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David Poland

By David Poland

A™ Trailer: War Horse

Yeah… pretty much as expected… looks like a heart-tugging film that delivers a horse experience like we’ve not had on film before… will be fascinating to see it all laid out… at the very least, will be gorgeous.

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35 Responses to “A™ Trailer: War Horse”

  1. The Pope says:

    Don’t know about Oscar nominations, but this will be a billion dollar baby.

  2. LexG says:

    ( Norm MacDonald Voice )
    More like The Bore Horse.

  3. krazyeyes says:

    I couldn’t even make it through the trailer. This one is a skip for me unless the reviews are glowing.

  4. Glamourboy says:

    Looks like The Black Stallion 6, to me.

  5. Sarina says:

    All I could think of is how sappy and clichéd the trailer was. Is this supposed to be a cross between Son of Lassie and Black Beauty?

  6. movielocke says:

    Looks stunning. The other 99% will LOVE this film.

    Unsurprised the cineaste horde o hate is going balls-to-the-walls shock and awe against the film. Attack early. Attack often. Be utterly unrelenting in spreading the message that supporting the film is as massive a faux pas as comparing Obama to Hitler.

    Will any film in the next five years surpass the pre-release hate War Horse will get from the critical and chattering classes? I doubt it.

    This is the one thing I am dreading about the upcoming awards season. The unrelenting attack dogs of ‘right and true taste’ trying to bring the beast down.

  7. torpid bunny says:

    I see this as sort of a cross between Horse Whisperer and Gallipoli.

    Also, when you call the movie War Horse I sort of expect like horse violence of some form. That’s the question I’m asking: how does this horse lay waste to his enemies? I honestly thought I was getting an armored battle horse with mounted large caliber guns or something.

  8. David Poland says:

    World War 1, Torpid Bunny.

    It’s the spirit of the horse that “lays waste” to his enemies.

  9. The Pope says:

    I don’t know if the phrase is exclusive to this side of the Atlantic, but I have always known it to be a figurative saying rather than literal.

    So, for what it’s worth:

    1. (in historical contexts) A large, powerful horse ridden in a battle.
    2. An elderly person such as a soldier, politician, or sports player who has fought many campaigns or contests.

  10. anghus says:

    i think it looks great. And i usually don’t care for this kind of movie. But that was a damn fine trailer.

  11. palmtree says:

    (sarcastically) Sappy? Since when was Spielberg sappy?

    Sappy is his main schtick. But don’t try to go all cineaste on him. You will lose. After all, Pauline Kael was a big fan of the sap-meister. And he’s won his Oscars and done his share of non-sap to prove he could (Munich).

  12. movieman says:

    Did I miss something?
    Not sure where all the pre-release hate Movielocke referred to is coming from.
    This looks like classic (for better, and occasionally worse over the years) Spielberg to me.
    If nothing else, “War Horse” is a lock for the #1 spot on Armond White’s 10 best list.
    P.S.= What’s with the “Coming in January” part?
    Has Disney decided to go the platform route after all?

  13. Tuck Pendelton says:

    I’ve got mixed feelings. Yes, it looks incredibly cheesy. But it also looks like a gorgeous painting. Yes, it looks like a big-scale Lassie movie, but it could have incredible war scenes.

    Just want to point out most of our favorite Spielberg films do not have traditional “stars”. Shark in Jaws, Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun, ET and Elliot in ET

    Here’s to hoping. I want to see more Eddie Marsan.

  14. Tuck Pendelton says:

    Movieman, it’s coming out in January in England. this is the UK Trailer

  15. torpid bunny says:

    There’s one shot of the horse plausibly engaged in battle. The rest is a horse running riderless across a largely empty battlefield while nicely spaced black powder goes up. What is this, a courier horse? Why not War Pigeon?

  16. actionman says:

    looks like a masterpiece to me

  17. Lisa says:

    Has no one else here besides me seen the stage version of this at Lincoln Center or London? The puppet they have playing the horse brought me to tears. I wonder if some of the critical skepticism of this film comes from affection for that production.

  18. David Poland says:

    I saw it in London, Lisa. Could never translate to film.

