There’s a Lot of Love in ‘War Horse’

WarHorse.jpgAs 15-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Gabriella Chu points out in her review of Walt Disney Studios release War Horse, war does not impact only the human participants. “It has a severe effect … on animals, too.” In addition to viewing the film’s screening at its red carpet event in New York, Gabriella – as a KIDS FIRST! youth film critic – had the opportunity to interview Michael Morpurgo, the author of the book on which the film is based. Gabriella’s insightful review will resonate with adults as well as with her fellow teens.

War Horse
Reviewed by Gabriella Chu
(See her full review on video.)

The acclaimed War Horse play and children’s book is now on the big screen! War Horse is a heartwarming tale about a father who buys a horse for his son on a whim. His son, Albert (played by Jeremy Irvine), develops an unbreakable bond with his horse, Joey. However, World War I approaches, and Joey is drafted into the military. Will the two ever reunite?

The movie has a charming story. When I interviewed the author of the children’s book War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, he told me that his book shows how war does not produce a severe effect on only people but on animals, too, specifically horses. It is interesting watching director Steven Spielberg’s translation of that theme into film. One notable scene shows the horse, Joey, galloping fiercely through no man’s land but then forced to slow down after he is tangled in a bunch of wires. After intense war, both opposing sides come together to detangle the horse! I found it touching because it shows that it takes both sides to solve a problem, and when the movie shows both soldiers cutting the wires from the horse, I thought of it as a symbol, like they were ending their conflict between each other. The cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, filmed the scene beautifully, which helped produce such an emotional effect on the audience.

The cinematography in general is wonderful, especially when Kaminski zooms in on the feet of the horses and the faces of the horses as they gallop across the vast fields. Most of the beauty of the movie comes from the horses, and I think the horse trainers did an impeccable job, particularly Zelie Bullen, who trained the main horse, Joey. GabriellaChu_3_1.jpg

I recommend this movie to teens ages 13 and up. It is a pleasant family film because it is not too brutal, yet it still packs in all of the action and intensity of war. The movie is a bit slow in the beginning, so younger teens may get bored, but it quickly picks up the pace as the war begins. This is a moving tale to watch and will bring the entire family together for the holidays.

Photos: War Horse poster (top), Gabriella Chu (bottom)

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