to set you all straight?

    I'm not sure that I have the discipline to force myself to sit through this movie. I hate horse romances.

    Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against horses in movies. It's just that I think they should be carrying cowboys or they should be dead or dying. That's all.

  2. But doesn't The Bible say "Thou shalt love thy corny horse romances"?