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War Horse

January 20, 2012

This movie was the perfect way to end 2011. The short story is we (Mark and I) thought we could have a fun, ironic time watching New Year’s Eve on NYE….buuuuut we ended up leaving (at the very beginning) and going to watch War Horse instead.

Best. Decision. Ever.

War Horse is a visual treat.  I really don’t know how you could dislike this film.  Set in WWI, Spielberg masterfully balances multiple stories that show us the brutal realities of war and the story of a remarkable horse named Joey.  Originally a book (1982) that was adapted into a play in 2007, War Horse captured the imaginations of American producers and directors and was brought to life while the animation for Spielberg’s Tin Tin was being finished.

I hate giving away too much about a movie in the reivew…if you want spoilers, I suggest YouTube.  Instead, I’ll give you five reasons to go see (and fall in love with) War Horse:

1. The cast. This movie is filled with great actors, established (Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup) and new comers (Jeremy Irvine, ) all had solid performances.

2. Joey. Right from the beginning you are hooked. This horse is something special; teacher, companion, friend, fighter, War Horse. Also- you like horses, who doesn’t? Deep down, you can’t fight that you love movies about horses.

3. The scene with the English and German solidier. Humorous, heartbreaking, historical. By far, our favorite scene in the whole movie.

4. A little French girl captures your heart. I mean you’d have to be heartless not to love the mini hurdles she sets up as a demonstration for Joey.

5. The Great War. Soooo maybe I am kind of obsessed with Downton Abbey right now, and this happens to fall in the same period of time, but nonetheless this is a sight to see. This was was brutal in Europe and I’m a sucker for a story that can bring hope in the misdst of so much tragedy.

Fun Facts

  • Jeremy Irvine (who plays Albert Narracott) has been known for his theater work but this was his first film.
  • This was Celene Buckens (who played Emilie) first role ever.
  • Fourteen horses were used to play Joey but the main ‘actor’ horse, Finder, also played Seabiscuit in the film by the same name.
  • Specially designed mud was used to make the battle scenes look authentically filthy.
  • Michael Morpurgo, the original author of War Horse, had a cameo in the film.  He was standing next to David Thewlis in the auction at the beginning of the movie.
  • Hey PETA! —> Representatives of the American Humane Society were on set at all times to ensure the health and safety of all animals involved, and the Society awarded the film an “outstanding” rating for the care that was taken of all the animals during the production.

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