    I think there is just a Spielberg hate, especially when tear jerking feels like it’s coming.

    Alternately, there is Spielberg ass licking in the critical world as well.

  19. movielocke says:

    “Alternately, there is Spielberg ass licking in the critical world as well.” Hah. That is definitely too true as well.

  20. Sarina says:

    I wished someone would give Emily Watson a leading role, instead of these constant supporting parts. After “Hilary and Jackie”, she’s been stuck in either minor roles or bad TV movies (The Memory Keeper’s Daughter “shudder”).

  21. hcat says:

    Agree completely Sarina, Watson came out on the scene with three incredible roles in Waves, Boxer, and Jackie, I actually prefer her more understated role in Boxer to the larger acting in the others, and then when she was poised to be a major talent, no one could find anything for her to do. She was the saintly provider in Angela’s Ashes, the saintly innocent in Cradle will Rock, and the redeeming love interest in Luzhrin Defense, Red Dragon and Punch-Drunk. Sure she was sexy and funny in Punch-Drunk and did great supporting work in the Proposition and Gosford Park but she never really gets to play protaganists or fully formed charecters anymore. Seems like a waste of a giant talent.

    As for the pre-release hate, Christ LOOK AT THE TRAILER, does this not give off an incredibily treacly vibe, between the soaring music, constantly twilight skies, and big speeches it looks way too earnest to be interesting. I love Speilberg and almost always look forward to his new work but the trailer doesn’t hold a lot of promise, almost like its another director attempting to be speilbergian.

    And War or not I believe all horses lay waste the same way, any damn spot they please.

  22. Triple Option says:

    I really, really like Emily Watson a lot, too. Though, I gotta give props to Rachel Griffith in Hilary and Jackie. This might bring out the boo birds but I’m not so sure she’s hit that level since. It would be nice to see more Emily Watson. I’ll never complain when she’s on screen.

    As per the trailer, I wasn’t sure what treacly meant until I looked it up but yeah, I’ll co-sign exactly what hcat wrote. The digitally enhanced big weepy eyes on dirty faced lit’l angel kids, track #3 off the Cue The Violins emotionally manipulating Soundtrack, the Win One for the Braveheart speech. It just seems like a buncha elements strung together because they’re supposed to be there.

    The execution may turn out flawless. It may be an all-time classic but based on that trailer, I’m guessing there are people at the Hallmark Channel screaming “Why can’t that be us?! Why don’t more people tune in to watch us???”

  23. Lisa says:

    Okay here’s the thing. While on the surface it seems like a typical Hallmark Horse movie, what distinguished the story on stage at least was its ability to not only hit the sentimental notes, but to earn those notes with absolutely devastating horror. If this film is done right, look for the battle scenes to be just as brutal and horrifying as anything in Saving Private Ryan or Atonement. Ideally this film’s tone and impact should be about at the level of say Slumdog Millionaire, a film that was emotionally manipulative to be sure but hit those notes so powerfully those who jumped on board were along for an epic ride.

  24. anghus says:

    i love people who call movies ’emotionally manipulative’ as an insult. if a film is doing it’s job, isn’t it supposed to generate a reaction and manipulate your emotions? It’s a fake story being brought to life by people pretending to be other people. Every film’s goal is to make you laugh, or cry, or feel something. The pursuit of filmmaking is the pursuit of emotional manipulation.

  25. LexG says:

    Emma Watson >>>> Emily Watson. That’s who I thought you guys were saying was in this… I actually got interested.

    But the horse wouldn’t be able to do many heroics because he’d be going around with a boner the whole time.

  26. Triple Option says:

    I think there’s a big difference between a film that tries to convey the emotion and mood of the moment and one that tries to manipulate a response out of the audience. You (collective) feel empathy for a little girl who’s lost her puppy. You are manipulated by a crying girl who just wants you to buy her something. It’s not to say that I don’t think mood setting music is a cheap crutch or artificial sweetener but it’s noticeable to me when filmmakers are trying to tell their story and when they’re trying to play for a response.

