‘War Horse’ Features Sentient, Christ-like Horse

by Eric Melin on January 2, 2012

in Reviews,Video Reviews

This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.

Steven Spielberg’s new live-action film is called War Horse, but you may get it confused with his computer-animated film The Adventures of Tintin because there’s not a real human being in it anywhere.

Stealing iconic cinematography cues from Gone With the Wind and old-school John Ford westerns, War Horse is an adaptation of a 1982 children’s book that follows a horse with remarkable powers of observation through the various highlights and battles of World War I.

There are no fewer than 10 people who believe they own the horse by the end of the war, and things just kind of wind down with an inevitable thud.

A couple battle sequences are filmed with great care, but War Horse is still essentially a trite, manipulative soap opera run through the lens of World War I to give it a lot of historic and artistic sensibility.

War Horse is one of the most cloying, annoying movies of the year, and Spielberg has really turned back the clock on some of his most mature work to date in the last decade—especially if this is what he’s been up to recently.

Here he pays tribute to classic 30s movies, but without any of the innovation. Watching War Horse is like watching Rin Tin Tin or Babe the pig, lucking in and out of every tough situation, Forrest Gump-style. The only difference is, Babe and its sequel were clever films that had something to say.

Read Trey Hock’s review of War Horse here.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ggail January 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the horse was “Christ-like,” but I will say the movie was corny and boring, drawn completely within the lines, borrowing with a heavy hand from Black Beauty and Spirit. A big disappointment.


2 Eric Melin January 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Agreed. Thanks for the comment!

Maybe the scene where Joey the horse was tangled up in barbed wire and caused two warring sides to put down their arms for a moment got me thinking that. Or maybe it was the one where Joey the horse helped an injured horse by pulling his weight for him. It also could have been how all the human characters hoisted their dreams and hopes upon this wise old being (Joey the horse) to be a beacon of light that led them through the dark times of war…just sayin’.


3 joyce January 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I call it bore horse, endlessly galloping in and out of half baked scenarios that made me perk up temporarily only to find disappointment time and time again. The only thing tying these perplexing scenes together was the horse….and frankly he needed support. What a shame because there were some very talented actors that never got to tell any story, or be part of something tying them all together (again the horse didn’t cut it) I mean by the time boy man was reunited I was more interested in his bandages covering his eyes. I think horsey could have ran through a burning building scooping boy man up as he was inches from death and the reunion still wouldn’t have had any deep impact. Honestly, the cheeky duck at the beginning charmed me more.


4 Eric Melin January 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

There were some talented actors in the movie. Isn’t it a shame that every human in the film was essentially a supporting part? They never even really got a chance to make much of an impact.


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