There's no question in my mind I have to see a movie whenever I notice it's directed by Steven Spielberg. It doesn't matter if it's an action/adventure, historical drama, or sci-fi film; his very name on the project means that even if it revolves around a horse, it will be a quality movie worth my time.
I wouldn't usually give a film about a horse the time of day. I wouldn't even consider watching it. Spielberg made me step out of my box and witness something different and captivating. I'm not going to tell you "War Horse" is the greatest film I've ever seen, but it is a spectacle to behold; the cinematography is nothing short of mesmerizing.
The movie takes us on a journey through the life of a thoroughbred horse named Joey. He goes against the grain and becomes a hardworking farm horse that helps till the fields. Joey is sold to the British military by his owner's father to save the family farm.
Joey is then used on the battlefields of World War I by both the British and German armies. He survives battles and hardships throughout his travels and adventures. His original owner never gives up hope that he will one day be reunited with the animal.
The video quality of the movie is great. The high-definition transfer paired with Janusz Kaminski's beautiful cinematography is something to behold. There are Spielberg's typical wide shots, which are even more accentuated by red and orange horizons reminiscent of scenes right out of "Gone With the Wind." The black levels are all good and the picture is clean and clear.
Most of the film looks like it was shot on location. If some of it wasn't, Spielberg and crew did a great job covering it up.
The audio is presented in a 7.1 surround mix. The gunshots, explosions, heavy rains, and galloping horses ring out from every speaker around the room. The dialogue and musical score blends well with everything. The unique music by John Williams accentuates the action or drama as need be. This is epic instrumentation meant for a sprawling, old-style classic film.
The "War Horse Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy" set features all sorts of bonus material. There are featurettes like "Through the Producer's Lens," in which producer Kathleen Kennedy shares photos taken during filming. "War Horse: The Journey Home" is a 20-minute round table discussion with Spielberg, Kennedy, and the cast and crew of the movie.
Another featurette is "An Extra's Point Of View," comprising a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the movie from the perspective of an extra. Others include "A Filmmaking Journey," "Editing and Scoring," and "The Sounds of War Horse." There's more extra material spread out across the four discs, including a digital copy of the feature film.
Fans of Steven Spielberg's movies will want to get "War Horse" right away. There are plenty of special features to keep consumers happy on the Blu-ray set, and the film will stand up to more than one viewing.
The movie will no doubt earn its place right next to "Schindler's List," "Amistad," "Saving Private Ryan," and Spielberg's other period pieces. Is it his best film? No, it isn't. But it is definitely a movie worth seeing and one you will want to own for further viewings at home.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Steven Spielberg
- Steven Spielberg