    I finally caught up to Departures. The Japanese film that won the best foreign film Oscar for 2010. Such a beautiful and moving film. The intent of those involved was to show the dignity of the characters, the choices they had to make and live with, their passions and dreams, their dreams and frailty. The music used, like a fine symphony, told its own story. You could tell there was a lot of love put into the film by those who were involved. The results of audiences finding the film so endearing and emotionally compelling was pure honesty. An emotionally manipulative film fails to illicit an honest response. It’s why people exude such contempt because they can see right through what they are trying to do. It becomes insulting and the general regard for the film suffers as cynicism grows w/each failed attempt to spur a response.

    Just like a person can write an impassioned plea on a website that can stir one to response or change a mind, but the troll will only write something to pick a fight. I wasn’t speaking to any one particular person here but it’s not hard to see how some people’s responses to people can vary greatly depending on the natural, tone and intent of the original poster’s initial comments.

  27. Edward says:

    “The pursuit of filmmaking is the pursuit of emotional manipulation.”

    Wrong. The pursuit of filmmaking is to tell a story. Some use emotional manipulation (Ron Howard, Paul Haggis, etc…) while others simply tell their stories with such craft that no manipulation is even required (Ang Lee, Mike Leigh, etc…).

    Howard and Haggis have never made me respond to their films like Lee and Leigh can.

  28. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “But the horse wouldn’t be able to do many heroics because he’d be going around with a boner the whole time.”

    Terry Jones (who is a genuine Middle Ages aficionado) did a bit on the Crusades – apparently all the English knights used to ride stallions because they liked the aggression, while the Moors used to ride mares because they liked the coolheadedness. Apparently it made for some… interesting… engagements.

  29. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “Wrong. The pursuit of filmmaking is to tell a story.”

    Bullshit. Filmmaking is not a one-way street, it relies on the audience. You bring in the audience through emotional engagement. No-one wants to hear about “Goldilocks and the 3 Accountants File a Tax Return”, they want something that makes them FEEL.

    Just because you prefer how Lee and Leigh manipulate you, doesn’t mean they don’t do it.

    (and you’re also ignoring the huge swath of non-story based filmmaking, such as Waking Life or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead)

  30. Sam says:

    Yeah, I was gonna say, if you don’t think Lee and Leigh are emotional manipulators, then, well, good for them for manipulating you without your noticing.

    Hitchcock used to be very up front in interviews about the fact that his job was audience manipulation — to conduct an emotional journey for them, in the same way that the designer of a roller coaster anticipates the suspense, fear, and adrenaline rushes the ride’s patrons will experience.

    Obviously Hitchcock and Leigh have very different ways of working, and the kinds of experiences they design could scarcely be less similar. But all storytellers — whether film directors or novelists or playwrights or whatever — are after an emotional experience. The very act of storytelling, basically by definition, is manipulation.

  31. anghus says:

    Like any field there are those who do it with more grace and skill, but it is manipulation.

    Sam, well said.

  32. hcat says:

    I think the disconnect in the conversation here might be the word manipulate that obviously has negative conotations. Maybe we want to go with stir or engage.

    Anyway my fear is not that War Horse is trying to get an emotional response from me, of course it is, I am just suspicious of the means it will try to do that. Now given that this is a movie about people living through a World War it stands to reason that the emotions will be bombastic and the action will take place on a grand scale, but hopefully there will be some quiet subtleties to contrast all that.

    Another hesitation I have about the film is how Speilberg presented WWII in Private Ryan. To me he seemed to have a sort of Boy’s Life magazine view of war. Sure its brutal and deadly but there is also excitement and comradierie. The tone of the end assualt in Ryan always seemed to me to be too action finale cool for what I thought the story was going for. Especially Hanks emptying his pistol at the tank with the last bullet hitting when the air support rides in like the calvery.

    I know I am in the minority when it comes to that film, and I have never served in the militairy so I cannot really comment on what combat is actually like, but I’m not sure if we are going to get a Paths of Glory, Western Front comment on what was such a brutal, awful war.

  33. hcat says:

    But I am amazed that this was a play, either they did an amazing job with staging or Speilberg really opened this up. So here’s my question; of all the works that have come from stage to screen which do you feel have been the best adaptions, completely losing any trace that they were once stagebound.

  34. anghus says:

    Weekend at Bernies

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