03 September 2014

War Horse, 2011 - ★½

If I'd known War Horse was this bad I would have happily let it slip through the cracks and remain unseen. Even now it seems inconceivable that a Spielberg film, co-written by Richard Curtis with a great cast could end up so spiritless and dull. In places the script sounds like it was written by a ten year old with some truly awful lines and at least two "oh pur-lease" moments (which I've instantly forgotten).

The opening scenes are terrible, essentially an hour about ploughing a field. Worse, despite being shot on location, everything looks like it was filmed on green screen and has a terrible unnatural look. It looks like something out of Lord Of The Rings and not in a good way. The music in these scenes is also overbearing so John Williams can also add his name to the list of people who should be ashamed of themselves.

Things do improve once the war starts and there are occasional moments when the film looks like it's being directed by someone of Spielberg's calibre. Unfortunately there's another unnecessary diversion with a bland sequence at a windmill which adds nothing apart from minutes to the already excessive running time.

Many scenes feel too theatrical and don't translate to film, the more cinematic scenes also seem out of of place which means very little of the final product works. I starting wondering if they'd recorded a voice for the horse (I imagined Morgan Freeman) but realised that it was too ludicrous; at least that would explain why they thought the finished film wasn't as bad as everybody else seems to think it is.

If War Horse has been made by anybody else it probably wouldn't have seemed as bad but everybody involved in this film is capable of so much more and this is a huge embarrassment.

September 03, 2014 at 11:41PM

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