It neighs, heroically ploughs the field, knows how to communicate with other horses and it even brings peace for a day between the German and English camps on the fronts of World War I. But what the titled horse from War Horse cannot do is to make its whereabouts worthy of a 2 ½ hours cinematic spectacle.
Spielberg not only proves with his latest film how much he lost touch with reality, but he also demonstrates his cockiness in how little he cares to acknowledge that we don’t live in the year 1950 anymore. The film reminds me of the Lassie series emphasising on all tediousness and banalities of the genre. It tells a story of a boy who feels a profound bond with his horse and not even war can change these feelings and separate these two characters. With its over the top music score and awfully brushed cinematography War Horse runs in the same category as Gone with the wind once did. The problem is, Scarlet O’Hara was turned into a horse and Spielberg deludes himself assuming that people who live in the age of facebook still care to sit through a melodramatic fairy tale of such grand proportions.
Yet many reviews of the film show that there are a lot of people who still truly enjoyed the spectacle. My guess is that the name ‘Spielberg’ did something to their receptoral capabilities. As if the grand master who once directed Jaws was beyond any form of criticism. The critics’ conformism when it comes to challenging the director of E.T. is staggering to say the least. But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps there are indeed many animal lovers out there who feel the unfathomable need for a rebirth of the dull storytelling of pre-1960’s Hollywood. If so, my sincerest apology to all of you.
But I like to think that this aesthetic experiment with War Horse is Spielberg’s practical joke. He is testing his audiences on the amount of crap they are willing to swallow if spoon-fed by the lord and master who once brought them Jurassic Park. If that’s the case – bravo Mr Spielberg, bravo! It looks like you fooled them all!