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Thursday, December 8, 2011

War Horse: A review of a prescreening

I received an e-mail  invitation from a group called Grace Hill Media to attend a free preview of a new movie called War Horse. I didn't have time to open the e-mail let alone respond to it. However, my wife got a similar invitation from our churche's home school support group. She went ahead and reserved two tickets for Spider Droid and me to attend.

The theatre where they were showing the movie is in one of my old stomping grounds. The theatre has particular meaning to me because it is where I took Bunny to see her first movie at the tender age of 3, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Now I have never been to a special screening of a movie before and did not know exactly what to expect. Amy had kind of got the impression it was a will call situation. The crazy girl got that impression when the person she contacted asked for the names of the people who would be attending. When we got there, 10 minutes before the movie started, they said the theatre was almost filled, and that if they did have seats available, SD and I would not be able to sit together.

SD was not thrilled by that, and wanted to turn around back then. I was able to coax him to at least go in the theatre and check out what was available. The closest seats were 5 or 6 rows between them, and we were right about to turn back when a very nice Mom offered to put her youngun on her lap for the movie so SD and I could sit close to each other. This was very kind of her, considering that this is a 160 minute movie.

It turns out that SD sat in a Captain's Chair type seat that was just in front of the first full row of seats and I sat diagonally behind him. We were able to switch popcorn and soda back and forth between us for the course of the picture.

The movie, which opens on December 25th, was incredible. Steven Spielberg directed this film and it is well worthy of the buzz that is associated with a Spielberg film. The movie is not wholly unlike Spielberg's WWII movie, Saving Private Ryan. It is just mostly unlike it. SPR was very deserving of its R rating and I am not sure that War Horse was as deserving of its PG-13 branding. After seeing Saving Private Ryan, Amy said it was like being in war. After seeing War Horse, you get an inkling of what WWI was like, but you don't feel like you participated in it. This is due in part to the cinematography which brings a regal and haunting beauty to almost every scene of The War Horse. The film is actually much more like A Little Princess or Heidi in that you see the main character, which is definitely the horse, interact with a variety of people and bring out the best in almost everyone it encounters.

Heidi similarities not withstanding, this  film is not for everyone. My son and I often  discuss whether his sisters will like a film we have seen together. War Horse pretty much has 2 acts: pre WWI and WWI. We are agreed that Bunny would like Act I but not Act II. While there were children Puppy's age (6) or younger, I don't think she would have enjoyed it. This is a war movie and there is plenty of violence to go around. Yet much of it is done off screen. This does not take the power away from it. In one scene ,a significant character dies in a battle and the viewer figures it out without even seeing a single blow.

The acting is first rate. It is great to go to a movie and recognize an actor or actress who plays one of your favorite characters in another movie. If there are any fans of Miss Potter, you should like the casting of the main human character's mother.

One aspect of the movie that I discussed with Spider Droid on the way home was how the movie handles the topic of war. It neither glorifies it or demonizes it. It also doesn't result in stereotypical portrayals of the "enemies." The filmmakers show goodness on both sides of the trenches.

War Horse is a great film that I look forward to seeing it again. I also hope to attend more prescreenings of movies in the future. Next time, I'll just arrive a tad earlier. ******************************************************************************************************************************* My current HSBA feature blog is Frontier Dreams which won for Best Crafts, Plans & Projects.  It is a gorgeous blog with precious pictures of darling children.  Click here for a sample post.
Next Time: Obligatory Christmas Tree Post


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. However, I can't figure out how old your kids are other than Puppy. It sounds like a great movie, but I am still trying to figure out if DD (8yo) is ready for it. Maybe we will wait....

Dave Roller said...

I guess it depends on the 8 year old. Spider Droid is 10 and had no trouble with it. Bunny is 12 and would probably be troubled by the amount of horses that were depicted as killed or injured in the film. I am a big advocate of seeing the film first to see if it is acceptable for your children. Which usually screams out wait until it comes out on DVD.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is an unrelated comment (well, sort of--I'm going to talk about a movie), but I didn't really know how to contact you. I came across your blog from a Top 100 Homeschool Blogs list (we're homeschoolers!) and thought perhaps you might be interested and can spread the word? There will be a FREE showing of COURAGEOUS on Feb. 9th, 7pm in St. Charles at the Arcada Theater sponsored by a ministry called GRIP OUTREACH FOR YOUTH, an organization dedicated to "fathering the fatherless."

getessay review said...

It’s been a pleasure reading your post. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well.

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