I saw the movie War Horse today on its opening day. I enjoyed the movie and I found nothing to criticize. As far as I know, everything was accurate with regard to the battle scenes. Keep in mind that this movie is rated PG-13. It is based on a children’s novel. So there is not much blood and gore.
I was also surprised to find that there was no German-hatred in the film, considering that Spielberg’s movies Schindler’s List and The Last Days are full of lies. I was satisfied with the way that German soldiers were portrayed in this film. There was no “cutting the hands off the babies in Belgium” stories and no atrocities shown. I also thought that the British were portrayed accurately in the film.
There is a funny scene in which a German soldier corrects the English grammar of a British soldier when the British guy says to the German: “You speak good English.” Technically that is incorrect because good is an adjective and an adverb is required in the sentence. The German guy then says the sentence correctly: “I speak English well.”
The film is a bit corny, but since it is supposed to be a family movie, suitable for 13-year-old kids, it is O.K. There are only two female roles in the film, and no romance. War Horse is essentially a movie for young boys.
The movie does not get into who or what started World War I, nor does it say anything about why the war stopped when it did. So there is nothing controversial in the film. This could be considered a good thing, but it could also mean that the movie will be quickly forgotten because it lacks interest. I did not consider anything in this film to be worthy of an Academy Award. But I did enjoy it.
Update Dec. 26, 2011
This morning I checked out some other reviews of the film War Horse. I found several reviews here, some of which agree with me and some that don’t. Here is a quote about the movie which sums up my opinion:
The Final Word
“War Horse” is a sort of litmus test for how you feel about Steven Spielberg’s films. It’s a beautiful movie, stunning to look at, with echoes of film history all throughout, reaching back to ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘The Searchers,’ Spielberg’s own ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and more. It’s also unapologetically sentimental. Spielberg all but begs you to cry, and unless you’re a heartless cad, you probably will.” ? Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
I feel that War Horse makes up for Spielberg’s films The Last Days and Schindler’s List, both of which should be withdrawn, or at least not shown to children in Holocaust education classes in schools.